Unrestricted three-storey apartment blocks in suburban Auckland won't go ahead but deep concern remains about new rules.
A backlash from residents prompted Auckland Council to back track on plans for this style of development next to traditional homes.
This is a big win for residents, says lobby group Auckland 2040 spokesman Richard Burton.
But proposed rules also favour developers wanting to build big developments at the expense of existing residents, Mr Burton says.
The council continues to meet this week to debate the new rulebook for development, the Unitary Plan, that encourages intensification.
Today it is expected to consider confirming a draft plan for formal submissions after a first round that attracted 22,000.
One of the decisions made was to back off allowing unlimited housing density on suburban sites of more than 1200 square metres.
The council finally voted for 200sqm minimum section as a compromise put forward by mayor Len Brown.
The mixed housing zone, covering most of urban Auckland, is also now split into urban, allowing three storey apartments, and suburban, only allowing two storeys.
But Mr Burton says he is disappointed North Shore councillor Ann Hartley didn't get support for a package that preserved residential character.
Instead district plan rules have been weakened that once protected daylight into neighbouring properties and provided a green outlook from adjoining backyards, he says.
Mr Burton, a North Shore resource management consultant, says one example is the changes allowing a six metre plus building, just 1 metre from a boundary.
In many residential areas only a 1 metre wide backyard needs to be provided when in the past Shore rules only 3 to 5 metres, he says.
Mr Burton says he is disappointed councillor George Wood voted against a package of amendments proposed by Mrs Hartley and supported by Auckland 2040.
"He pulled the rug on us at the last minute."
Mr Wood told the North Shore Times he stood by his decision not to support Mrs Hartley's motion that would seen stricter rules of one dwelling per 250 square metres in the mixed housing suburban zone.
"Surely I can make up my own mind as to how I vote. I just think I'm not behoven to any one group or set of individuals," he says.
Mr Wood says the housing zone is vital to meet house supply needs.
He says 200sqm is similar to the average sized Auckland house. Taking into account site coverage rules it would allow a two-level apartment on 160sqm, he says.
It would be a limited discretionary activity and design assessment and development controls would have to be met.
Councillor Hartley, who in May was booed off the stage at a public meeting for defending the unitary plan, is also critical of Mr Wood's stance.
Mrs Hartley says Mr Wood "lambasted me from here to kingdom come" over her unitary plan support and now "he does a u-turn".
She says limiting density in suburban areas would not have a big impact on the city's ability to house more people.
Mrs Hartley says she's very surprised planners continued to try to push for no density limits in suburban areas.
She says rule changes came after hearing residents' concerns.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have the new speed limit rules made you change your driving habits?