Property Rights and the Unitary Plan

Cities are Organic and Constantly Evolving Organisms


Papakura North with Porchester Road-Crossgrove/Mill Roads Future Urban Zone
Papakura North with Porchester Road-Crossgrove/Mill Roads Future Urban Zone

With the Unitary Plan Hearings under way it is quite interesting although somewhat mundane going through the Hearing Panel’s Submission Points all set out nicely in Excel tables. An example (that I will be using) can be seen here for the upcoming Regional Policy Statement – Urban Growth section of the Unitary Plan hearings: .

Of particular attention I am going to call out Auckland 2040 lobby group who in their Unitary Plan submissions, have this constant underlying theme:

1473-29 Auckland 2040 Incorporated RPS Urban growth B2.2 A quality built environment Add new policy recognising the limitations to further development posed by existing developed residential areas and the desirability of restraining development types to those that will fit in with the existing residential character of those areas. Yes Design and quality built environment Mediation 210 1 9


restraining development types to those that will fit in with the existing residential character of those areas.”

Code for NIMBYism to prevent the freer market providing the housing topologies needed within the respective zone provided in the Unitary Plan. In other words put the area into a snowglobe and not allow the area to evolve and adapt to the changing environments a City experiences. Cities are organic creatures that need to adapt and evolve with the changing environment otherwise they stagnate and die. Furthermore how do you define something as subjective as “fit in with the existing residential character” when what I think of character might be light years apart from my neighbour.

All Auckland 2040 would do with that NIMBY clause is cause fights in the environmental court over a subjective clause that could even be non permissible under Section 6 (Consenting Processes) of the current Resource Management Act AND the proposed RMA reforms which looks at Section 6 and making consenting easier. To make consenting easier you would need to gut the development controls (for which Auckland 2040 is trying to insert with their NIMBY clause) that would trigger consents in the first place. Auckland 2040’s proposed clause would make consenting a heck of a load harder as there would be appeals based on peoples’ difference to what existing (and future) residential character is. I don’t quite think the ratepayer will be amused with costs from the Planners being constantly hung up in the Environment Court because of this.


In terms of Property Rights I bring your attention to this:

Property rights and neighbourhood character

 Friday, October 3, 2014
A real estate parable.Suppose that, when we bought our house in Khandallah, the realtor told us about a particularly nice feature of our house. A few doors down lived a lovely grandmotherly type who adored young children. She was in her early 50s, independently wealthy with few time commitments, and loved nothing more than helping out with young children. We went to meet her before deciding on buying the house, and she was just as good as the realtor advertised. We bought the house entirely because she would be our neighbour. In fact, we paid a premium for our house because of it.

Sadly, she was hit by a bus downtown one weekend and her house was then on the market.
An essential part of the neighbourhood character was that this house was occupied by a woman with these characteristics. Since we bought the house with the expectation that that character would be maintained for at least another 20 years, we consequently have a property right in who lives in that house. Only a grandmotherly type who will help us take care of our kids is allowed to buy that house; anything else would fundamentally change the character of the neighbourhood and violate the expectations we had when we bought our house in that neighbourhood.
Seems a pretty ridiculous basis for a property right, doesn’t it?
So why might anybody think they have a property right in whether the neighbour a few doors down turn his property into a set of townhouses?
Source and full article:
Auckland 2040’s NIMBY clause which is subjective not objective as the RMA often looks at technically impinges on others property rights especially if it can be argued that a three storey terraced housing complex ADDS to the character of the existing residential area.
Let’s hope the Hearing Panel strikes down Auckland 2040’s clause to save Auckland time, money, courts, and allow the City to organically evolve!