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NEWS FLASH

Look on our News page for recent news on the Unitary Plan and related topics

UPDATE

At the Extra- ordinary meeting of the Auckland Council on 24 February, the Council voted by 13 to 8 to withdraw the Out of Scope zoning changes. This was a huge win for us and for democracy in Auckland.

We have our main hearing regarding residential zoning on 24 March. The main concerns we have, now that the Out of Scope changes have been withdrawn, relate to the generic zoning changes being sought by some submitters to bring back changes on a similar scale to the Out of Scope changes and with the same issues of lack of consultation with affected parties.

The scale of the changes at this late stage in the process is unprecedented in New Zealand planning history and is, we believe, an abuse of the process set up for the Unitary Plan.

If you would like to support our case you can make a deposit donation to the following account.

BNZ Takapuna 02 0272 0268983 000
Auckland 2040 Incorporated

or send a cheque to:
Auckland 2040 Incorporated, 7 Park Ave, Takapuna, Auckland 0622

2015 News

Leaked plans for Auckland suburbs: will apartments be built in your backyard?

NZ Herald Saturday Nov 27, 2015

Intensive building in the Auckland suburb of Stonefields - which suburbs will be next?

 

Residents from across Auckland have reacted to revelations there could be rezoned for more housing and apartments.

The Herald revealed this morning confidential documents and maps showing the poshest and poorest neighbourhoods in the city will be rezoned for more housing and apartments.

Some of Takapuna's most prized streets could lose single house, tree and garden status. Housing density along Lake Rd, one of the city's worst bottlenecks, will more than double in places.

Many of South Auckland's poorest suburbs are also set to house more people. Intensive terraced housing and apartment blocks of four to six storeys are planned for Otara, Mangere, Manurewa and Clendon Park.

Jo Simon said Lake Road linking Devonport to Takapuna is "already a nightmare for anyone travelling during rush hour and now, every weekend, all year round".

"Doubling the population through building will cause complete choking of the road and increase costs to business through lateness. Unless another road is built to link traffic to, particularly, Esmonde Road and the bridge (another nightmare), which no-one in those suburbs will want, it simply won't work.

Click here to read more

Community groups welcome council talk to consider packing more city properties with multiple houses

NZ Herald Saturday Nov 24, 2015

The suburb of Mangere Bridge is one of the areas councillors will consider for intensification. Photo / Martin Sykes

 

Auckland councillors are going behind closed doors today to propose rezoning thousands more houses in the city's leafy suburbs for multiple townhouses and apartments.

The eastern suburbs of Pakuranga and Howick; Glenfield, Birkenhead and Takapuna on the North Shore; Whangaparaoa Peninsula; and Mangere Bridge in South Auckland are among the areas councillors will consider for intensification. All up, tens of thousands of traditional house and garden properties are being rezoned for the council's latest position to put forward to the independent hearings panel considering the Unitary Plan. The panel will make final recommendations to the council next year.

Read more: Secret housing plans for Auckland

The changes have prompted fears about the amenity and character of the city's suburbs, but gained support from groups like Generation Zero who say they allow medium density homes to be built close to the city where young people work and study.

"Locking up existing suburbs from new housing development is a big reason why houses prices are spiralling beyond the reach of young people. We're pleased to see much needed changes to the single house zone in the inner city," said Generation Zero spokesman Ryan Mearns.

Richard Burton, of Auckland 2040, said the community group had already agreed to relax density rules across the residential zones in exchange for tight controls on bulk and location and retaining landscaping and trees.

"We ... need to be satisfied all the things Aucklanders value about Auckland are retained," Mr Burton said.

Click here to read more

Secret Housing Plans for Auckland

NZ Herald Saturday Nov 23, 2015

Mt Eden will be affected by the changes. Photo / Janna Dixon

 

Tens of thousands of homes in Auckland's leafy residential suburbs are being rezoned for multiple townhouses and apartments and Auckland Council says homeowners will not be notified about the changes.

The central isthmus suburbs of Pt Chevalier, Epsom, Mt Eden, Mt Albert, Glendowie and St Heliers; the North Shore suburbs of Birkenhead, Glenfield and Takapuna; Whangaparaoa Peninsula, rural towns such as Kumeu and the southern suburbs of Howick and Mangere Bridge are among areas affected by the changes taking place behind closed doors.

Richard Burton, of the Auckland 2040 community group, says Aucklanders are blissfully unaware of the new rules that will change the city.

He said the Unitary Plan - a new planning rulebook for the Super City - was turning into a farce, with the council making fundamental changes without any public process.

He and Auckland 2040's barrister, Richard Brabant, have challenged the council's ability to change the rules, and are not ruling out legal action.

Epsom MP and Act leader David Seymour said the proposed intensification had enormous implications for congestion, character and the shape of school zones - and challenged councillors to speak up.

