Debate continues to flare over the zoning on the Auckland Isthmus
I was wondering why my Twitter timeline suddenly lit up this morning over Unitary Plan matters. I know the Centres and Business Zones are about to go to the Hearings but was not expecting the the Residential Zones to blow back up again given the Council’s Primary Evidence is not due until the 8th of September.
However, the residential zones particularly on the Isthmus have entered the spotlight again.
From the NZ Herald;
Sale of $2m house puts spotlight on density push5:00 AM Wednesday Aug 26, 2015 – Bernard Orsman
A large residential site in the heart of Mt Albert could easily contain 15 or 16 well-designed town houses and units instead of three large houses, says a community housing leader.
Peter Jeffries says the sale of a bungalow on a spacious 2364sq m site shows the merits of rethinking density controls to provide greater intensification in the city’s leafy house-and-garden suburbs.
The Herald this month reported resident groups saying large swathes where single houses sit on a single site could be rezoned to allow developments with no density controls.
They said the new position was a “sea change in the planning of Auckland”, while others such as youth lobby group Generation Zero want “density done well” in inner suburbs.
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said there was no intention to reduce the size of the “single house” zone in the Unitary Plan.Mr Jeffries, chief executive of CORT, which provides housing for people on very low incomes, said the single house and other large lot zones in the Unitary Plan make up 45 per cent of Auckland. “The outcome of the single-house zone is that if you are single, on a low to medium income or elderly you are not going to be able to afford to rent or buy a house in the single-house zone.”
He said the house and section at 840 New North Rd was being marketed to developers who could build at most three dwellings on the land under current zoning rules.
Full article and source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11502815
The following was my reply to questions on Twitter about the situation:
The Single House Zone (SHZ) was created in the Unitary Plan (UP) originally to deal with properties that had geo-technical constraints OR were right on the urban fringe. However, since 2013 the SHZ also took in Heritage and the Pre 1944 overlay WHICH the UP panel said to dump in its interim guidance but Council is refusing.
The SHZ is now seen as a NIMBY zone as all geo-technical constraints can be dealt with in the Mixed Housing Suburban, Mixed Housing Urban and Terraced Housing and Apartment Building zones.
I have seen this from @PennyHulseWest “Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said there was no intention to reduce the size of the “single house” zone in the Unitary Plan” and this is my reply back to the Deputy Mayor:
That was an ill-advised comment if you made it as it prejudices the Residential Zones Hearings AND the Rezoning Hearings due to take place.
It is for the Unitary Plan Panel AND the Submitters to decide the amount of SHZ and for the Council to follow unless it wants a High Court Challenge next year. [Note: since added by me] Why? Why would or should Council go against the recommendations of the Hearings Panel after all the evidence they have heard and worked through from 9,400 submitters (including the Council) and their evidence provided (whether in submission or follow-up form). The answer is that you would not unless the Panel has contravened the Resource Management Act (which the Council ends up doing more than the Panel does as irony).
What I can say is that there is a push to have the SHZ stripped out of the Isthmus ENTIRELY!
Given I have warned Bernard and others about prejudicing aspects of the Unitary Plan Hearings process before Council Primary Evidence is out I again do hope that Hulse was misquoted given the rezoning topics don’t start until next year.
Rezoning was the third of my three major topics I submitted on for the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. In short I had Manukau City Centre rezoned to accommodate the Super Metropolitan Centre while I also had the entire Auckland Isthmus rezoned to the equivalent of at least the Mixed Housing Suburban or Urban Zones. Meaning no Single House Zoning across any part of the Isthmus as both geo-technical constraints can be handled in the higher density zones. As for Heritage and genuine heritage at that it can be dealt with possibly a special zone and a subsequent Plan Change once the Unitary Plan goes live next year. That way a full and frank assessment can be done in the full public arena then and there rather than have it get lost in the Unitary Plan processes. Yes I know the time it takes for Plan Changes (a big reason for the push of the Super Metropolitan Centre) but they are the proper places to work them through.
In the meantime lets see what the Primary Evidence the Council gives on the Residential Zones when it comes out on the 8th of September.