Unitary Plan Updates

And Who Say’s Council Does Not Listen?


On Tuesday I made light of my observations of the literal circus some Councillors had degenerated the Auckland Plan Committee meeting that was meant to be discussing the Mixed Housing AND Terrace Housing and Apartment Zones. You can see my observations in my “Report on Today’s Auckland Plan Committee Proceedings” post.

In one of the most strange sense of ironies I have seen in my blogging career (short as it is), I saw three unlikely people who share nothing in common with each other in regards to the Unitary Plan basically say the same thing about Tuesday’s proceedings. They were:

  1. Yours Truly: Report on Today’s Auckland Plan Committee Proceedings
  2. Bernard Orsman of the NZ HeraldCouncillors at odds on housing plan
  3. Policy Parrot over at Whale Oil (mind the language if you are sensitive to the word ‘arse’ being used in a post): ZOMBIES IN SUBURBIA WANT EVERYTHING NOTIFIED


However, while Councillors Brewer and Coney did as much as possible in stalling rather than doing something more productive (having guts and passing that Notice of Motion if we are critically concerned over that not all submissions are “ready” yet?), I am noticing rays of sunshine coming out of the entire Unitary Plan process.

Now who says Council does not listen?

Well that depends on the point raised and the subjectivity behind the situation. However while most people are quick to bleat about Council not listening, those same people can be extremely slow in giving credit where credit is genuinely due.

While the Unitary Plan has caused a range of emotions and responses I have picked up (from my point of view) that our Deputy Mayor is correct in her statement that Council is listening to residents and businesses.

I have two examples in front of me on Council “listening.”

Council is listening MK 1

The first example was the Mixed Housing Zone split into two sub zones as noted here:

24. The following interim direction was generally agreed at the 26 June 2013 workshop in relation
to the Mixed Housing zone:
a. Investigate splitting the mixed housing zone into two sub-zones and investigate options
as follows:

  1. (i) A mixed housing sub-zone, generally located next to the Terrace House and Apartment Building zone and centres;
    1. up to 3 storeys (10m) in height, restricted discretionary consent with design assessment, non–notified; Undertake further work on a possible 11m height considering practical and architectural merits.
    2. over 10m in height fully discretionary consent, silent on notification
  2. (ii) A mixed housing sub-zone, generally between the above zone and the single house zone;
    1. 2 storeys (8m) permitted height limit;
    2. over 8m height fully discretionary consent with design assessment, silent on notification.
  3. (iii) Officers to develop a full package of controls for both mixed housing sub-zones including:(iv) Investigate opportunities to zone areas of the current Single House zone into the two storey Mixed Housing sub-zone where there are no heritage or environmental constraints. This requires discussion with local boards at the mapping workshop.
    1. – density
    2.  landscaping
    3. – height to boundary
    4. – set backs
    5. – site coverage (different between both sub zones)
    6. – neighbourhood character
    7. – infrastructure availability (including community facilities)
    8. – topography

Now I know this is extremely similar to what I submitted on in my feedback. But, while the inner Isthmus is being a nuisance (I told them how to counter off the MHZ and THAB zones with the Special Character Zone idea), as I said on Tuesday other places in Auckland are ready and welcoming the new Mixed Housing Zone split. Feedback generated on Twitter did reveal that those of the South and West are particularly favourable to the Mixed Housing Zone split. So in the South and West’s eyes Council is listening.

From my Feedback (page 42)

Refined Definitions of Alternative Zonings for the Unitary Plan


Residential Zones


Zone Type What can be built Notes
Low Standard Density Zone Mostly single family homes to be built. Some infill allowed

Minimum Lot Size 450m2

Two Storeys Maximum permitted, Three Storeys a Restricted Discretionary Activity
Low-Intensive Density Zone Mostly single family homes to be built. More intensive infill allowed

Minimum Lot Size 300m2

Two Storeys Maximum permitted, Three Storeys is a Restricted Discretionary Activity

Apartments and Terraced Housing are non-complying

Medium Classic Density Zone Ranging from single homes through to Walk-Up Apartments and Terrace Housing

Minimum size lot for single house is 300m2

Up to three storeys as permitted activity. Four Storeys is a Restricted Discretionary Activity. Above four storeys is non-complying
Medium Standard Density Zone Ranging from Walk-Up Apartments and Terrace Housing to 6 storey apartments 3-6 storeys permitted. Above 6 storeys and below 3 storeys on any new development is noncomplying
Medium Intensive Density Zone Ranging from Walk-Up Apartments and Terrace Housing to 8 storey apartments 3-8 storeys permitted. Above 8 storeys and below 3 storeys on any new development is noncomplying
High Standard Density Zone Allows up to 12-15 storey Apartment Towers Subject to rules such as those prescribed in the Business Zone definitions
High Intensive Density Zone 15 storeys  or higher Subject to rules such as those prescribed in the Business Zone definitions


