Fact Check: #UnitaryPlan Residential Zones

Remember what Council submits can be equally rejected


Well the Auckland 2040 meeting was held last night in East Auckland and I seriously wonder what they are trying to achieve apart from annoying both the City and Government at the exact same time.

Reading this piece from Radio NZ does not help submitters one little bit when such misinformed judgements are given:

Auckland homeowners: ‘We feel so entirely duped by the council’

Updated about 1 hour ago – Alex Ashton, in Auckland – alex.ashton@radionz.co.nz

Hundreds of Aucklanders, worried about plans to build taller houses on smaller sections, made their feelings known in a meeting in Kohimarama last night.

About 700 people turned up to a meeting in Kohimarama last night, to learn about plans which let people build taller houses on smaller sections.

The changes fall under the city’s Unitary Plan – its blueprint for the next 30 years.

It was standing room only at last night’s meeting, with the first few hundred chairs filling fast, and hundreds more having to sit in the stands above.

Among them were banker Ben Grimer and nurse Anna Macky, who bought their Panmure home last May.

They moved from London and poured their life savings into the house.

But late last year Auckland Council announced changes to its initial plan – to get more infill housing into the city.

Mr Grimer and Ms Macky said those changes meant more of their neighbourhood would be set aside for three-storey houses.

“This means that we’ll have a three- to four-storey apartment building directly behind our house, on our boundary – and we’ve got the driveway next to our house which will be 20, 30 cars coming against our house,” said Ms Macky.

Mr Grimer said they had a 2-year-old girl and wanted to have more children.

“It’s not what we wanted. We feel so entirely duped by the council.”

The updated Unitary Plan bumped the amount of medium density land – where three-storey buildings could go – from 11 percent to 17 percent.

Most of the increases were in central areas, where the public transport could cope with more people.

Mr Grimer and Ms Macky said they were now tossing up whether to sell.

“We wanted a backyard for our children to play in, and that’s now going to be towered over by an apartment building,” said Ms Macky.

The meeting was run by eastern suburb community boards who said it was their areas which would see the most change.

Mission Bay Kohimarama Residents’ Association chair Don Stock said under the new zoning proposal, most of the east would be deemed ‘mixed housing urban’.

“Which is three-storey – and as three-storey, you end up having to put in lifts, and you end up with apartment blocks and people living above each other,” he said.

“That will be the predominant nature of these suburbs in the long term.”

Not all at the meeting were against the changes.


Full article: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/regional/296138/owners-feel-‘duped’-over-housing-plans


Where to start

I am going to take it that Ms Macky and Mr Grimer’s property is on Mixed Housing Urban land that is not too far from the Panmure Town Centre and transport interchange. The MHU allows for three storey housing and some terraced housing BUT no apartments. Apartments are restricted to the Business Zones and the residential Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone of the Unitary Plan. As for right on the boundary that will not be possible under the proposed rules for the Mixed Housing Urban Zone.

There is no duping by the Council and I wonder if the couple did their homework on urban trends if you live near a large Town Centre or a major transport interchange. That being the area is going to intensify through time owing to desirability to be close to those amenities offered by the interchange and Town Centre. If they are looking to sell they should be able to pocket a nice capital gain given where their house sits and be able to move out to the fringes in the west or south (and face a long commute no doubt into their employment locations).

Also three storey buildings do not require lifts under the Building Code either, lifts don’t start kicking in until you hit four storeys.


At the end of the day if you are in close proximity to a Town or Metropolitan Centre, a rail station or major transport interchange there will be intensification pressures as more people seek those areas out for their desirability. Council does though need to make sure adequate green spaces are available for informal recreation for both residents and visitors alike.


16.1 Chapter B2.1 of the RPS seeks to enable higher residential densities in neighbourhoods within moderate walking distances from the city centre, metropolitan, town and local centres; or the rapid and frequent service network and facilities. As outlined in paragraph 18.3, the objectives and policies for the residential zones seek to give effect to the RPS through requiring more intensive zones (i.e. THAB and MHU) to be located within close proximity to local, town and metropolitan centres, and in areas with good accessibility to public transport.

16.2 The definition of “moderate walking distance” is discussed in the evidence of Ms Trenouth on behalf of Council for Topic 013.34 She did not support requests to define “moderate walking distance” within the PAUP. It was her view that: “this needs to be considered on a case by case basis with consideration of the walking environment, accessibility and topography”.35

16.3 The zoning principles matrix indicates that the THAB zone should be applied within 250m of centres, the rapid and frequent service network and large community facilities or open space facilities to give effect to the RPS, and that the MHU zone should be applied within 250m of the THAB zone. This is the guidance used as the basis for establishing a “moderate walkable distance” for the purpose of responding to zoning submissions on the PAUP. I acknowledge that in some circumstances depending on the walking environment, accessibility and topography, it may be appropriate to apply a THAB or MHU zone at a greater distance from a centre and the rapid and frequent service network to give effect to the RPS. Likewise, depending on the circumstances it
may be warranted to apply THAB and MHU zones at a lesser distance from a centre, the frequent transport network or the rapid transit network to give effect to the RPS. The issue of moderate walking distance is discussed in further detail in the joint statement of evidence of Mr Cribbens, Mr Wrenn and Mr Winter for Topics 080 and 081.


That came from: STATEMENT OF PRIMARY EVIDENCE OF JOHN MICHAEL DUGUID – ON BEHALF OF AUCKLAND COUNCIL (ZONING). 3 DECEMBER 2015 which can be found over at Topic 081 and 080 evidence at the Unitary Plan Hearings Panel site.



Enjoying the views out of Level 26 of the Council tower Oh and what can I scheme for the Orakei Ward
Enjoying the views out of Level 26 of the Council tower
Oh and what can I scheme for the Orakei Ward


Below are some fact sheets on the four main residential zones that Council is taking to the Panel as evidence. As Council is a submitter like I am we have to make our case before the Panel chaired by Judge Kirkpatrick. The Panel is free to adopt or reject our evidence including Council evidence when making their recommendations in July.


Single House Zone


Mixed Housing Suburban Zone


Mixed Housing Urban Zone


Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone


I am also going to place my evidence I gave to the Panel on the Centres Zones as it contains material on the Regional Policy Statement Urban Growth and how evidence to the Panel must fit around that RPS:


The RPS Commentary itself:


Remembering the final objects and policies of the zones and the spatial extent of the individual zones must comply with the Regional Policy Statement.


As for a National Policy Statement I leave you with this link for your reference: NZILA submission on a National Policy Statement on Urban Development


So there is no duping and no secret discussions. What Council has put forward is required by the Panel and can be supported or refuted by the submitters. What the Panel decides is up to them as nothing is final!


Unitec and surround area Source: Google Maps Another place Government could intervene to speed up houses getting built
Unitec and surround area
Source: Google Maps
Another place Government could intervene to speed up houses getting built


2 thoughts on “Fact Check: #UnitaryPlan Residential Zones

  1. Really MHU doesn’t allow three story apartments, well that’s depressing. This is a joke MHU should allow up to 5 story apartments/townhouses, MHS should allow up to three story apartments/townhouses. Single House Zone should be be abolished.

    1. I hear what you are saying and wrote to similar extents in my submission and evidence pieces.

      In the end the Panel and Council really just want the Single House Zone there for those with either the flooding or historic overlays over them which I find reasonable.

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