New (potential) Industrial Land at Puhinui to go through the “processes”

Council Agrees to Structure Plan Study for new Industrial Land

 

It was rather appropriate that while the New Zealand Herald raises the issue of ‘costs of living in the wops (outer suburbs)‘ the Auckland Development Committee was looking at an issue that could cut down commuting for a population base in Auckland.

I will write-up a separate post on the Herald article and refuting some of its “claims.” However, what was raised on the Puhinui Gateway question today does answer the concern about housing affordability when transport costs are weighed in. The Puhinui Gateway question also raised valid points about the endangered species that is our industrial land (our true employment hubs and engine houses) and why they need to be preserved and nurtured. Manukau also got implied and its role as a support centre for the Southern Auckland industrial complex as well. These questions need to be answered when the Structure Plan study (that would allow the land to be converted to industrial from rural) gets under way and reported back by year-end.

 

The Puhinui Gateway

 

Today at the Auckland Development Committee we heard from The Southern Consortium (representing land owners and businesses) on their push for rural land west of Wiri to be converted into light industry. Auckland Council through its planners then gave their response to the push to which a vote was later taken to kick-start Structure Plan study for the Puhinui Gateway.

This is the location of the Puhinui Gateway area:

Puhinui Gateway location
Puhinui Gateway location

Currently the area is zoned Rural Production – the definition of that in the Unitary Plan being:

PART 2 – REGIONAL AND DISTRICT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES»Chapter D: Zone objectives and policies»6 Rural zones»6.2 Rural Production zone
Zone description

The purpose of the Rural Production zone is to provide for the use and development of land for rural production activities, while maintaining the natural and amenity values and rural character of the rural and coastal environments.

Farming activities generate various waste products and contaminants that have the potential to pollute rivers and streams and groundwater. Many of the activities which produce these contaminants are essential for the operation of rural production activities. However, these activities can give rise to increased levels of suspended sediment, chemical and nutrients and bacteria from fecal matter. Some of the most common discharges from rural production activities that need to be managed are the disposal of effluent from dairy sheds and other intensive livestock activities and leachate from offal holes, silage storage and composted materials.

This is the largest rural zone on the Auckland mainland. Its physical, climatic and production characteristics vary across the region, including rolling to steep hill country distant from the RUB, and flat to rolling lowlands with highly productive soils close to the metropolitan area.

In the north, the zone is characterised by:

  • Auckland’s highest number of remaining large rural properties
  • low intensity settlement, significant natural areas and natural resources
  • an environment less modified by humans than other zones in the north
  • opportunities to conserve and enhance native vegetation and wildlife.

In the south, the zone is characterised by:

  • intensively subdivided land tenure pattern, particularly on lowland areas
  • the largest horticultural production area in Auckland, centred on the highly productive soils of the Franklin lowlands
  • mixed primary production including pastoral farming and forestry relating to topography, land tenure pattern and water availability on the west and east coasts
  • the Hunua Ranges providing the backdrop to production land in the east.
Objectives

  1. A wide range and diversity of rural production activities take place in the Rural Production zone.
  2. Rural production activities largely manage their adverse environmental effects on site.
Policies

  1. Provide for a diverse range of existing and new rural production activities in the Rural Production zone and recognise their role in determining the zone’s rural character.
  2. Encourage diverse forestry activities including:a.planting and management of new and existing forests in recognition of their production values, land stability and carbon sequestration functions, and multiple use for active recreationb.woodlots and farm-scale forestryc.planting of indigenous species and amenity exotic species for long-term production purposes and the eventual harvesting of these species.
  3. Enable the establishment of new and the expansion of existing greenhouses in specific locations where there are advantages for operational efficiencies, transport accessibility and the provision of energy such as natural gas supplies and services, and manage the amenity expectations of other activities in these areas.
  4. Provide for intensive farming, other than for mustelid species, while managing the adverse effects and require compliance with good industry practice.
  5. Require intensive farming of new species, including terrestrial, freshwater and marine species not currently farmed in the Rural Production zone to:
    1. be designed and operated to prevent the escape of any species of animal or plant that could have an adverse effect on the natural environment
    2. not include any mustelid species.
  6. Provide for accessory farm and forestry buildings and other operational structures such as stockyards, pump houses and fences as part of the landscape character of this zone, but avoid buildings and structures, other than fences and pump-houses, in coastal yards, riparian margins, wetlands and existing areas of indigenous vegetation.

