East West Link also presenting issues
The Planning Committee meetings for the first time on Tuesday at Town Hall for what is a heavy agenda. The Planning Committee chaired by Councillor Chris Darby from the North Shore is the successor committee to former Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse’s Auckland Development Committee which oversaw the Unitary Plan and inception of Panuku Development Auckland. Whether the Planning Committee under Darby or the new Community and Environment Committee under Hulse will be the most powerful of the Committees I have discussed before.
However, we have had our first hit out trying to answer that question in the Governing Body as picked up by former insiders:
The establishment of committees and appointment of chairs and other roles went largely as had been planned. The angst around councillors on the AT board (as discussed earlier) was put off for a week. There was some initial argy bargy over what issues should be dealt with by the new Environment and Community Committee – which continues to bubble away on the 26th and 27th floors.
That issue is going to need to be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later by both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. If pictures were to tell a story then this one of the Governing Body gives a thesis worth of information right off the bat:
Let’s take a look at the agenda which can be seen here.
Starting with the Unitary Plan
Auckland Unitary Plan – Update on Appeals and Delegations for Urgent Decisions
File No.: CP2016/23304
- The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the appeals and judicial review proceedings lodged against the council’s decisions on the Auckland Unitary Plan, and to seek a new delegation for any urgent decisions that may be required from 29 November 2016 onwards.
- At its first meeting of the new term of Auckland Council, the Governing body resolved:
“That the Governing Body:
- a) delegate to Cr C Darby, Cr A Filipaina, Cr P Hulse, Cr D Lee and Cr M Lee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board, for the period between 1 November and the first meeting of the Planning Committee, the authority to make urgent decisions in respect of any appeal or judicial review proceedings relating to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and set a quorum of four members required to make decisions”.
- As the above delegation expires at the first meeting of the Planning Committee, a new delegation is required for 29 November onwards. It is recommended that the delegation from the Governing Body meeting continues.
- The Auckland Unitary Plan became ‘operative in part’ on 15 November 2016. This means that those parts of the Auckland Unitary Plan that are not subject to appeals (both Environment Court and High Court) are now operative, and the corresponding parts of the legacy Regional Plan or District Plan fall away.
- The High Court has set aside hearing dates in November, December and February to deal with priority matters.
- The Environment Court appeals have been grouped according to topic, and a range management approaches have been identified for each group. The approaches include placing the appeals on hold pending the resolution of judicial reviews or High Court appeals, off line discussions between the parties, Environment Court assisted mediation and a preliminary hearing(s) to address jurisdiction issues.
That the Planning Committee:
a) delegate to Cr C Darby, Cr A Filipaina, Cr P Hulse, Cr D Lee and Cr M Lee and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board, the authority to make urgent decisions in respect of any current appeal or judicial review proceedings relating to the Auckland Unitary Plan at mediation sessions and hearings held by the High Court and Environment Court. At least four members are required to be in agreement for an urgent decision to be made.
b) delegate to the General Manager Plans and Places, the authority to confirm the council’s position in respect of technical matters (as opposed to policy matters) at mediation sessions and at the hearings in respect of any current appeal or judicial review proceedings relating to the Auckland Unitary Plan.
Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part)
- The Auckland Unitary Plan reached a major milestone on 15 November 2016 when it became ‘operative in part’. This means that those parts of the Auckland Unitary Plan that are not subject to appeals (both High Court and Environment Court) are now operative and the corresponding parts of the legacy Regional Plan or District Plan fall away. The Auckland Unitary Plan text and maps (on the council website) are both annotated to show which parts are subject to appeal.
- 109 appeals have been lodged against the council’s decisions on the Auckland Unitary Plan. 67 appeals have been lodged with the Environment Court and 42 have been lodged with the High Court (raising questions of law). In addition, eight judicial review applications have been filed in the High Court. A full list and copies of the appeals/judicial reviews are available on the council website.