Note in regards to definitions and alternatives stemming from embedded blog articles used in this submission:

  • LD1 = Low Standard Density Zone
  • LD2 = Low-Intensive Density Zone
  • MD1 = Medium Classic Density Zone
  • MD2 = Medium Standard Density Zone and Medium Intensive Density Zone

BUT! It seems the representatives of the Isthmus communities might NOT be listening which gives a mega case of irony. I do recall Associations and residents in the Isthmus area submitting on the Special Character Zone proposal I drew up. The SCZ was an alternative to credibly counter off the generalist  Mixed Housing Zone, Terrace Housing and Apartment Zone, and the Centres by kicking off essentially a dedicated local area plan to the defined area for those communities by those communities.

I have not heard once in the debate by the Councillors yet (nor being pushed by the Local Boards) them pushing the SCZ as a counter to aspects of the MHZ and THAB zones in the isthmus area. Rather than bleating about the process for two hours Cameron and Sandra (that should have taken 10 mins and a Motion), you should have brought the Special Character Zone proposal up as a counter to aspects of the Mixed Housing Zone. If I was to hedge a bet on the discussion it would have ended up with lots of questions to UP Planner John Duguid who was sitting there for two hours twiddling his thumbs and having his time wasted on how the SCZ could be refined and introduced if the Councillors wished for it to be so. The discussion would have been independent of the fact that the planners are late with the preparation of the submissions for examination and release as the SCZ debate does not need the submissions’ view point just yet. This would have been owing to the Auckland Plan Committee kicking the SCZ back to the workshop for some more refinements like the Mixed Housing Zone split has.

However, what has happened on Tuesday has happened and we can’t go back and change history. So while the planners and some Councillors have listened in regards to the Mixed Housing Zone split, the bulk of the Councillors and possibly some Local Boards have not listened and getting alternatives up that very day when the prime opportunity was present.

As I said on Tuesday and to make it extremely clear again: Orakei might not want the Mixed Housing Zone split but, Papakura (and from Twitter – Te Atatu) do want the Mixed Housing Zone split. So come on guys be fair to those of us that want it.


Council is listening MK 2

Again it seems Council is listening with the Unitary Plan. Looking at this Vox-Pop it appears Councillor Richard Northery pulled off some concessions for his Ward around heights in the centres.

From Voxy

Northey achieves concessions in Unitary Plan for Tamaki

Auckland Councillor Richard Northey has successfully argued for substantial improvements to the Auckland Council Unitary Plan for the people of Maungakiekie Tamaki.


“The people of Panmure and Onehunga told me that allowing for eight storey apartments in character town centres was too high. I am pleased to have successfully argued to reduce the maximum heights allowed near medium sized town centres, including Onehunga and Panmure generally to six storeys” Northey said.

“During the public meetings and consultation the public told me that they wanted to protect the visual amenity in areas like Royal Oak, Onehunga, Panmure and Mt Wellington. I am pleased to say that I have also successfully argued for the protection of volcanic view shafts.”


“The Unitary plan is a very important document; it’s a blueprint for the future of Auckland. We need to provide more affordable housing in Maungakiekie-Tamaki suburbs and we need to protect existing character and visual amenity”




Not bad from Councillor Northery. I think I can say progress is being made in aspects of the Unitary Plan at this time which is encouraging.

Now then if we can just get the Committee to discuss Manukau… and we would be all sweet in the south.

And while I am on the Unitary Plan, the Rural Urban Boundary is up next week for workshop deliberations. Which option will they take for the Southern RUB. Hopefully a media release then will be able to tell us.


Despite the doom and gloom apparently around the Unitary Plan and the three-way gang up from media outlets, there seems to be actual progress in the Unitary Plan.

As I said, credit is due where credit is due and this is credit to some in regards to the Unitary Plan being made due.



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Bringing Well Managed Progress to Auckland and The Unitary Plan

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One thought on “Unitary Plan Updates

  1. The southernmost part of the Rural Urban Boundary South has been the subject of a huge amount of work in recent weeks by a council planning team and the Franklin Local Board. They’ve produced a new Pukekohe Area Plan which in my observation has been enormously well received by all who’ve seen it in the series of local meetings and workshops over the past couple of weeks. It lays out the objectives and boundaries for development of Pukekohe. The maps and some notes are posted online here:

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