Time for a Debunk?

I will let you read this first as I would like your comments as you have heard enough of me on this particular matter.

 

DISCLAIMER: The email originating from the particular Local Board member does not reflect the view nor opinion of the Eden-Albert Local Board. The email below is to be taken as a reflection of the the particular individual’s view only

Ben

Managing Director of TotaRim Consultancy Limited

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Got forwarded this from someone that has originated from the Eden-Albert Local Board.

Take a read and leave your comments below. If you really want to know my comments then please wait for my full feedback currently being written up for the Council on the Unitary Plan

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Subject: Unitary Plan Important Please read and pass on
Date: Sat, 25 May 2013 18:15:35 +1200
Dear fellow Stakeholder in Auckland’s future,
This is lengthy but worth the read  and please submitt I am sending this to you because I know you and thought you would like to know the implications ..
This has been put together by some one else but I agree with all it say.       Pauline Anderson Your Local Board member for Albert Eden
Read the following email text, then copy it and email it to (or share this page with) any and every Aucklander you know ! This is IMPORTANT – this “plan” has the potential to wreck our city for everyone – and once it is done there will be no going back!!

I am writing to you as a personal contact because I have become deeply concerned about the future effects of Auckland Council’s draft Unitary Plan.

I want to alert you to these issues and persuade you of the need to act FAST, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!

The deadline for submissions is next Friday 31st May and the plan runs into thousands of pages. Given the 31st May deadline you don’t really have time between now and then to read and understand the Plan in detail.

However this email will give you the key points of concern, tell you what you can do and help you to do it.

But I stress: you/we must act before the deadline or it will be too late!

If we do nothing it will be assumed that we are happy and the plan will be fast-tracked through implementation by our elected representatives.

The impact upon you, your city, your neighbourhood and your homes could be severe and will be final!

Why?

Well the provisions of the plan are set to change the rules about what can be built in more than half of the city’s residential areas.

How this directly impacts you will depend on which “zone” your property is in. There are several zones but if your house is in either the Mixed Housing or the Terraced Housing and Apartments zone then you have got a problem ! To find out which zone your property is in go to

http://acmaps.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/unitaryplan/FlexViewer/index.html

to view the Council’s map.

The viewer is not very user-friendly but if you put your pointer onto the map it will change to a hand and you can then zoom in with a double click and move the map to locate your actual plot.

· If your plot is shaded in the “brown paper” colour you are in the Mixed Housing zone.
· If it is in the “Amber” colour you are in the Terraced Housing & Apartment zone.
· If your house is in the off white colour your enjoyment of your property will not be directly affected by the plan unless your property is close to the border with one of the other zones.

…but since we all stand to suffer indirectly as a result of the plan you might want to read on anyway!

Firstly the direct impacts:
If you are in the Mixed Housing zone then your height-to-boundary rules are gone and the plan will allow construction of 10 metre high three storey multi-occupancy apartment blocks. Go to

http://auckland2040.org.nz/?Issues

and scroll down the page to see what this might look like.
If you are in the Terraced Housing and Apartment zone then your height-to-boundary rules are gone and the plan will allow construction of rectangular multi-occupancy apartment blocks with, dependent upon the width of frontage, in the worst case no effective height limitation. Go to

http://auckland2040.org.nz/?Issues

and scroll down the page to see what this might look like.

WARNING:

In both zones your right to notification of and objection to such developments will be removed –
the decision will be made between the Council and the developer independently of what you may think.

In both zones your right to appeal to, and have your objections heard
by a higher authority (the Environment Court) will be removed.

So the first you might know of a multi-storey development starting three metres away from your boundary could be when the diggers start up – and there will be basically nothing that you will be able to do about it! The plan is specifically designed to allow this sort of development to take place without the hindrance of objections by people affected. New blocks will be allowed to shade your windows and garden from the sun, block out your views, increase traffic in your road or down your shared driveway etc. etc. and there will be absolutely nothing you can do about it!

ACT NOW!
IF YOU ARE IN EITHER OF THESE ZONES AND YOU DO NOT OBJECT BEFORE 31st MAY 2013
THE COUNCIL WILL ASSUME THAT YOU ARE HAPPY WITH ALL ASPECTS OF THE PLAN!

Indirect Impacts:
And what about the indirect impacts of such a development “plan”. Well these will affect everyone right across our city. That is because the “plan” does not stipulate where development will take place; it is designed to allow developers free rein to build high intensity (i.e. high rise apartments) housing anywhere within the new zones without the hindrance of objections from neighbouring property owners and these areas are spread right across the city.