- The majority of the appeals challenge site-specific matters or specific provisions within the Auckland Unitary Plan. Most of the Regional Policy Statement chapter of the Auckland Unitary Plan, the Auckland–wide rules, the majority of the overlays, and the majority of the objectives, policies and rules for the various zones (including open space, rural, business and Special Purpose zones) are now operative.
- The parts of the Auckland Unitary Plan that are subject to appeal and which could not be made operative include:
- discrete objectives and policies in the Regional Policy Statement (associated with urban growth and the Rural Urban Boundary);
- the Regional Plan Coastal;
- site specific rules for Significant Ecological Areas, Outstanding Natural Landscapes and the National Grid Corridor;
- certain subdivision provisions for the rural zones and the Waitakere Ranges Area;
- provisions relating to air quality standards;
- the threshold for when resource consent is required in the Mixed Housing Suburban and Mixed Housing Urban zones;
- certain carparking standards relating to the Metropolitan Centre, Town Centre, Local Centre, Mixed Use, Terrace Housing and Apartment Building zones;
- and controls relating to retirement villages.
- In relation to zoning, while many of the appeals are site-specific, a small number of appeals are far broader and impact development across a much wider area. This includes the joint appeal by Auckland 2040 and the Character Coalition, which challenges the council’s decision to accept the rezoning of certain properties that were notified as being in the Single House or Mixed Housing Suburban zone. The Auckland 2040 and Character Coalition appeal also challenges the Panel’s approach to determining the scope of submissions made on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
- The High Court appeals have been grouped into three categories:
- Category 1 – appeals benefitting from settlement discussions
- Category 2 – scope and/or zoning changes
- Category 3 – issue-specific appeals.
- For the Category 2 proceedings, the High Court has set aside 5 days for the hearing of the priority fixtures dealing with scope, commencing 28 November 2016. The High Court has also set aside 10 days to resolve the Category 3 matters commencing 13 February 2017. Other High Court appeals have been adjourned to a case management conference in December 2016, to enable the parties to discuss possible early resolution of those matters.
- The Environment Court appeals have been grouped according to topic (with like appeals grouped together). Some of the Environment Court appeals have corresponding High Court appeals or judicial reviews. The approach applied to the Environment Court appeals varies and includes:
- placing the appeal on hold pending resolution of judicial reviews and/or High Court appeals;
- direct discussions between the parties;
- Environment Court-assisted mediation commencing in early 2017; or
- a preliminary hearing addressing jurisdiction.
For the most part the main provisions of the Unitary Plan are operative. The Auckland 2040 and Character Coalition appeal affects the Isthmus and North Shore more than the South so the South will not be impeded from that appeal as such. What the South could be impeded in development is two of the big retailers (Scentre-Westfield is not one of them last I checked) appealing the Minimum Parking Ratios to new developments in the Centres (that also has affected the Terraced Housing and Apartment Zone).
Given Transform Manukau, the large amount of THAB development in the South, and our smaller Centres starting regeneration as the population booms the parking appeal will cause uncertainty for the duration of the said appeal.
Minimum Parking Ratios are not needed in the Metropolitan Centres (nor the THAB residential zone) and do have a tendency to skewer trade competition. Small Format Retail will often not have the financials to build and maintain a minimum set of parking spaces (can get to $50,000 a space depending on land values) compared to a large retailer. Minimum Parking Ratios also hurt smaller retailers when land values are high as those retailers are not able to allocate the land to what they see best fit (retail space) especially in a Metropolitan Centre that will often be connected to the Rapid Transit Network (bus or rail) – especially a Metropolitan Centre like Manukau. So will be very interesting to see where that appeal goes.
Kiwi Rail – what are you doing?
Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan – Appeal of KiwiRail Designation 6303 for the Avondale to Southdown Railway Line
File No.: CP2016/23303
- To seek approval from the Planning Committee to lodge an Environment Court appeal against the decision by KiwiRail Holdings Limited (KiwiRail) to reject (in part) the council’s recommendations on Designation 6303 in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. Designation 6303 relates to the Avondale to Southdown Railway Line.
