Concerns aired over Special Housing Areas

Residents put strong questions about the proposed Special Housing Area in Huapai to project planning head Allan McGregor at the packed Kumeu-Huapai Residents and Ratepayers Association meeting.

Mr McGregor says he gained a better understanding of the community's concerns.

Key issues included an explanation about the origins of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act to address the "severely unaffordable" status of Auckland housing and to improve supply and affordability and the establishment process for Special Housing Areas (SHAs).

Mr McGregor also urged the community to inform their local board about the establishment, location and concerns in respect of SHAs.

Association chairman Pete Sinton says some businesses were already struggling with traffic congestion on the main road.

The proposed population of 2000 households at Huapai Triangle and increases at surrounding zoned areas would exacerbate the problem.

"It's going to be a huge change for Kumeu which has remained static for a long time."

Mr Sinton says there was a reasonable mandate for an alternative access for traffic south of the railway in Kumeu to alleviate the problem. The town planner's own private submission to the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan would include a concept plan suggesting an alternative two-lane route.

Soljans Estate Winery and Cafe owner Tony Soljan says he was impressed with the meeting's attendance.

"We learnt a little bit about the procedures. I think it's early days for the information but if they can keep on communicating it'll be good."

Mr Soljan reiterates it's vitally important to get a wide range of views as the council moves ahead with development in this area.

"We want it done better than they've done it in areas where there is traffic congestion. Development has to be done with infrastructure," he says.

Mr McGregor says the number of dwelling units within the existing SHA is still to be addressed through a collaborative master planning process with the applicant.

"The amount of 2000 was an initial estimate that will change based on final planning - logic suggests at this stage that it is more likely around 1500 homes in a variety of typologies," he says.

There were no major constraints identified around "the availability of service provision" but Mr McGregor adds both civil infrastructure, like pipes and roads, as well as social infrastructure like parks and schools, would be addressed through the master planning and approval process.

This would incorporate any upgrades needed or new provision.

The association and residents are preparing submissions for the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan which closes on February 28.

The first 11 areas in Auckland, including the Huapai Triangle of 2000 homes over 65.1 hectares, have been approved by the Auckland Council and the Government.

Go to aucklandcouncil.govt. nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/housingsupply/Pages/specialhousingareas.aspx for more detail on SHAs.

Norwest News