The Clunker and Residential Zoning

Their Residential Zoning and My Residential Zoning


A Comparison


One of the biggest teeth gnashing happening with The Clunker (Unitary Plan) is the residential zoning being proposed that will control what kind of development can occur in a residential or mixed use area (if mix applies). The this particular teeth gnashing can be broken down into two parts:

  1. The Clunker is over intensifying most residential areas by around double 
  2. This leads to this point in which the current Clunker Zones are too rigid and not flexible enough for the actual community to adapt to


Brief Glimpse at Point One: Over-Intensifying Residential Areas by Double


One thing I am constantly hearing is that while people are expecting some intensification as areas move from low density to medium density, or medium density to high density residential zoning they believe Council is over doing the intensification by usually double. For example in Milford on The Shore which is proving to be a key battle ground is shaping up between resident and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse (who is the lead charge with The Clunker slash Unitary Plan); the town centre is forecast to be zoned with 8 storey medium density apartments, the surrounding flanks at 4-6 storey apartments, with the suburb actual looking at two-storey intensive housing most likely similar to the double storey stuff at Addison down my way.

Now I took an educated punt and did some discussion from those at Milford. I said why not do this:

  • Town Centre at 4-5 stories 
  • Surrounding Flank using Addison Type two storey houses (this would be called near Terrace Housing) or Three Story walk-up apartments (could even be terraced housing at that level)
  • The main suburb leave as is but allow lot sizes to be shrunk to a minimum of 450m2 (I live on a 510m2 property) if demand allows it

Note: The Town Centre would be mixed residential and commercial use so you could see commercial on the ground and first floor and residential on the rest


What I proposed got more agreement and acceptance for those concerned with Milford providing that there was; strong urban design parameters and that the Local Board oversee the “operation” with Council backing and resources


Now I would be at a hazard of a guess this argument and subsequent compromise with Milford is most likely to happen right across the city with over-intensification. I know it is about to happen in Papakura with that area (my area) up for 18 storey buildings in the immediate town centre and most likely 8-stories in the flanks which is where I am exactly (I can see Papakura town centre from my back deck). Even though Papakura is deemed a metropolitan centre in the Auckland Plan, there is no way on this side of 2050 that the area could ever support 18 stories. The town centre can be zoned for 6 stories maximum right now with the surround flank basically on low density residential at 500m2 sections and the odd walk up 3-storey apartment. You might be able to get 8 stories around 2030 but I doubt – especially when Manukau City Centre (the Core of South Auckland and second Core of Auckland) is only 12 minutes by train and 7 minutes by car.


The Zone Comparison


I have embedded below the zones from the Unitary Plan a.k.a The Clunker has five primary residential zones while at the moment I have three although it will be soon five as I expand on low and medium density zones. The Clunker has these following residential zones:

  • Single House
  • Mixed Housing
  • Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings
  • Large Lot
  • Rural and Coastal Settlement


What I have (including the new two sub zones (expanded on later)) these following zones (from my submission to the Auckland Plan)


  • Low Density Zone (two specific zones here): Mostly single family homes to be built (would allow small scale infilling as well)

  • Medium Density Zone (two specific zones here): Smaller Apartments and condominiums (terraced housing and “walk up” apartments would be built in this zone)

  • High Density Zone: This allows your towering residential blocks to be built


The Unitary Plan residential zones are described in brief here:

Single House zone -Zone description
The zone provides for suburban, open and landscaped living environments and is applied in many areas throughout Auckland including serviced rural and coastal villages. This zone is characterised by detached, lowrise,
one-two storey dwellings surrounded by areas of open space for landscaping and leisure environments. It is not anticipated that large amounts of subdivision or multi-unit development will occur in this zone due to the minimum site size requirements. However, there is an opportunity to create a smaller, subservient dwelling within the main existing dwelling, provided the external appearance of a single large dwelling is retained. The conversion of a single dwelling into two dwellings will provide for different family needs or may be used to generate additional rental income without subdividing the property.


Mixed Housing zone – Zone description
This zone is the most widespread residential zone in Auckland. It enables two storey housing in variety of sizes and forms detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings, town houses and terraced housing and low-rise apartments. The variety of housing types and sizes provided for will increase the supply of housing, create diverse neighbourhoods and provide housing choice. This zone encourages new development patterns by providing increased housing densities with the highest density levels enabled on large sites with wide road frontages. The basis for these provisions is that the larger the size of the site and the wider its frontage, the greater the  opportunity to integrate the development into the neighbourhood and provide a range of dwelling types. Over time, the appearance of neighbourhoods within this zone will change but they will retain their suburban residential context. A resource consent is required in this zone where five or more units are being built on a site. A key part of the resource consent process will be determining if the site is of a size, shape, slope and with sufficient street frontage to achieve quality residential development. The zone provisions also ensure that development does not detract from the amenity and character of adjoining development or sites. Non-residential activities are provided for but the range is limited to those which include a residential component or will benefit the local community.


Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings zone – Zone description
This zone allows urban residential living in the form of terrace housing and apartments. The zone is located around metropolitan, town and local centres, frequent public transport stations and along some frequent transport routes. The purpose of the zone is to make efficient use of land and infrastructure, increase the supply of housing and ensure that residents have convenient access to services, employment, education facilities, retail and entertainment opportunities and public transport. This will promote walkable neighbourhoods and also foster a sense of community and increase the vitality of centres. The zone provides for the greatest density, height and scale of development out of all the residential zones. Buildings of four to six storeys are allowed depending on the scale of centre the zone adjoins and to achieve a transition in height to lower scale residential zones. This new form of development will lead to a change from a suburban to urban residential character and a moderate to high degree of visual change. Low density development is discouraged and midrise multi-unit residential living is encouraged. This increased density requires a high standard of design. A resource consent is required for all forms of residential development in the zone. A key part of the resource consent process will be determining if the proposal makes efficient use of the site and achieves quality design outcomes. Larger sites, and in particular sites with a consistent width of at least 20m, are capable of a wider range of unit types and can achieve better onsite
amenity and design outcomes. This zone also provides for range of non-residential activities so that residents have convenient access to these activities and services while maintaining the urban residential character of these areas.


Large Lot zone – Zone description
This zone provides for large lot residential development on the periphery of urban areas. Large lot development is appropriate in these locations because of one or more of the following factors:

  • it is compatible with high quality landscape areas
  • the land is not suited to conventional residential subdivision because of the absence of reticulated services or there is limited accessibility to reticulated services
  • there are physical limitations such as topography, ground conditions, instability or natural hazards
  • where more intensive development may cause or exacerbate adverse effects on the environment.

To manage adverse effects, larger than standard site sizes are required and building coverage and impervious surface areas are restricted.


Rural and Coastal Settlement zone – Zone description
This zone applies to unserviced rural and coastal villages located outside urban areas in a variety of environments including highquality landscape areas and coastal areas. These settlements rely on onsite disposal and treatment. Due to factors including servicing, infrastructure and accessibility constraints and, in some cases, their sensitive character, only limited or no growth is anticipated.


Bit of a mouthful there but you can get the basics of the proposed residential zones although it is missing on what and where any residential tower over eight stories might go – although you might find them contained to the CBD and some metropolitan zones around Auckland



Now my proposed zones in its current form are due to be expanded to cover the array of housing options however, if I was to overlay with The Unitary Plan’s residential zones then this is how it would look:

Unitary Plan Zone   BR:AKL Zone   Note
Single House Low Density Under LD1 Sub Zone
Mixed Zone Low and Medium Density Under LD2 and MD1 Sub Zones
Terrace Housing and Apartments Medium and High Density Under MD 1 and 2 Sub Zones if medium density
Large Lots Special Zone Case by case and to be dealt with separately
Coastal and Rural Low Density, Rural Zone or Special Zones Dealt specifically to area

Note: Work is still being done on Low and Medium Density sub zones (LD and MD 1 and 2)


So now the next challenge for me is to alter the Unitary Plan zones around to the expanded BR:AKL zones and get proper urban descriptions in reflected the Urban Outline in my Auckland Plan submission.

Simplicity and liberalism will tried to be maintained here.


More on the residential zones as it happens


The Residential Zones Per The Unitary Plan


Submission to Auckland Plan



7 thoughts on “The Clunker and Residential Zoning

  1. Hey Ben. Even where we live, in a single lot suburb (Te Atatu Pen), there is huge amounts of scope for 2 storey terrace house developments that with a bit of careful design, could easily find a sense of place within a bunch of 50 year old Neil homes. I believe we could easily accommodate 2 (or even 3) dwellings on our section in front of the main house and not detract from the neighbourhood.

    1. I use to live in Te Atatu Pen before moving back to South Auckland where I am now.

      I would say the Town Centre area could support 3 storey walk up apartments while other areas could support Terrace Housing.

      Question is does the community want it

      1. The problem is that 99% of the residents only see the images or perceptions of what the media portray to them as terrace houses. To somehow promote the good examples would, I think, assist with the change of mind set that is required.

      2. This is where blogs can come into play. Take up the slack where the MSM fails. However one has to anticipate the blog not going off on a certain bias rant as can happen.

        Tell you what, while I am promoting alternatives in certain places with the Unitary Plan (this is my blog and I am voicing my thoughts), I will give it a crack on providing some more good examples on things like Terrace Housing as it does work and we have quite a close example of multiple range of housing working in Addison (we just need AT to pull finger for its part). Might get some pics of Addison this Easter Weekend

      3. I’ll start hunting around for examples of what I think are good developments as well and feed them to you if you’re keen.

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