- KiwiRail Designation 6303 relates to the Avondale to Southdown Railway Line. Designation 6303 was considered as part of the hearings on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. In relation to Designation 6303, the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel (the Panel) recommended:
- mapping changes sought by KiwiRail to increase the extent of the designation; and
- the deletion of four existing conditions and imposition of nine new conditions on the designation to better manage the adverse effects of the railway line.
The council accepted the Panel’s recommendations.
- KiwiRail has recently advised the council of its decision on Designation 6303. KiwiRail’s decision:
- accepted the mapping changes to increase the extent of the designation; and
- rejected the council’s recommendation (in part) by reinstating the four original conditions and deleting the nine new conditions.
- After discussing the matter with representatives from Auckland Transport, council staff are concerned that KiwiRail’s replacement conditions do not adequately address the potential adverse effects of the proposed railway line on the safety of the road and rail network, particularly as Designation 6303 has been extended to cover 17 roads along the alignment (including seven arterial roads).
- An appeal against the decision by KiwiRail would enable the council to discuss these concerns with KiwiRail, and either reach an agreement in respect of the conditions, or present its case at a hearing before the Environment Court.
That the Planning Committee:
a) approve the lodgement of an Environment Court appeal against the decision by KiwiRail Holdings Limited to reject (in part) the council’s recommendations on Designation 6303 (Avondale to Southdown Railway Line) in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
b) delegate to the General Manager Plans and Places the authority to reach an agreement with KiwiRail Holdings Limited in respect of the appeal, or if necessary, proceed to a hearing before the Environment Court.
- In August 2016, the council decided to accept the recommendations of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel in respect of the designations of requiring authorities other than the council, which included KiwiRail Designation 6303 for the Avondale to Southdown Railway Line. This railway line has not yet been constructed.
- The council’s recommendations on Designation 6303:
- accepted mapping changes sought by KiwiRail to increase the extent of the designation; and
- deleted four existing conditions and imposed nine new conditions on the designation to better manage the adverse effects of the proposed railway line.
- The nine new conditions addressed:
- construction effects on neighbouring properties;
- traffic effects including safety, congestion and access to the public road network;
- noise and vibration effects on neighbouring properties;
- landscaping effects and the interface with neighbouring properties; and
- historic heritage effects.
- The KiwiRail decision, which was recently received by the council:
- accepted the mapping changes to increase the extent of the designation;
- made additional mapping changes to the extent of the designation;
- rejected the nine new conditions recommended by the council to manage the adverse effects of the railway line; and
- reinstated the four original conditions of the designation.
- Having discussed the matter with representatives from Auckland Transport, council staff are concerned that the four conditions reinstated by KiwiRail do not adequately address the potential adverse effects of the railway line.
- A key concern in this respect is KiwiRail’s decision to reject condition 8, which requires:
“Detailed arrangements to ensure that vehicle access along New North Road, Richardson Road, May Road, Dominion Road, Hayr Road, Hillsborough Road, Queenstown Road, Pleasant Street, Symonds Street, Forbes Street, Norman Hill Road, Quadrant Road, Hill Street, Selwyn Street, Onehunga Mall, Galway Street, Spring Street, Victoria Street and Alfred Street will be maintained when construction is completed. This should include arrangements, such as grade separation, to ensure safety wherever the line crosses any public street.”
- To address these concerns, council staff recommend lodging an Environment Court appeal against KiwiRail’s decision to reject (in part) the council’s recommendation on Designation 6303. If approved by the Planning Committee, the next steps would be for council staff to:
- lodge an appeal with the Environment Court; and
- engage with KiwiRail and Auckland Transport staff to try and resolve the appeal.
If an agreement cannot be reached, then a hearing would be required before the Environment Court.
Interesting and might also explain a bit of reluctance from Government with Light Rail from Dominion Road to the Airport as LRT would take place of any future heavy rail that runs down the designation for that heavy rail line alongside State Highway 20.
