Auckland Council rejects shoe boxes, backs mangroves in Unitary Plan changes

Auckland Council has challenged numerous proposals in the Unitary Plan.
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Auckland Council has challenged numerous proposals in the Unitary Plan.

Auckland Council staff have released a report advising decision makers to reject numerous proposals in the Unitary Plan.

The council have argued that iwi deserve to be consulted, apartments ought to have a minimum size and pre-1940 buildings should stay.

The document - a mere 618 pages - raises numerous points of contention with the views of the government appointed panel which drew up the Unitary Plan, which was widely received as a well thought out and long needed blue print to the supercity's development.

The council has said that apartments need to have a minimum size, to ensure suitable living conditions are maintained.
GRAHAME COX / FAIRFAX NZ

The council has said that apartments need to have a minimum size, to ensure suitable living conditions are maintained.

And it's not all rejection; the council agreed that the city's mangroves deserve better protection.

READ MORE:
Auckland Council signals major Unitary Plan changes
Unitary Plan recommends greater housing density
Read the proposed Unitary Plan here
What does Auckland's Unitary Plan mean?
Government may step in if Auckland doesn't put a new city plan in place

The council has until August 19 to adopt the plan or ask the Government for a 20-day extension.

THE MAJOR STICKING POINTS:

Iwi should be consulted when changes are proposed on land of value

The unitary plan advised axing the existing policy which requires local iwi are consulted when changes are proposed to sites and places of value to them.

The council disputed the evidence cited by the panel, arguing there were 2213 sites of significant value that would have protection withdrawn, as opposed to the 593 the panel thought.

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Rejecting the proposal, the council said consulting Maori would enable it to better meet its statutory obligations under the Resource Management Act.

Apartments should have a minimum size requirement

The council bureaucrats also want the council to reject the panel's recommendation of removing the minimum dwelling size standard in the city centre and business zones. In other words, bar developers from creating shoe box apartments.

The Building Act did not address social or design quality effects associated with small dwellings - making such minimum size requirements necessary, the council argues.

"Intensive living environments require internal living spaces which are functional and which provide for amenity to meet the day-to-day needs of residents. This will assist to maintain the social wellbeing of the community, support social cohesion and thereby support further intensification within urban environments as these areas become desirable places to live."

Three-or-more dwelling developments in mixed-housing zones should require resource consent

The plan recommended that resource consent requirements in mixed-housing zones be raised from builds of three-or-more dwellings to builds of five-or-more dwellings. In other words, a developer would not have to get permission and consult neighbours for putting a low rise apartment block up.

The council objected, concerned the result would be sub-par residential "outcomes" including: lack of public spaces; large blank walls facing the street; lack of sunlight, safety, functionality and privacy.

Keep the special character pre-1940 buildings

The Unitary Plan proposed to remove the current protections surrounding pre-1944 buildings - meaning those nice antique villas you find a few blocks away from the CBD could go.

The council rejected this, arguing the "amenity and heritage" value of the buildings should be maintained through special character status.

Keep front fences down

The panel sought to eliminate a front fence rule, which would see fences of up to 2.5m permitted.

The council says this will create "poor streetscape outcomes."

Guide inner-city growth through current objectives and policies

The panel sought to remove the current objectives and policies which "focus growth" in the metropolitan area and define the urban and rural boundaries.

The council have said this makes no sense; growth needs to be guided and boundaries clear.

Maintain current height and site intensity in the Wynyard Quarter

The panel proposed removing Wynyard Precinct planning rules, which would alter the height and floor-area controls for buildings in the precinct.

It can't be expected that the land will be used efficiently without oversight and control, the council document said.

Stop the subdivisions and keep rural land, rural

The Council rejected the panel's recommendation to remove some rural land policies and install objectives for rural subdivisions. Such a proposal does not fit within the "compact city" concept, the council said.

Bonus Round: Save the mangroves

The Council have agreed with the Unitary Plan's recommendation that a more restrictive consent approach be taken when removing mangroves.

Fans of the water shrub can rejoice; the council believes the plant has an ecological value.

 - Stuff

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