20 Jun 2013

High-rise hot topic behind closed doors

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Written by: Bernard Orsman
Photo: Brett Phibbs
Published: The New Zealand Herald – 20 June 2013
20130620 High-rise hot topic behind closed doorsThe Auckland Council is getting into detail behind closed doors on the hot button subject of high-rise buildings before councillors have seen feedback on the Unitary Plan, says councillor Mike Lee.

Councillors and local board members met yesterday to discuss the heights in town centres – their first grab at the 22,700 pieces of feedback to the draft plan.

After the workshop, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse issued a statement saying politicians agreed on a range of heights in city centres with “greater refinement” to allow for variety where appropriate. She did not respond to Herald requests for details.

Ms Hulse had told a media briefing that the public would be excluded from councillors’ workshops on feedback, directions set going to public meetings of the Auckland Plan committee for decisions. “There will be free and frank discussion while retaining confidentiality, because we’re talking about people’s property …”

Mr Lee said the workshop discussed principles but also details on building heights, a view confirmed by one other councillor. “There needs to be a pause while we are informed [on the feedback] and digest what the public opinion is …” he said.

About 8000 of 22,700 pieces of feedback have been assessed; the rest are expected to be ready for analysis and summary by the end of the week.

Ms Hulse told the media briefing the council planned three “reference groups” with stakeholders on heritage, design and special environmental areas. “But we do now need to move on … and start shaping up the [plan] that can go out for notification.”



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