——

The area where the Puhinui Gateway falls is also under the Mangere-Puhinui Precinct under the Unitary Plan and has the following overlays just to make life more fun in looking things up:

  • Infrastructure: Designations – ID 1102, Protection of aeronautical functions – obstacle limitation surfaces, Airspace Restriction Designations, Auckland International Airport Ltd
  • Infrastructure: Aircraft Noise – Auckland Airport – high aircraft noise area
  • Infrastructure: High Land Transport Route Noise
  • Natural Resource: Indicative Streams [i]
  • Natural Resource: Aquifer [rp] – Manukau City Waitemata Aquifer
  • Natural Resource: Aquifer [rp] – Manukau Southeast Kaawa

And you wonder why someone might go potty when filing a resource consent to develop on a piece of land after having to check all of the above.

 

The Southern Consortium through a plan change wants the area to be changed from that Rural Production zone to the Light Industry zone. The Definition from the Unitary Plan below:

PART 2 – REGIONAL AND DISTRICT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES»Chapter D: Zone objectives and policies»3 Business zones»3.10 Light Industry zone
Zone description

This zone provides for light industrial activities that do not generate objectionable odour, dust or noise emissions. This includes light manufacturing, production, logistics, storage, transport and distribution activities.

Due to the industrial nature of the activities, sensitive activities such as residential, office or retail activities that are not related to the predominant use on-site are not appropriate. An exception is made for trade suppliers,motor vehicle sales and garden centres, which may locate in the zone subject to location and traffic considerations.

Objectives

  1. Light industrial activities locate and function productively within the zone.
  2. The establishment of activities that may diminish the efficiency and functionality of the zone for industrial activities is avoided.
  3. Adverse effects on the natural environment and general amenity, both within the zone and on adjacent areas, are managed.
  4. Development avoids adverse effects on the amenity of adjacent public open spaces and residential zones.
Policies

  1. Enable a range of light industrial activities to locate in the zone.
  2. Avoid activities that create reverse sensitivity effects and constrain the establishment and operation of light industrial activities.
  3. Limit retail activities in the zone to:
    1. convenience retail that serves the local worker population
    2. trade suppliersservice stationsmotor vehicle sales and garden centres.
    3. Avoid:
      1. office activities, except where they are accessory to the primary activity on-site
      2. residential activities other than for persons whose duties require them to live on-site.
  4. Require development that adjoins public open space or residential zones to maintain the amenity values of those places.
  5. Manage development so that it does not adversely effect the safe and efficient operation of the transport network, particularly for freight.

Note: I put trade suppliers in bold as Councillor Mike Lee thought big box Mitre 10 and Bunnings could spring up in this new zone. Looking at the definition given the answer is a cautious “No” those two retailers could not establish their big box outlets at the Puhinui site. However, Carters and Kings Plant Barn theoretically could as they fit the definition of either trade supplier or garden centre (in a stricter manner).

 

The two presentations given – starting with The Southern Consortium 

 

The Council (Planners) Presentation

 

Notes picked up from both presentations

  • If land is switch to light industrial it is believed up to 8,000 jobs (mainly industrial) could be provided – primarily for Southern Auckland residents
  • State Highway 20B is only road connection and is at capacity currently. NZTA due to upgrade highway by 2020. However, it was noted a $120 million will be needed to connect area to highway. I am going to call that as that seems excessive. Also it might be wise to consider the Botany-Manukau-Airport Sky Train concept I coined up last year (pictures will be below).
  • Large concerns about the physical environment and archaeological sites in the larger and surrounding areas
  • Southern Interceptor (sewerage) needed to be upgraded at a cost of $90 million plus $18 million for new waste-water pump (that should be happening regardless of Puhinui Gateway proceeding or not with Southern Auckland, Wiri and Manukau all due to intensify over the next thirty years
  • Southern Consortium will make sure area is accessible at least by bus (rail would be nice too for me personally)

 

After some quick fire questions and a verbal stoush between Councillors Lee and Quax the vote was put on whether to proceed with the Puhinui Gateway or not – that is a study kicks off first.

The Motions and Votes: Vote on Puhinui Gateway Study Area

a) Approve the presentation of a structure plan for the Puhinui Study  Area (see attachment B) to inform council position on the future of the land use and development frame-work for this area – including the location of the RUB in respect of submissions of the proposed Unitary Plan
Moved unanimously 

b) through amending original B (below) – note that the plan change is subject to investigation through master planning process
Moved unanimously 

B) agree that any decision to initiate a change to the MUL as identified in the Operative Auckland Regional Policy Statement in respect to Private Plan Change 35 (the Puhinui Gateway) to the Auckland Council District Plan (Manukau Section) not occur until the structure plan process is completed, and that the structure plan be reported back to the Committee before end of 2014

Essentially the Structure Plan study will see if it is viable to allow the Puhinui Gateway to go ahead for development or not.