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The Auckland Unitary Plan is officially notified, kicking off further rounds of public submissions

The Auckland Unitary Plan is officially notified, kicking off further rounds of public submissions
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The exhaustive process of creating an Auckland-wide rulebook for, in essence, deciding what people can and can't do with their land, reaches its next stage in the coming week.

Monday sees the formal "notification" of the Auckland Unitary Plan after an earlier draft version available from March was commented and submitted on by 21,000 Aucklanders. The plan would replace the district plans operating before the official creation of the Auckland region in 2010.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said the formal notification was a “momentous time for us”.

The council's plan for Auckland's development to be "a little bit up and a little bit out", in other words some high-rise development and some urban spread on to green fields,  has made for lively debate on a suburb-by-suburb basis with allowable building heights under the new plan being particularly contentious.

Housing shortage

The council's also at times this year been at odds with Housing Minister Nick Smith, who is keen to see Auckland address as soon as possible a perceived shortage of 30,000 houses in the region.

Smith and the council have subsequently signed up to the Auckland Housing Accord, targeting the building of 39,000 houses over the next three years.

The accord officially comes into effect with the notification of the unitary plan, while the council has already set up a Housing Project Office as part of a detailed strategy to get acceleration of building activity under way.

The first "special housing areas" in Auckland that will see fast-tracked housing developments under the auspices of the accord are likely to be publicly identified within days.

Special housing areas discussed

The council's governing body discussed the likely special housing areas behind closed doors on Thursday, September 26, and the council's own timetable is for the areas to be formally established by early October.

As far as the unitary plan is concerned, the formal notification is certainly not the end, but is the beginning of more rounds of submissions.

This is the council's view on the likely next stages:

  • Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan notified (30 September 2013)
  • Six 'expos' in the Auckland region in November with council staff to be available to explain what the plan means and how submissions can be made
  • Submissions close on February 28, 2014
  • A summary of submissions notified in earlly May 2014
  • A further 30 days of submissions probably taking the process up to the end of June 2014
  • Preparations for hearings in to be conducted by an independent panel in 2015
  • Appeals
  • Auckland Unitary Plan becomes operative (approximately 2016)

To go alongside the plan, the council's developed the Auckland Design Manual, styled as web-based "essential resource" for people involved in designing building or developing in Auckland.

The manual will feature "best practice" examples as well as guidance on how to achieve outcomes sought by the unitary plan.

'Inspiring people'

The council's manager of environmental strategy & policy department Ludo Campbell-Reid said the manual was "there to inspire people to see what is possible and we’ve picked some of the best examples we can…”

“We’re very excited about the opportunities that it might have to get people to blog on the site as well and start to have a discussion because the discussions can often be quite confrontational. It will be nice to have a debate about the city and what works and what doesn’t work and share people’s stories.”

It is planned that new content will be continually added to the site, with the aim that it eventually will be a "single co-ordinated place for all of the council's design information", which the council believes would make the endeavour a "world first".

No excuses

Hulse said the idea of the manual was "to make sure that people don’t have an excuse about knowing what is best practice urban design”.

She said the combined approach of the unitary plan and the manual was a “step up” from past district plans.

"The hope is that once people see the potential in the document that there will then be a corresponding push from the industry and practitioners to say ‘hold on a minute we’ve just done a fantastic design here, we are really excited by this, we’ve pushed some boundaries and come up with some ideas. There’s then the 'can we be in there'.

"Obviously we would have to ensure it did tick all those boxes. But I think if things work as they should there’s going to be a push for that to be seen as a really top notch best practice place to showcase what can be done.

"...What this is trying to say is that if you are going to do something let us help you do it in the best way that you possibly can and whilst ensuring good urban design this isn’t all about spending a huge amount of money. That’s often lost sight of when we have these urban design discussions."

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So far we know that the Mixed Housing zone has been split into two subzones. In the big one covering stacks of exisintg Res 6 the Unitary Plan REDUCES existing density.


It is beyond beleif that a plan which meant to improve affordability and density takes large areas with 1/375sqm established density and reduces them to 1/400sqm.


Bob I thought you were a big supporter of the Unitary Plan?

Sounds like it might might be a watered down compromise that achieves jack all. Expect the Auckland bubble to inflate some more!


auckland is rooted


MIA - multiply that by 5 to the power of 5

Here in my local, once tranquil little suburb, they are going nuts

About 2 kms away was a semi-light-industrial area which had fallen into hard-times. Developers have got hold of it and are going gang-busters building high-rise buildings with the encouragement of the state government, bypassing the local council. The biggest and latest is a 455 apartment monstrosity.


I am actively looking to get out of the place - the future does not look good

The following link is a glimpse into the immediate future here - and in Auckland

This is happening right now



This "unsustainable" boom is being driven by foreign investors, not occupiers, eroding the positive effects of upgrades to the city's transport infrastructure, public spaces, parks and laneways.

The apartment boom is squandering this investment … it is delivering tiny, poor-quality apartments,"The city is heading towards becoming a dormitory rather than a centre for knowledge-intensive industries."