East West Link
East West Link Project – political reference group and delegations
File No.: CP2016/22662
- To establish a political reference group to consider and approve an Auckland Council submission to a Board of Inquiry on the New Zealand Transport Agency’s East West Link project.
- The New Zealand Transport Agency (the Agency) has prepared notices of requirement and resource consent applications (applications) to protect and construct a major road connecting State Highway 1 at Mt Wellington and State Highway 20 at Onehunga. The project is named the East West Link, as it runs east to west between the two state highways.
- The Agency intends to lodge the applications for the project with the Environmental Protection Authority in early December 2016.
- The Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation will jointly make a decision on the national significance of the project and whether a Board of Inquiry is selected to make a decision on the project. This is expected in December 2016. Depending on the Ministers’ decision, the applications could be notified in late January/February 2017, with a hearing in mid-2017.
- The project has environmental and community effects, impacts on council’s assets and impacts on transport systems and strategic outcomes identified in various council plans including the Auckland Plan and Local Board Area Plans.
- It is recommended that the council makes a submission on the project.
- Establishing an East West Link Political Reference Group comprising the Chair of the Planning Committee, the Ward Councillor for Maungakiekie- Tāmaki, two members of Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board, the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Chair, and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board to consider and approve an Auckland Council submission on the applications will:
- facilitate development of a council submission representing shared governance views from the most directly affected council wards and local boards and from the Independent Māori Statutory Board,
- enable preparation and finalisation of the submission within the statutory 20 working day submission period, taking into account the summer holiday shut down period and the Planning Committee meeting schedule.
That the Planning Committee:
a) agree to make a submission to the notices of requirement and resource consent application by the New Zealand Transport Agency for the East West Link.
b) establish an East West Link Political Reference Group comprising the Chair of the Planning Committee, the Ward Councillor for Maungakiekie- Tāmaki, the Chairs for Maungakiekie –Tāmaki and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Boards, a second member of Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board and a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board.
c) delegate authority to the East West Link Political Reference Group to work with the Manager Central and South Planning to prepare, approve and lodge a submission to the notice of requirement and resource consent applications by New Zealand Transport Agency for the East West Link project.
- The East West Link is a new transport link on the north side of the Māngere Inlet continuing the greater Western Ring Route between State Highway 1 at Mt Wellington, and State Highway 20 at Onehunga. Its features include a new four-lane road along the foreshore, on-ramps, reclamations and connections to key local roads. The widening works on State Highway 1 at Princes Street in Ōtāhuhu and a new shared path bridge over State Highway 1 at Panama Road are part of the project and a broad programme of East West connections. It also includes new walking and cycling routes between Māngere Bridge, Onehunga town centre and towards Sylvia Park and around part of the Māngere Inlet. East West Link is intended to reduce travel times in the area for local businesses, truck operators and others to get in and out of Onehunga-Penrose and Neilson Street. It is intended to be an arterial road (incorporating traffic lights and intersections) and not a motorway.
- The East West Link entails a major programme of new infrastructure aimed at improving freight efficiency, commuter travel, walking, cycling and public transport in the area. It seeks to reduce the amount of traffic on local roads by separating through traffic from local traffic. It also addresses the challenging issue of the impact of industrial and manufacturing activities and urban stormwater on the Māngere Inlet by creating wetlands to capture and treat stormwater runoff from the Onehunga and One Tree Hill water catchment (refer to the map at Attachment A – East West Link Key Design Features).
- The Onehunga-Penrose-Mt Wellington business and logistics hub is often described as the engine room of manufacturing and industry in New Zealand (Auckland Plan, pages 153 and 325). The area’s accessibility to air and sea ports, the state highways and railway network is vital to how this area functions in the future. The project also has significant implications for the area’s communities and environment and for a range of projects relating to Onehunga, the Onehunga Wharf, Māngere Inlet and local board plans (refer to Attachment B – East West Link emerging issues).
