Unitary Plan - Independent Hearing Panel Recommendations

By Iain McManus

The Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearing Panel has released its recommendations on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.  Of most note, the Panel's recommendations:

  • Focus urban intensification on centres, transport nodes and corridors to achieve a quality compact urban form. This is broadly consistent with the notified plan. 
  • Retain the Rural Urban Boundary but push it out to include 30 per cent more land and enable it to be changed by private plan changes so private landowners can apply to move it.
  • Double the “feasible enabled residential capacity” to exceed 400,000 dwellings, through a mix of residential up-zoning, changes to controls within the residential zones and support for proposals for live urban zonings (e.g. residential zonings) at a number of locations on the existing urban edge that the Council had “parked” as “Future Urban”.
  • Remove density controls in most residential zones (proposed to be retained only in the Single House zone).
  • Streamline the restrictions on development within areas subject to flood hazards.
  • Delete numerous provisions where effects are better managed by other methods.
  • Delete the affordable housing requirements for larger scale developments.
  • Delete the minimum dwelling size requirements.
  • Delete references to cultural impact assessments and design statements.
  • Delete the Schedule of ‘Sites and Places of Value to Mana Whenua’.
  • Delete the Pre-1944 Building Demolition Control overlay.

In addition, the Panel has re-drafted many parts of the plan to improve integration across the plan, reduce the number of prescriptive rules and assessment criteria, restrict the Council’s discretion on restricted discretionary activities, and be more succinct.

The Council is currently considering the Panel’s recommendations. The Council is expected to notify its decisions on the recommendations on or around 19 August.

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