Click here to read more

 

Auckland's heritage housing in jeopardy

NZ Herald Saturday Oct 3, 2015

The council has scuppered plans to make Onehunga a Historic Heritage Area. Photo / Greg Bowker

 

A wrecking ball has scattered plans to safeguard Auckland's heritage housing stock as the city gears up for high-density growth. But council planners hope to pick up at least some of the pieces.

First came the rebuff for a "pre-1944 demolition control overlay" in the proposed Unitary Plan, the rulebook for city development for the next 10 years. The independent panel which will make final recommendations on the plan frowns upon the sweeping "overlay" approach for heritage. It warned the council in July the mechanism may be unfair to individual property owners and would need to backed by robust evidence.

Council heritage manager Noel Reardon says the overlay was always intended as a "holding pattern" until evidence is gathered to support more targeted controls protecting intact villa and bungalow neighbourhoods.

But the panel's advice appears to have caused collateral damage: the council has scuppered plans to extend a more targeted planning control - Historic Heritage Areas - to seven new neighbourhoods in some of Auckland's earliest colonial settlements.


The seven neighbourhoods, in Onehunga, Otahuhu and Balmoral, were to be the first in a progressive rollout of new Historic Heritage Areas (HHAs) across the city. Previously called Conservation Areas, they were ushered in 15 years ago in neighbourhoods such as Burnley Terrace, Mt Eden, and Ardmore Rd/Wanganui Ave, Herne Bay. Designed to ensure high quality examples of an architectural style or era survive.......

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Monday Sept 28th, 2015

Auckland Council's latest housing figure questioned

Patrick Fontein and Adam Thompson, who helped develop the development capacity model, are concerned with some of the assumptions and judgments

 

Auckland Council has been told to take another look at how many new homes the city's suburbs can absorb under new planning rules.

Two members of an expert group have questioned the council's latest figure, which show relaxed density rules in the proposed Unitary Plan make it financially viable to build 150,400 homes.

Patrick Fontein and Adam Thompson, who helped develop the development capacity model, are concerned with some of the assumptions and judgments used by the council.

After hearing the concerns, the Unitary Plan independent hearings panel has directed the council to work with Mr Fontein and Mr Thomspon to re-run the model.

"Given the importance of these capacity forecasts for the panel's consideration of the residential topics the panel wishes to have clarified the extent to which the assumptions and judgments critiqued by Patrick Fontein and Adam Thompson impact on the capacity forecasts," the panel said in a memo issued on Friday.

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Thursday Aug 13th, 2015

"It is a sea change... one that very few people would have seen coming"

Thousands of homes in Auckland's leafy house and garden suburbs and rural townships could be rezoned for multiple townhouses, apartments and studios, say resident groups.

They believe large swathes of the city where single houses sit on a single site will be rezoned to allow developments with no density controls.

Last night, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said there was no intention to reduce the size of the "single house" zone, but would not say how far proposed changes could go. The proposed changes were to ensure a clear distinction between the single house zone and mixed housing suburban zone, and to provide precise language that could be legally defended, she said.

The extent of the changes would not be known until zoning maps were finalised: "It [single house zone] may increase in some areas and decrease in others," Ms Hulse said.

Herne Bay Residents Association chairwoman Christine Cavanagh said the council's new position came as a bolt out of the blue.

"It's a sea change in the planning of Auckland and one that very few people would have seen coming. It basically destroys a lot of the character of the inner-city suburbs like Grey Lynn, Ponsonby, Herne Bay, Parnell and Mt Eden," she said.

Every Auckland suburb, Mrs Cavanagh said, would be affected to a varying degree.

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Tuesday Jul 28th, 2015

Call for more height in Auckland suburbs

Council, developers and lobby group debating new rules which will allow more houses to be built

Artist impression of two-storey suburban developments in Takanini.

 

A developer is calling for a taller height limit of three storeys to go with no controls on density in Auckland's suburbs.

 

Mark Todd of Ockham Residential said there should be one height limit of three storeys in the two residential zones where density controls are being relaxed.

 

The proposed Unitary Plan, the new planning rulebook for the Super City, has a three-storey height limit in the residential zone near town centres and two storeys in the suburban zone.

 

Auckland Council, developers and a community lobby group have begun mediation on the controversial issue of removing density controls, but sticking points remain around height, design and enforcement.

 

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Monday Jul 27th, 2015

Auckland faces suburban squeeze

Council, developers and lobby group debating new rules which will allow more houses to be built

Councillors also narrowly voted 8-7 to remove density controls on sites bigger than 1000sq m in the mixed housing suburban zone. Photo / NZME.

Councillors also narrowly voted 8-7 to remove density controls on sites bigger than 1000sq m in the mixed housing suburban zone. Photo / NZME.

Talks aimed at removing density controls in Auckland's suburbs begin today against a backdrop of soaring immigration, a growing housing shortage and rocketing prices.

Auckland Council, developers and an influential community lobby group are making progress on the controversial issue of removing density controls, but sticking points remain around height, design and enforcement controls.

This will lead to a shift away from standalone houses to mixed developments of townhouses, apartments and studios without garages.

