That will be $500 + GST please
It seems when I opened up Chrome this morning there was quite a fuss in regards to Mixed Housing Zones. Seems Orsman from The Herald has cotton on to something that has been floating around for a while, while also proving one must be up to play with the English language to catch finer details.
Mixed Housing Zones and debunking this round of myths attached. Seriously I am going to invoice Orsman $500 + GST for writing this post in spelling out Mixed Housing Zones – AGAIN for the fifth time now. First lets take a look at what our Ageist Old Fart wrote this time:
From the NZ Herald
5:30 AM Saturday May 18, 2013
Height rule shock for half of city residents: Three-storey blocks, not just two, will be allowed – and you won’t get a say
Half of suburban Auckland could be built up with three-storey apartments and residents will have no say when developers move into their street.
Three-storey apartments are possible in the “mixed housing” zone in the city’s new planning rulebook. The zone covers 49 per cent of urban Auckland and most suburban streets have some degree of mixed housing.
The council has also told the Weekend Herald that developers can apply to exceed the four, five and six-storey height limits in the terraced housing and apartment zones, which make up 7 per cent of urban Auckland close to town centres in the draft Unitary Plan.
Last night, Penny Pirrit, head of regional and local planning, denied the council had not been upfront with Aucklanders over the maximum heights in the two zones, saying the figures given were what was permitted as of right and, like now, developers could apply to build higher.
“At the moment [in the mixed housing zone] the plan says as a permitted activity it is 8m but there is the opportunity to go to 10m,” she said.
Ms Pirrit said applications to increase the height to 10m were a non-notified restricted discretionary activity, which meant they would be decided by officers with no input from residents.
Applications would have to meet criteria, such as height in relation to boundary, whether the building would dominate next-door properties, shade a house or yard, breach light controls and be in keeping with neighbourhood character, she said.
If people did not like the proposed height of apartments in suburban areas, they could give the council feedback and it would be considered as part of the Unitary Plan process.
The mixed housing zone allows for one house per 300sq m. But if a developer or landowner has a site more than 1,200sq m and a 20m street frontage, there are no density rules and apartments can be built.
The rules do not apply to the single housing zone, which permits one house per 500sq m and covers 35 per cent of urban Auckland, or the single lot zone (9 per cent) covering large lots mostly on the city fringe.
The parts in bold is where knowing one’s English can come into play. Knowing the planning rules as well would also be of help. So I can see where residents would be upset as even I would be with the “ decided by officers with no input from residents” bit as I am in a Mixed Housing Zone. In the same regard that kind of power to the central planners falls directly in the face to my Centralised Master Community Plan and Semi-Liberal Plan District planning models mentioned in my submission to The Auckland Plan.
But as for details as such with the Mixed Housing Zone, it is time to look at a previous post on the matter.
The Unitary Plan has a residential zone called Mixed Housing Zone, its description is this from the draft Unitary Plan:
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.
I have below as an embed a 9 page PDF on how the Mix Housing Zones COULD work in Auckland. This PDF was forwarded onto me by an anonymous source. Please NOTE that the Unitary Plan is still a draft so the PDF should be treated as a draft on how things MIGHT look under Mixed Housing
In that PDF the English was being played with again with this quote:
While “Two Storey” is mentioned, the word “intended” is also used as well. ‘The Mixed Housing Zone is INTENDED to accommodate…” Not WILL ACCOMMODATE but, INTENDED TO ACCOMMODATE. Big change in the meaning of the sentence with one little word.
In the same regard looking at the Unitary Plan definition the term “Low-Rise apartment” is used. If I took the Wikipedia definition of the “rises” this is what you get:
- Low Rise: up to 4 storeys
- Mid Rise: 4-12 storeys
- High Rise: over 12 stories
- Super Tall: 300 metres plus
So if we play with international planning guidelines, there is nothing stopping a 4 storey apartment blocks being built in the Mixed Housing Zone. It is only because Council has placed a three storey discretionary limit on Mixed Housing Zones do we get apartment blocks not being able to hit four storeys in the Mixed Housing Zone.
Although three storeys is interesting. It is either a super large house at 5-8 bedrooms which Auckland is not planning for any how (a post will be done on this, this weekend) or the smallest of apartments known as Walk-Ups commonly seen in the USA and UK.
So if the Urban Design controls are strict enough what is the issue with three storey in appropriate places? Answer – NONE!
As a Redux to my Unitary Plan thoughts I bring you to attention my previous posts which are forming the basis of my submission to the Unitary Plan
THE CLUNKER AND RESIDENTIAL ZONING (Their Residential Zoning and My Residential Zoning – A Comparison)
Those two pieces I should make compulsory reading. While some Councillors have been running round like (as Whale Oil terms it) buggers muddle, at least my lines have been clear, AND clear in most aspects since 2010 with the Auckland Plan.
Orsman; I take cheques, cash and direct debit please… Seriously though why people read the Herald for their Unitary Plan stuff I be bothered to know. Least Rudman was on fire yesterday with his article yesterday – then again he is known for some good moments from time to time.
To be fair though both sides have been playing hard and fast with the English language. Council through the Unitary Plan have been somewhat loose using words like “intended,” then mentioning two storey and low-rise apartments in the same sentence (which should be treated as two separate concepts any how). But, Councillors like George Wood have also been rather loose with their English as well when claiming alarm over three storey walk-up apartments in a mixed housing zone when it was always possible under the UP. If one decided bother to go read up the definitions of things like: “intended” and “low-rise” one might have cotton on that the UP had somewhat maximum flexibility in the Mixed Housing Zone, and that low-rise apartments of up to a true maximum of four storeys was always possible (although the UP has it as three).
As for three storeys in a whole; what on earth is the problem folks seriously. If I was to take the 49% up for mixed housing I bet I could get half of that as suitable for three storey houses and the odd low-rise apartment block. For heavens sake three storey houses with five to eight bedrooms in Auckland but we seem to have forgotten about that and focus on one to three bedroom stuff… Groan – absolute groan…
Something tells me this particular saga is going to roll on for a while yet while people cotton onto something that has been apparent since March 16…
BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND
BR:AKL: Bring Well Managed Progress
The Unitary Plan: Bringing Change
Auckland: 2013 – OUR CITY, OUR CALL