- In recognising the East West Link as a key transport project, the Auckland Plan describes the project as: “a strategic transport corridor that will connect the Western Ring Route (State Highway 20) atOnehunga and the Southern Motorway (State Highway 1), providing improved access to the rail freight hub at Metroport and major employment areas, such as East Tāmaki. This link will address the high traffic and freight movements on congested local roads, provide efficient freight movements between State Highway 20 and State Highway 1, and between industrial areas and the port and airport. This link will also enable east-west improvements for public transport, walking and cycling.” (Auckland Plan page 325, Box 13.3)
Auckland Council involvement in East West Link
- The Agency has been engaging with Auckland Council for several years including local boards, Panuku Development Auckland (Panuku), other Council Controlled Organisations, social and network infrastructure providers, planning and regulatory staff, and technical experts (refer to the Local Board Views section below for details). The focus has been to balance the various land use, environmental, and economic outcomes to achieve a high quality urban form.
- On 6 July 2016, the Council’s Auckland Development Committee agreed that the East West Link project is a proposal of national significance, that it should be referred to a Board of Inquiry, and that Auckland Council has the capacity to process the matter, if required. It also delegated authority to prepare a list of potential Board of Inquiry members, which was sent to the Minister for the Environment and the Minister of Conservation.
- The Agency engaged with council staff and local boards on six different alignment options in October 2014 and feedback was provided. Feedback on proposed connections into and out of Onehunga-Penrose and public transport and cycling options between Māngere, Ōtāhuhu and Sylvia Park was provided in June 2015. The Agency provided copies of preliminary draft technical assessment reports and plans for their preferred alignment and project proposals in September 2016 and council staff provided feedback on 18 October 2016.
Board of Inquiry process
- The Agency intends to lodge notices of requirement and a number of applications for resource consent that identify the corridor and works in detail and will include an Assessment of Effects on the Environment. It intends to protect and construct the corridor for the East West Link through the designation and to obtain a range of land use, discharge and coastal resource consents under the Resource Management Act 1991. Part 6AA ‘Proposals of national significance’ of the Resource Management Act allows these matters to be processed by the Environmental Protection Authority.
- There are a number of differences with the Board of Inquiry process from the usual process for a notice of requirement and resource consent combined hearing led by the council which include the following features:
- the Environmental Protection Authority notifies and assesses the applications and council is a submitter and not the regulator
- appeals are limited to points of law which reduces the risks of delays and uncertainty.
- The council has a statutory role to assist the Environmental Protection Agency with the Board of Inquiry with pre-lodgement checks and a Key Issues Report. Like any other affected organisation or individual, council can make a submission on the proposal. There must be clear separation between these statutory and submitter roles. It is this second role that is the subject of this report.
- Options for council’s submission have different resource implications and include making detailed or general comments which could:
- oppose the proposal and seek to have it withdrawn
- support the proposal and seek appropriate outcomes and conditions to mitigate effects
- support the proposal with no additional requests.
- It is recommended that the council makes a detailed submission because of the importance of the project for the region and local economy and the potential for effects on local communities, the environment and other projects in the area including:
- council assets (stormwater and leachate collection systems and roading assets)
- council land (14 open space sites including Gloucester Park, Waikaraka Park and Cemetery, and Ann’s Creek Esplanade Reserve)
- new council and community assets such as roading assets, recreation and cycling paths, boardwalks, lighting, artwork and information signage
- effects on natural features, ecological areas and heritage sites protected in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan and reclamation works within the coastal marine area.
- By making a detailed submission on the project, council will be privy to any changes that evolve during the Board of Inquiry, and be able to participate in discussions over detailed technical matters.
Delegated authority options
- Creating a political reference group will greatly benefit the development and agreement of a submission within the 20 working day submission period which is likely to fall between late- January and mid-March 2017. The Planning Committee is scheduled to meet on 7 February and 7 March 2017, which will not allow for careful development and decisions on a Whole of Council submission in the timeframe.