Richard Burton, of the Auckland 2040 community group, said if residents are to give up on density they must have certainty around a core set of controls rigidly adhered to by the council.

"If you don't ... you will get anarchy. It will just be an unholy mess," he said.

ill have a strong sense of community identity and pride. - Auckland 2040 leader Richard Burton.

Last month, Auckland councillors voted behind closed doors to loosen density controls and strengthen design controls in two residential zones in the Unitary Plan.

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Wednesday January 28th, 2015

Future Auckland: Finding a place to call home

This week Auckland celebrated its birthday. What better occasion to take stock of where the city is and to think about what happens next? It’s a great place — but it can be even better. In the third of our five-part Future Auckland series we aim to stimulate debate. It’s not intended to be definitive, or to be a list of fully realised proposals. Instead, it aims to get our readers and leaders thinking and talking about our future.

First home buyers should lower their sights to more affordable housing

First home buyers should lower their sights to more affordable housing. Photo / NZME.

5 great things

1 There is something for everyone in Auckland's housing mix; whereas not everyone can afford to live on the beach, many less expensive suburbs still have a strong sense of community identity and pride. - Auckland 2040 leader Richard Burton.

2 For new housing there are many opportunities, from suburban infill, redevelopment of areas close to main centres, with townhouses and low-rise apartments to high-rise development in and around the CBD and metropolitan centres. (Richard Burton)

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Saturday 10th January 2015

Pushing the Boundaries

Auckland’s headstrong home-building market continues to defy the whims of planners and politicians by spreading out — but attempts to turn things around are ramping up.

The suburb of Stonefields in East Auckland is built in and around the old Mt Wellington quarry.

The suburb of Stonefields in East Auckland is built in and around the old Mt Wellington quarry.

Housing crisis - what housing crisis? Drive around Auckland's outskirts and you'd be forgiven for thinking the home building sector was ahead of the game as thousands of new-builds come on stream.

Swathes of plush new houses are nearing completion daily on all the city's boundaries.

Click here to read more

 

Auckland 2040 evidence to IHP cited in Bob Dey Property Report

UP7: Burton sees the antithesis of good planning, but says the compact city can work

Controlled intensification at selected central points around the region, or willy-nilly through suburbia?

Retired planning consultant Richard Burton, founder of the Auckland 2040 group seeking to protect suburbs from domination by unwanted new structures, has told the panel hearing submissions on Auckland’s unitary plan that the council proposal for implementing the plan will mean the council won’t have design input, won’t be able to control where development occurs, and will ensure much development occurs where it shouldn’t, and needn’t, occur.

He said the council evidence already showed intensification could be confined to the areas in & around centres, keeping it out of suburban streets, because capacity for the anticipated growth within the metropolitan urban limits as they stood in 2010 was well above anticipated demand: “There is room for a more precautionary approach, providing time to assess the nature & rate of intensification in & around centres before making decisions as to whether additional intensification zoning is required.”

The plan would promote intensification in centres and along main public transport routes, but Mr Burton said it wouldn’t provide sufficient definition between residential zones to clearly demarcate between urban intensification areas & residential areas where limited infill would be more appropriate.

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Thursday Jan 22 2015

John Armstrong: We all know the act is not the problem

 

"Few pieces of legislation get whacked with such alacrity and regularity as the RMA," writes John Armstrong. Photo / Thinkstock

Got a problem? Then blame it on the Resource Management Act. When it comes to political whipping boys (or girls), few pieces of legislation get whacked with such alacrity and regularity as the RMA.

So no one will be surprised that the measure received a lashing from Nick Smith in a speech last night in which the Minister for Building and Housing promised to undertake the "most significant" overhaul of the law in its 25-year history.

Smith, however, also holds the Environment portfolio. While the pairing of the two portfolios might make administrative sense as the RMA impinges heavily on both roles, Smith's duty to uphold environmental principles may place some limitation on just how radical that overhaul will be once the fine print in the amending legislation is available for scrutiny.

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Thursday Jan 22, 2015

Govt masterplan on housing price crisis includes promise to overhaul RMA

Councils would be required by law to free up land for development. Picture / Paul Estcourt

The Government has spelled out its masterplan for reversing skyrocketing house prices across the country, which will include forcing the Auckland Council and other local authorities to free up more land for new homes.

Armed with new research which showed environmental red tape added $15,000 to the cost of a new home, Environment Minister Nick Smith yesterday promised dramatic reforms to the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Click here to read more

 

NZ Herald Wednesday Jan 21, 2015

Nick Smith announces 10 dramatic changes to Resource Management Act

The Government has outlined its plans to dramatically reform the Resource Management Act, armed with new research which showed environmental regulations added $15,000 to the cost of a new home and $30,000 to the cost of a new apartment.

The high-level reforms were designed to reverse the skyrocketing price of housing in New Zealand, which the Government has blamed squarely on the costs, delays and uncertainties caused by the laws which govern how this country's environment is managed.

Click here to read more