How best to apply the zones given some concerns with intensification
Yesterday morning I gave my evidence to my submission on the Residential Zones of the Unitary Plan to the Hearings Panel. You can read my evidence which was submitted to the Panel below:
Also the Memo of Clarification after the Council got a tad lost with the two High Density zones:
Basically I proposed that the four existing proposed Residential Zones in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (Single House, Mixed Housing Suburban, Mixed Housing Urban, and Terraced Housing and Apartments) be replaced with the following:
- Residential Standard Low Density Zone
- Residential Intensive Low Density Zone
- Residential Classic Medium Density Zone
- Residential Standard Medium Density Zone
- Residential Intensive Medium Density Zone
Now the Residential Intensive Medium Density Zone is the most intensive zone that replaces the Council’s Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone with the height limit shifted from 16 metres to 32 metres.
The two high density zones (Residential Standard High Density Zone (48m – 60m height limit) and Residential Intensive High Density Zone (60m+)) would only be found in the City Centre Zone, my proposed Super Metropolitan Centre Zone and the Metropolitan Centre Zone.
For what the height and density limits are as well as which existing Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan Residential Zone Objective and Policies get retrofitted into my proposed zones check my Primary Evidence above.
The main questions from the Panel on my proposed zones were around the Spatial applications. Meaning where would they go.
I had said a City is a living organism that evolves and changes, it is not some snow globe piece forever frozen in time (the NIMBY argument). Thus if we want to achieve our intensification levels to prevent willy nilly sprawl we need to be more ambitious with our higher density zones and their spatial application. I had also mentioned (seeming the two submitters before cited there were no good examples of medium density intensification in Auckland) that Addison was an example of good (not perfect but good) urban design and spatial application of the my medium density zones.
This would prompt the two main questions (which will be covered again in Topic 081 the Rezoning exercise) balance of the medium and high density zones given I said a City is a living organism and using Addison as a physical example of using the Residential Classic Medium Density Zone (12 metre height limit where most buildings at the moment are eight metres).
Starting with Addison. Currently Addison is mainly single or two storey houses at 8 metres in height. Through the questioning yesterday it was asked by the Panel whether Addison would be suited for the Residential Classic Medium Density Zone which has a 12 metre height limit as a permitted activity and 15 metres as Restricted Discretionary. Essentially if this zone was applied over Addison it would allow Terraced Housing and three storey walk up apartments. There is already two storey terraced housing in Addison so the amenity and character given that a City evolves constantly would also evolve as well. Also with Addison close to rail stations, the 33 Great South Road bus service and the Papakura and Manukau Metropolitan Centres the subdivision while relatively new (since 2005) is a good candidate for the Residential Classic Medium Density Zone.
Because I asked the Panel and Council what are we planning for with the Unitary Plan? Is the Unitary Plan for yesterday, today, 10 years time or the life of the Auckland Plan (30 years)? Essentially I looked at the 30 year time frame which gives better justification for that medium density zone otherwise any shorter and we get stuck with the two low density zones and a cumbersome plan change somewhere down the track.
As for balance I had this from both Judge Kirkpatrick and Panel member Shepard on the spatial application of my proposed zones.
The bulk of that conversation will continue in Topic 081 (Rezoning) next year where I will answer Kirkpatrick’s balance question more extensively (has the Council got the zone balance right to which I gave my preliminary answer yesterday of “no.”_
Member Shepard’s answer was more on the long side given that the Unitary Plan debate is split in two:
- Those who want to keep existing residential areas of Auckland as is often citing heritage or character
- Those seeking more liberal controls that would allow urban Auckland to adapt to the changing environment as the City continues to grow
In short I answered that we can accommodate both sides in protecting genuine character areas of Auckland WHILE still allowing the City to evolve without willy nilly sprawl. To do this two things need to happen:
- The Centres especially the Metropolitan Centres and my two proposed Super Metropolitan Centre areas (Manukau and Albany) need to step up more and take the load with intensification.
- The application of the Residential Intensive Medium Density Zone surrounding the Super and normal Metropolitan Centres with further applications of that zone and the Residential Standard Medium Density Zone around major public transport nodes like bus or rail interchanges.
Given we are becoming more urban but still want to retain parts of suburbia as well if we did the above then we have a pressure relief situation to other areas that might be not deemed suitable for intensification.
Also given the public transport accessibility problem as seen below we still have a long way to go with our evolution towards a more urban environment:
The conversation of the new proposed zones continues next year in Topic 081 – Rezoning
Auckland Council Legal Submission (see p.47)