- Alternatives to the recommendations include expanding or reducing the size of the political reference group, and having the Planning Committee consider and approve a council submission.
Local board views and implications
- The project is important to the region but has particular implications for the industrial areas of Onehunga, Penrose and Mount Wellington, and is relevant to a range of projects within these Local Board areas including: Panuku’s Onehunga Transformation Project, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Area Plan 2013, Onehunga Port, and the Ōtāhuhu – Middlemore Spatial Priority Area project.
- Feedback from Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board in July 2016 on the project recognised the need to improve road, walking, cycling and public transport connections in the area and highlighted the 2014-17Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board Plan statements about the importance of the area’s business economy, the need for infrastructure projects to enable freight movements, the need to reduce heavy traffic in residential areas, the need to engage with communities, stakeholders and iwi in a robust and understandable way, and the need to clearly identify a suite of mitigation initiatives. It also made detailed comments on Hopua Crater, Gloucester Park, stormwater treatment, historic heritage, walking and cycling routes, rail to the airport, Ann’s Creek and Riverside (Panama Road).
- Feedback from Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board in July 2016 identified the potential impacts on business areas at Highbrook and Auckland Airport and the need for integration with greenways and other projects in the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu area. It also discussed protecting future rail connections and the importance of meaningful and timely engagement. Pedestrian safety in relation to Princess Street Bridge and congestion at Highbrook Interchange were also discussed.
- Maungakiekie-Tāmaki and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board representatives have been briefed on the current status of the East West Link project, the role of council in the Board of Inquiry and the anticipated timeframes.
- It is recommended that the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki and Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board chairs (or the chairs’ nominees) participate in the Political Reference Group and ensure local board views are considered in any submission by the council. Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board has requested to have two members on the Political Reference Group (see Recommendation/s for details).
Māori impact statement
- The relationship of mana whenua with Onehunga, Manukau Harbour, Māngere Inlet, volcanoes, creeks and other places of significance is acknowledged. The Agency has engaged with mana whenua on the development of options and details for the project over several years. The following iwi have declared an interest in the project as mana whenua:
- Te Akitai Waiohua
- Ngāti Te Ata Waiohua
- Ngāti Paoa
- Ngāti Maru Rūnanga
- Te Kawerau a Maki
- Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki
- Ngāti Whatua Ōrākei
- Ngāti Whatua
- Te Ahi Waru
- Ngāti Tamaoho
- Panuku and Auckland Council staff have met with a Kaitiaki Project Working Group for East West Link and attended a mana whenua governance hui for East West Link in October 2016 to discuss respective roles of the council and mana whenua in the Board of Inquiry process, the relationship of East West Link to other council and Panuku projects and to explore opportunities for council/ Panuku and mana whenua to work together.
- Council staff will seek to meet with mana whenua representatives once the project is lodged, to understand issues.
- It is recommended that the Political Reference Group includes a member of the Independent Māori Statutory Board. This, together with future planned engagement with mana whenua, will ensure Māori perspectives are considered during the preparation of a council submission.
- Council staff will advise on and prepare any submission and will workshop with the Political Reference Group. The costs of this work will come from existing budgets.
|A⇩||Attachment A – East West Link proposed alignment||25|
|B⇩||Attachment B – East West Link emerging issues||27|
From what I have heard thanks to NZTA and them picking Option F for the East West Link Panuku are not very interested in Transform Onehunga with the that expressway effectively cutting off the Onehunga Port (a key plank of Transform Onehunga).
It seems Council and others are trying to salvage the project whether it be through this Community Plan being thrown around or other measures. From where I see it these moves are pretty much redundant while Option F is the preferred preference of NZTA rather than Option B which would have caused none of the issues we are seeing now.
Once again motorway building has taken preference over community building and building environment capacity. Something Onehunga is sadly going to have to live with after Mangere got away from when they successfully challenged NZTA in an earlier incarnation of the East West Link.
The Committee is live streamed so you should be able to see the action from 9:30 on Tuesday.