The Next Steps for the Unitary Plan

A Series on this Round of the Unitary Plan before it goes to Formal Notification

Part One: The Feedback – A Summary


Council has released a summary and where to next guide on the Unitary Plan after feedback closed on May 31. Even though the media briefing including question time was 30 minutes, a lot of information was given. Too much to put into a single post unless you are up for a Unitary Plan style thesis.

What I will  be doing is running a series from now until formal notification later this year on the happens of the UP at this stage of the game. In this post I take a look at the summary of the feedback and basic overview of where next.

First from my previous post some points in brief:

  • 22,700 pieces of FeedbackCouncil is still codifying the issues and responses. We won’t specifically know “topics” until the end of next week
    • 6,500 of that was pro-forma by 35 different groups (so around a third of all pieces of feedback (actually it is 28%))
  • Hot Topic Issues were though: height (which starts being looked at tomorrow) and zones (they are up for changes – both residential, business and the centres)
  • Three “reference”groups to be established: Universal Design, Heritage, and Significant Ecological Areas
  • Extensive work with Local Boards
  • Formal Notification date will be set most likely in August
  • Council admits its communication arm needs quite a bit of work (especially if blogs were taking up the slack quite a bit)

Now I do have a table and graph showing Total Submitters by Local Board which I will stick up at the end of this. As for the full breakdown by demographics and topics, we won’t know that fully until the end of next week as the submissions are still being codified and entered into the database over at Council.

But, from what I can gather from the briefing given today at Town Hall the Council is pleased with the level of feedback. In saying that they did find the whole process challenging but, are willing to do it again. This might be down to the communication arm being much desired (Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse even stated the communication side “need work”) but also the share volume in trying to get one’s head around a 7000 page clunker of a document.


What Happens to the Feedback?

In short three things can happen depending on what you sent in.

If it was pro-forma (and there was 6,500 pieces from 35 groups that did this) it is essentially tallied up and totals assigned to set “topics.” Stuff done on an Excel sheet.

If you wrote an individual submission it can land in one of two places in the codifying exercise. All individual submissions are collated, summarised and codified according to “topic” and will be sent for political direction – usually the Auckland Plan Committee. If in your individual submission you decided to go highly technical (and some did) then your piece is worked over by senior planners and topic experts at a finer level. Your technical points will then be “addressed” accordingly.

To make the point clear; it can be taken that for individual submissions that are collated will be presented and reviewed at direction setting workshops via The Auckland Plan Committee. Collated information is divided by topic and will be worked over by experts who will flesh out the concepts from the submissions and again presented for direction setting at the Committee. I do wish them luck trying to codify and collate my 104 page monster with it covering I think 10 different issues.

I will be writing a separate posts on these workshops, most likely tomorrow.


Of Significant Note stemming from Feedback

There were several points of significance from today’s briefing that stemmed from our Unitary Plan feedback. They were:

  1. Council will start looking at height (in general) from tomorrow
  2. Zones could very well change
  3. Town Centres are going to come under the microscope specifically
  4. Three reference groups to be set up in the areas of
    1. Universal Design
    2. Heritage
    3. Significant Ecological Areas
  5. Local Boards carrying the can (and need to step up big time)

While we don’t know the top five white-hot button issues yet (although I can guess the top one 😛 ), these five points were deemed of high significance that will need fine tooth comb work and “direction” from the main council.


Workshop on Height

At the moment the Auckland Plan Committee and Local Board Chairs are and will be discussing key issues arising from the feedback we raised. This will then flow over into other workshops (which are held in confidence, so sorry folks I can’t report on proceedings direct and will be relying on council to get the information out) in which the first start tomorrow.

That workshop will be on HEIGHT and the development principles of our centres (Local right up to City Centre). It will be in a general sense as it would set a framework for density and development across the rest of the city. Now knowing Council read this they might want to please explain why this is the first workshop as to me it is odd at this stage of the game.

I am going to digress here a bit and explain why.

A five-hour workshop on the principle of the development of the centres which includes height (limits). That is odd because as I noted above the zones which include the centres (as they are a “business zone) are subject to fine grain analysis and changes. Meaning? I asked the Penny’s to which Penny Perrit answered on with these zoning changes could centres be upgraded or downgraded (as well as residential zones being changed).

In short the answer was “YES” centres could be very well upgraded or downgraded. This means Milford could be downgraded to a Local Centre, Papakura downgraded to a (Large) Town Centre and if the council really showed guts and vision – Manukau upgraded to a City Centre (from a Metropolitan Centre).

Now if a Centre gets up or downgraded from the zoning change, it means the “principles of development including height for a particular centre” also change. This is owing to what can and can not be done to the individual centre hierarchy set out in the Unitary Plan. So undertaking this workshop tomorrow even in a general sense on the principles of development including heights for centres would be rather silly while the zoning changes are worked out.

For my take in the Centres, the zones and their development you can check my Unitary Plan submission by clicking on the hyperlink.


I shall leave it here folks in my first part of the series. In my next post I will be looking at workshops and the significant points arising from our feedback.

In the mean time you can read Council’s summary of the feedback and where next with the UP over at the Shape Auckland website.

Total Submitters by Local Board Area

Submissions total per LBA



Talking Auckland: Blog of TotaRim Consultancy Limited

TotaRim Consultancy
Bringing Well Managed Progress to Auckland and The Unitary Plan

Auckland: 2013 – YOUR CITY, YOUR CALL