Unitary Plan in Plain English
A Building Slump
Two articles have been brought to my attention over the last two days. Both are on planning in Auckland and the situation we are in. The first article is on the Unitary Plan being simplified and made available online, the second article on land supply in Auckland – despite a building slump.
Unitary Plan in Plan English
From the NZ Herald:
The Auckland Councilis spending $250,000 on computer software for online searching of its forthcoming planning rulebook – after criticism of a $411,000 bill to print the glossy Auckland Plan. Called the Unitary Plan, the new rulebook is supposed to carry out the directions for the region’s growth given in the Auckland Plan. Regional planning manager Penny Pirrit said yesterday the council would be printing some hard copies of the Unitary Plan when it was ready for public comment in September next year. She could not say how many. ”Focus will be on hard copies for libraries and service centres and then a limited supply which, no doubt, will be dependent on cost.”
The council has accepted a tender from the Twentyfour company for $253,710 to develop the software for the online version of the plan. Property owners who look at the Unitary Plan online will be able to get answers to planning-related requests.
Additional costs are expected as the programme is developed.
Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor said yesterday that planning documents had long been the domain of professional planners and lawyers. Mr Taylor said officials faced a “heroic task” in trying to put out a concise and plain English version, because they had to compress seven district plans and five regional planning documents into one…
Great, absolutely wonderful – as in this is good news and I AM ACTUALLY PRAISING COUNCIL AND ITS PLANNERS.
This is a core cost that does not bother me and am happy to have my ratepayer cash spent on. Especially as I am planning to submit to the Unitary Plan when it is up for submissions next year, as well as consult the document for some more large-scale works at home, and use as a reference for VOAKL posts or my upcoming work I am soon to undertake.
So yes I am offering praise, but heck don’t let that praise turn into scorn for major overruns or failure to deliver a usable product.
Again from the NZ Herald:
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the economic downturn has more to do with the slump in house building than council controls on urban sprawl.
Replying to calls to free more farmland for affordable homes, Mr Brown says Auckland has enough land ready to build 18,500 homes. ”Auckland needs approximately 10,000 dwellings to be built a year to keep up with population growth,” he says in a letter prepared for Friday’s Auckland Council meeting with Government ministers. ”There is currently provisions for the development of approximately 18,500 dwellings on already zoned and serviced greenfield land. ”This land can be built on today subject to market conditions and represents four years’ worth of supply of greenfield land related to growth projections. ”This means that current regulations around land use are not the cause for unmet demand for housing.”
He says the difficult economic environment caused the downturn in building activity because 10,000 dwellings were being built annually across the region when the economy was stronger earlier in the decade
Yes and no to the actual economy and this cursed recession. While access to credit for urban development remains tight (any chance of a SOE in Urban Development Bridging Finance) I still say our regulations are a primary reason for the lack of building (and cost of materials will not help either).
Interesting times ahead folks