Unitary Plan - Plan Change 4 (Correction of Errors)

By Iain McManus

Auckland Council has notified Plan Change 4 to the Auckland Unitary Plan. This plan change aims to correct “errors” and “anomalies” in the plan. 

Council has spent the best part of the last year collating and analysing potential errors and anomalies identified by staff and other plan users. 

As part of that analysis, the Council determined that some of those errors could be corrected under Clause 20A of Schedule 1 to the RMA, which does not require a plan change, while others went beyond Council’s scope under Clause 20A and would require a plan change process. 

The Council corrected over 500 minor errors under Clause 20A in June this year. Most of the other errors are proposed to be corrected via Plan Change 4, summarised below. However, additional plan changes dealing with issues that require more detailed or extensive investigation are expected to follow Plan Change 4. For example, the Council has determined that separate plan changes are required for Schedule 14.1 (Historic Heritage), to be notified by the end of the year, and Schedule 10 (Notable Trees), to be notified mid-2018. In addition, Council has identified approximately 150 errors that will need to be addressed through an additional “administrative” plan change (similar to Plan Change 4) which is proposed for notification in mid-2018.

Plan Change 4 covers wide ground, including “corrections” to the regional policy statement; definitions; Auckland-wide, overlay, precinct and zone provisions; and the spatial mapping of overlays, precincts and zones. Most of these are minor and will assist the sensible use of the plan. Some of the more notable changes include: 

  • Changes to the special character area activity table to make it clear that the Birkenhead Point, Devonport and Stanley Point, and Northcote Point special character areas are subject to demolition controls in their entirety.
  • Inclusion of earthworks rules for the Isthmus C special character area (which has the effect of changing earthworks from restricted discretionary to discretionary);
  • Changes to the wording prescribing the permitted height of buildings on sites with a boundary to a volcanic feature (e.g. sites around the perimeter of Auckland’s maunga like Mt Eden);
  • Clarification of the activity status of applications to demolish less than 30% of a scheduled building;
  • Inclusion of default permitted activity status for vegetation alteration and removal not otherwise provided for.
  • Reinstatement of permitted activity performance standards for tree trimming in a significant ecological area.
  • Changes to the location and/or mapped extent of 23 Sites and Places of Significance to Mana Whenua.

The plan change is open for submissions until 27 October 2017 but many of the changes have immediate legal effect. 

Please feel free to call us if you would like to discuss any aspect of the plan change.

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