Is Auckland Awake in Regards to the Unitary Plan?

Do we need some help when the Independent Hearings Panel gets under-way?

 

 

The M-Central multi-role Tower nearing completion  Tower to hold apartments, food court, retail and maybe some office space
The M-Central multi-role Tower nearing completion
Tower to hold apartments, food court, retail and maybe some office space

The future of such complexes will be determined by the Unitary Plan

 

Here we go again as with the Unitary Plan debates as the hearings draw closer (due to start later this year).

I picked up this weekend Aucklander piece from our resident journalist Bernard Orsman:

Groups mobilise to stop developers going higher

Fears that developers are gaining the upper hand for higher density housing in suburban Auckland are causing a community-group backlash. 

A public meeting has been called today in Takapuna to fight alleged increases in the height limits for buildings on Lake Rd. This followed a meeting on Monday of several community groups opposed to a seven-storey apartment building in a four-storey zone on Great North Rd in Grey Lynn.

Richard Burton, who established Auckland 2040 last year in response to high-density plans in the council’s draft Unitary Plan, says Aucklanders need to wake up to what is happening.

After researching submissions from developers to the proposed Unitary Plan, Mr Burton said it was scary what they are asking for.

“Developers are seeking the total relaxation of residential controls, allowing far higher, more intensive development than was even contemplated under the first draft of the Unitary Plan,” he said.
….
Housing New Zealand and youth lobby group Generation Zero are others pushing for greater intensification than what councillors settled for last September in response to a public backlash. Generation Zero wants Auckland to achieve a low carbon urban form that is attractive to young people with dense neighbourhoods close to the city providing a variety of activities and attractions.

Mr Burton believes the hearings stage of the Unitary Plan is starting with a stacked deck. “Joe Bloggs public doesn’t have a clue and absolutely no idea what is going on,” he said.

…..

Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/aucklander/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503378&objectid=11283354

 

Two points from the article:

Point One: Richard Burton, who established Auckland 2040 last year in response to high-density plans in the council’s draft Unitary Plan, says Aucklanders need to wake up to what is happening.

Yes Richard we do need to wake up indeed. Wake up that we are not living in the 1960’s any more and we can not continue with that style of planning which is driving our never-ending sprawl and unaffordable house prices. Aucklanders bit by bit are waking up that we need to be a 21st Century and that with some sprawl we get some intensification as well. This intensification also means medium rise blocks in our Town Centres and if demand warrants it high rise towers in nine of ten of our Metropolitan Centres plus the City Centre itself. Allow liberalisation and the freer market to providing the housing choice we want, not what you would impose on us.

 

Point Two: Mr Burton believes the hearings stage of the Unitary Plan is starting with a stacked deck. “Joe Bloggs public doesn’t have a clue and absolutely no idea what is going on,” he said

9000 submissions would say otherwise. While we are a city of 1.5 million people, 9,000 submissions on such a large document was a feat in itself. It as well as social media channels showed that people are awake and do care about their City. Of course the NIMBY’s (see https://voakl.net/2014/03/15/nimbys/ on what NIMBY’s are (hint it is point 3) got going but we see this and them eventually dismantled the world over. Their dismantling will become even more prevalent as Auckland slowly switches into this: The death of planning expertise http://sumo.ly/ScG . That is communities becoming more engaged and able to topple over the NIMBY’s as the majority drown out the vocal super minority. Programs like Popularise (see: https://popularise.com/home ) could have their benefits as well in Council-Developer-Community engagement (note to Council, please look at Popularise and see if it can work here).

As for the Hearings being stacked? I think the Hearings Panel might be offended at that as they work through the Unitary Plan in benefit to ALL submitters regardless of a submitter’s expertise on such things.

That said I do have some compulsory reading for those planning to be taking part in the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel. The Hearing Panel have done a PDF dump on what to expect at the Hearings. You can go here: http://www.aupihp.govt.nz/procedures/ I urge you to read the files so that you are forearmed before the Hearings. The Hearings Panel will release more information in due time.

I might flick a email off to the Hearings Panel to see if there will be further support in helping non seasoned submitters walk through the Hearings so that they don’t get err frightened by the formal affair.

 

However, again Auckland is awake and the Unitary Plan Hearings is not stacked against the submitters owing to lack of expertise. Doing your homework prior will assist greatly.

More on the Hearings later in the week.

 

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