13 Sep 2013

Draft plan reaction mixed

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Written by: Simon Smith
Published: Auckland Now – stuff.co.nz | 13 September 2013

The approval of the draft unitary plan is a true milestone, unworkable, suburban destruction, or a missed opportunity – depending on who you listen to.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse says sending the proposed rulebook of what people can do with their land out for formal consultation is a landmark moment.

“The proposed plan has come a long way since we put out a draft version in March,” she says.

“It now reflects a careful balance between ensuring quality development in the right places and a modified approach where our communities have voiced their concerns.”

Most of the city’s 21-member council voted on Tuesday to notify the plan from September 30, but councillors Dick Quax, Sharon Stewart, Christine Fletcher and Cameron Brewer did not.

Mr Quax of the Howick Ward says the plan is unworkable because there has been a “huge watering down” of the density that will be needed to house the increasing population.

An independent report in 2011 told the council the plan would require “extraordinary political resilience” to see it through, he says.

“And that political resilience was there until everybody realises there’s an election coming up, and then it melted like snow in a summer heat.”

Sudhvir Singh is a spokesman for Generation Zero, a youth advocacy group fighting climate change. He says the plan is a missed opportunity for generations who want “density done well”.

“The process to date has been dominated by scaremongering about density by some councillors seeking short-term political gain, compromising the future of our city by giving license to large amounts of urban sprawl,” Dr Singh says. “This will in turn drive higher rates, more traffic congestion, reduced housing choices and increased carbon pollution.”

Howick Local Board chairman Michael Williams says the draft plan would destroy the suburbs because it allows for backyards the size of double garages.

Land totalling 1200 square metres could be subdivided across most of the Howick Ward into 200 sqm lots including backyards as small as 40 sqm.

At the moment 80 sqm is required.

“That is in my opinion going to radically reduce private amenity,” he says.

“I would encourage people to email Len Brown and tell him that they are not happy.”

David Collings holds the board’s planning portfolio and says it largely “won the battle” in its advocacy on the plan.

A former Manukau City Council rule requiring 400 sqm for the subdivision of properties smaller than 1200 sqm will be kept.

The draft plan will be at libraries and on auckland council.govt.nz from September 30.


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