But what the plan doesn’t do is take any account of the extra load of all the additional families and people who may move into an area where development takes off; that is because the Council, with this plan, does not impose any sort of planned approach to manage the roll-out of such developments to allow local infrastructure (e.g. Roads, sewerage, schools, parks, public transport, swimming pools, libraries, etc.) to support all the extra people to be put in place. And that means that it cannot predict where developments will actually be built – that will be left entirely up to the developers – and they will have more or less free rein to build what they want, where they want and when they want, right across the city whether the infrastructure is ready or not.

I do not know how such a free-for-all constitutes a “plan” and I am deeply concerned that what will actually occur will be years of mayhem. If you think the traffic problems in your suburb are bad now, just think what they will be like if multi-occupancy blocks start appearing all over the place with each new family expecting to have a couple of cars! Let alone the question of where their kids are going to go to school or providing adequate emergency services, etc., etc. etc.

The conventional approach to development is to put in the services such as roads, sewerage, water and power first and to work to a plan which provides for the other services such as schools, hospitals; public transport and green spaces to be provided before or at least at the same time as the houses start going up. Where new housing is to be built upon existing infrastructure as is being proposed here, then to avoid creating infrastructural problems down the track, the development plan should include updating and enlarging of that infrastructure at least at the same time as the housing is being developed if not before, but definitely not after the event.

So even if your home and family are not directly affected by the new building rules you will more than likely suffer from more cars on your streets, longer commutes, bigger class sizes in your kids’ schools, more foot traffic, more noise and possibly years of disruption as the Council and the other services providers go round and round upgrading services that are simply not up to the job for the number of people who will be using them.

No matter how they try to sugar-coat this draft plan (and they are trying very hard with the considerable resources at their disposal that you pay for with your rates), the fact is that it is not really a plan at all, but an attack on the established rights of a subset of the population of Auckland to allow uncontrolled and uncontrollable development in the Council’s chosen upwards direction and the impact will be felt by all of us if it is allowed to proceed.

So what can you do about it?

Firstly let me say again: Doing nothing is the same as saying that you are happy with the plan!

If you do nothing the plan will be pushed ahead as Len Brown put it “fast, fast, FAST”.. And while the council strategy is to persuade you that it is a “just a draft” if you do not tell them in no uncertain terms what you do not want in any plan, they will only take out of the draft the bits that they do not want in their plan not the bits you don’t want in it – and you can guess which bits they will leave in!

The only chance you have of influencing the outcome is to object. The following are some things you might like to object about worded so that you can copy them straight into the Council’s online objection form:

I/We oppose the Draft Unitary Plan residential provisions and request Council to:
· Rethink the plan and allow more time for residents to understand, consider and if necessary oppose it. The current plan is far too long for anyone to understand in its entirety, let alone laypeople who are not familiar with the wording of such documents in the time that has been allowed under the current proposals.
· Change the wording of the plan to allow a right of consultation and objection about proposed developments to all affected homeowners and a right of appeal to a higher authority such as the Environment Court.
· Revise the plan to prevent the proposed scattergun approach which permits multi-storey/high density apartments to be developed throughout the city.
· Determine the ability of roading and other infrastructure (e.g. schools, sewers, public transport) to support and accommodate intensification before permitting intensification.
· Focus apartment building into key areas where the prices for apartments that are built will be affordable (rather than million dollar plus apartments e.g. ones with million dollar views) and where the city’s environmental appeal will not be adversely impacted and encourage comprehensive planning for each of these areas.
· Re-evaluate the projected population growth used as a basis for the plan based upon census information and consider other ways of reducing population growth in Auckland rather than just accepting that the projected growth is an inevitable fact.
· Change the plan to respect and not override existing determinations of the Environment Court and other such agencies.
· Remove the Council’s discretion to allow buildings of any height to be built.

The Council’s online objection form can be accessed by going to
http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/planspoliciesprojects/plansstrategies/unitaryplan/Pages/theunitaryplanonlinefeedbackform.aspx.

To complete the objection form:
copy (highlight them and press Ctrl & C at the same time) the objections you want to raise from the list above;
2. click on the online form link;
3. scroll down the form to the section entitled “Please provide your feedback on the aspects of the draft Auckland Unitary Plan you would like to see changed and why (please attach a separate document with your feedback if required)”;
4. click in the box on the form;
5. paste (press Ctrl & V at the same time) your objections into the form;
6. add your other details and any other objections you want to make;
7. when you’re done click the “Submit” button.

Before you start doing that, please can I ask if you will do something else which is just as important and will only take a few moments?
Please will you forward this message to (or share this page with) as many other Aucklanders as you can, so that they can consider the ramifications of the plan & if they wish send their objections too?
To forward the email:
1. click the “Forward” button in your mail software;
2. replace my name with your own;
3. type or paste the email addresses of up to 10 Aucklanders you know into the “To:” field, and
4. click the “Send” button….
(N.B.. all the right people in central and local government will have been targeted by the time you get this – so you don’t need to send it to them too, unless you want to because you know them personally!)

