Auckland's controversial new residential zoning maps released

Auckland's Unitary Plan will replace the 13 legacy regional and district plans of the eight former Auckland councils.

Auckland's Unitary Plan will replace the 13 legacy regional and district plans of the eight former Auckland councils.

Chunks of leafy Auckland suburbia are to be rezoned for more intensive housing under new plans released by the city's council.

Auckland Council has unveiled the controversial changes in 43 maps published on Thursday.

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The planned alterations mean parts of the central suburbs such as Mt Eden, Remuera and Pt Chevalier lose their Single House zoning - meaning one house on one section - and become Mixed Housing zones, which allow for more dense styles of accommodation up to three storeys.

The council has proposed many of the changes without consulting Aucklanders, under rules permitting it to make "out of scope" modifications to the city's incoming Unitary Plan.

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The changes include:

* Zoning more of Mt Eden for Mixed Housing Urban, allowing intensified housing of up to three storeys;

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* Reducing the amount of Single House zoning in Remuera;

* Allowing more intensification in parts of Takapuna's iconic seaward streets such as Minehaha Avenue;

* Changing the length of Lake Road between Takapuna and Belmont to Mixed Housing Urban;

* Changing almost all of Blockhouse Bay from Single House zone to Mixed Use Suburban, allowing a mix of housing styles and more density;

* Upzoning parts of New Lynn that are near the town centre and public transport to Mixed Housing Urban and the higher density Terrace Housing and Apartment zone;

* Making all of Pt Chevalier Mixed Use Suburban, and adding a new zone of Mixed Use Urban down the main arterial routes of Pt Chevalier Rd and Meola Rd;

* Changing half of the nearby suburb of Waterview from Mixed Use Suburban to the more intense Mixed Use Urban.

Auckland's Unitary Plan will replace the 13 legacy regional and district plans of the eight former Auckland councils.

Formal submissions closed last year, and the public hearing process on the plan is almost complete.

Planning lobby group Auckland 2040 says introducing the zoning changes at this stage of the game is an abuse of process and natural justice.

Only residents who submitted earlier in the process were now able to have any input, but people didn't know what they didn't know, spokesman Richard Burton said.

"People could have done everything right, they've checked every step of the way through the Unitary Plan (process), and be completely blindsided by this".

Auckland 2040 disagreed that the "out of scope" modification rule allowed for such significant changes, he said.

"What the council's done is zone whole streets and whole districts differently".

In the case of the exclusive Takapuna streets of Minehaha, O'Neills and Brett Avenues, "the council has without any research, without any consultation, proposed to change them to Mixed Housing Suburban".

Both sides of Lake Road - the congested route from Takapuna to Devonport - had been rezoned for multi-storey apartments.

"Lake Road's an absolute disaster traffic-wise. How are the cars going to get in and out of them?" he asked.

But urban environmental group Generation Zero supported the reduction of the Single House zone.

"Auckland has a serious housing shortage, we need to allow new houses to be built in existing suburbs across the city," Auckland convener Leroy Beckett said.

"This is the best option as it prevents sprawl and allows people to be closer to where they live, work and socialise."

He pointed out that under the proposed changes a quarter of the city was still Single House, "a zone that totally restricts any development".

"We are disappointed that still only 5 per cent of the city is zoned for terrace housing and apartment buildings - this is not enough to meet demand for this type of living."

The Single House zone currently covers around a third of residential Auckland and is very restrictive, allowing for only one dwelling on sections smaller than 600 square metres.

The council wants to change it so that it only applies to heritage neighbourhoods such as Devonport, and areas where there are environmental factors such as flooding issues or significant stands of bush.

John Duguid, the council's manager central area planning, said the Single House zone was actually more restrictive than some of the former Auckland councils' district plans.

Some homeowners in the Single House zone had complained to the Unitary Plan panel that it had removed their ability to subdivide their property, he said.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said it had been agreed that Auckland needed to become a compact city to cope with its population growth over the next 30 years.

"To achieve a compact city the zoning simply would not provide enough dwellings," she said.

The Unitary Plan panel had asked the council to come back with upzoning, she said.

The panel could have done it themselves. "This is us helping hold the pen and getting what we think are the more sensible ways of doing the zoning changes."

District plans were normally prepared in confidence, and this was no different. There was no legal process for the council to go back to residents about the proposed changes.

"We could have notified the community... but there's nothing we could do with that information we got back from them," Hulse said.

The incoming Unitary Plan rationalises the city's 99 old residential zones down to just six:

* Single House - allows a single house on a single lot

* Mixed Housing Suburban - allows a mix of types of homes up to two storeys

* Mixed Housing Urban - allows a mix of housing types up to three storeys, and more density

* Terrace Housing and Apartment - allows for apartments from four to six storeys, and terraced houses

* Large Lot Residential - land that has physical or landscape constraints and is generally not serviced

* Rural and Coastal Settlement - applies to small rural and coastal villages, provides for single dwellings on a lot.



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