Then you can go back to click the links above to send your own objections – but remember they have to be received by the Friday 31st May deadline.

Regards,

Pauline Anderson Albert Eden Local Board Member
Facilitator Mt Albert Business and Community Groups Assn
Hm: 09 8467 402 Mob: 021 770799
74 Mt Albert Rd, Mt Albert, Auckland 1025

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Yes I have noted that anything on the RUB which affects the South and West is rather silent…

Also the above provides irony abound especially after my “Skewing of the Unitary Plan” post this morning.

Sigh

4 thoughts on “Time for a Debunk?

  1. I would like to make it clear that I support intensification in Auckand. The city simply cannot continue to sprawl. I do however want intensification that is carefully planned and considered with infrastructure investment in place before intensification becomes a problem for the city. Much of Auckland in particular the central isthmus is already under pressure with sewerage overflows storm water and flooding issues and traffic congestion already costing the city millions. To simply open over 50% of the isthmus for intensification without planning for it is simple folly. Len Browns vision for the world’s most liveable city cannot happen without significant investment in infrastructure. If the Billion dollars for the inner city rail link was used on infrastructure then the UP might just work. But that is another debate.
    I have a letter from water care that states that current and proposed infrastructure (central interceptor for one) would simply not cope with predicted population growth. They have advised council of this yet we still plan to open up the whole city to intensification in one go instead of a staged process.
    Albert Eden is already the least greened area in the whole of Auckland and needs more open space desperately. This is agreed by all. However there is no provision for any additional parks or open space in the UP yet the intensification planned in the UP will increase the population of Albert Eden at a minimum to say 150,000 people over the next 10 years, but no more open space. The worlds, most liveable city! How?
    I did not write this email, it was forwarded to me I do not know who the original author is. I chose to forward to those in my email group as I hoped to cause debate and make people realise the importance of this document to the future of Auckland. It seems it has worked. I have to say that I have received many emails and phone calls thanking me for bringing the importance of the UP to people’s attention. I suggest that if it had being called something like “The Auckland housing intensification plan” it would have caused people to sit up listen and get involved to a much greater extent. Most people still do not know what it is all about. But let’s not tell people what it really is.
    The consultation process around the plan and on this most agree has been meagre and of the meetings I attended much of the important information such as section size in the mixed use and single house zones was glossed over. The planners did not know this detail, chose not to know or were actually incorrect and were corrected by the general public. Is this good enough for something so important?
    It was only at my insistence that more meetings for the general public be held in Albert Eden we had one at Unitec and library venues for drop in discussion, plus a couple for stakeholder groups was simply not enough for a population of 100,000 plus with a lot changing. Finally the board agreed and unfortunately no planners were available. Never the less they were very well attended the last on the 27th May in Mt Albert with 70 people many incredulous that they were only getting a meeting about it just 4 days out from the close of submissions. Aucklanders have not being well served by this council on this debate.
    In fact that very day at a council meeting a motion was passed by George Wood to extend the consultation period by 15 days and was voted down 10 – 7 not to extend. Where was the harm in giving Aucklanders the time they needed given the surge in interest at that late stage?
    This plan is important for the future of Auckland. All we can hope now is that council and the planners listen and put a lot more thought, facts, planning, focus on infrastructure issues and consultation into the next round of the process. We’ll see.

    1. I would like to note that Pauline’s statement that, “It was only at my insistence that more meetings for the general public be held in Albert Eden …” does not accord with my recollection of proceedings. At its last meeting, the Board quickly agreed that more meetings and library drop-in sessions were required because of the surge in interest when we discussed this issue at the last Board meeting. The library drop-in sessions were mostly run by Board Member Graeme Easte, with Board Members Helga Arlington and Lee Corrick also attending some. The Unitec meeting had been scheduled from the outset as a youth-oriented meeting, but by the time it was presented interest had grown so that it became a general meeting.

  2. Hi Totarim, Could you make it clear that the email/post above does not emanate from the Albert-Eden Local Board. It has been forwarded on by one member of the Board (who did not write it originally), and therefore reflects her views only. It is erroneous on too many points to go into in detail, and detracts from, rather than enhances rational, balanced discussion in my view. As Russell Brown put it, it is “staggeringly, deliberately inaccurate.” This is not to suggest that the board member in question was deliberately exploiting the Unitary Plan for political ends just a couple of months out from an election, as some have been doing. i don’t think that’s the case.
    Cheers Peter (Dr Peter Haynes, Chair, Albert-Eden Local Board)

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