23 May 2013

How will the unitary plan change the West

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Published: Auckland Now / Western Leader – 23 May 2013

Unitary Legend

Unitary Legend

The most drastic change in West Auckland’s housing density will be in Glen Eden and North Titirangi.

Under the Waitakere City District Plan created under the old council each piece of land has to be 450 square metres.

If the unitary plan comes into effect that area will be considered Mixed Housing which means properties will only have to be 300sqm per house.

The maximum height allowed will stay at eight metres or two storeys unless a resource consent is approved allowing it to be three storeys.

Councillor Sandra Coney says her main concern is the lack of resource consents and notification required.

“People should be able to find out what is going to happen in their area. I want them to look more carefully at heritage and roll the plan out in stages.”

She says a big problem has been the council writing the plan without talking to communities first.

“It’s a big document and unless you are a professional planner it’s tough to understand.”

If a property in these areas is 1200sqm or more and five or more dwellings are planned there is no density limits, however a resource consent is required.

The plan says: “Over time, the appearance of neighbourhoods within this zone will change but they will retain their suburban residential context. It enables two-storey housing in a variety of sizes and forms – detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings, town-houses and terraced housing and low-rise apartments.”

The southern part of Titirangi through to Oratia will be far less built up. This will be classed as Large Lot and requires sections to be at least one acre per house.

Opening up

Other areas of the west such as Henderson Valley and Blockhouse Bay will become less dense when they change to a Single House Zone meaning the minimum section a house can be built on is 500sqm or an eighth of an acre.

Cato Bolam Consultants planning manager Peter Raeburn says increasing or decreasing density could change the value of land which would then either increase or decrease rates bills.

“However overall the rates bill for the city will stay the same because some people’s land value will increase and some will decrease.”

Skyward bound

With an eye on intensification mayor Len Brown says New Lynn’s town centre and its 14-storey apartment building could become a template for Auckland’s future.

“The plan is to create mixed use neighbourhoods with good parks anchored by great transport and employment hubs which offer a range of higher density housing choices. By 2030, New Lynn could be home to 20,000 people with another 14,000 working there.”

Under the unitary plan the maximum height for buildings in the centres of New Lynn, Henderson and Westgate is 18 storeys or 72.5 metres. Avondale can go up to eight storeys, Glen Eden up to six and Te Atatu up to four. All local centres can be built up to either three or four storeys.

Property valuer Michael Bristow says even though there is the potential for higher density it will only happen if the market lets it.

“I think with the apartments going into New Lynn it shows there is demand outside of the city but it’s whether that demand travels further west that will determine what goes ahead. A higher density of buildings would logically mean a higher profit margin.”

Terraced housing

Dotted throughout the area next to town centres are zones designated for Terraced Housing and Apartment Building which allow for buildings of four to six storeys depending on the size of the town centre they are near.

Concerns have been raised in Te Atatu Peninsula about the effect

four-storey buildings will have on the view and the town centre.

Te Atatu Residents and Ratepayer Association secretary Bryce Pearce says it is concerned four-storey buildings will ruin the view of the harbour and the town centre will not cope with the extra demand for parking.

“We also have concerns that the minimum size of a dwelling in an apartment only has to be 30sqm. I want the council to slow down and do this in stages. They should be starting with places that are ripe for intensification and have good public transport like New Lynn and Avondale.”

In these areas the plan says: “Low density development is discouraged and mid-rise multi-unit residential living is encouraged. A resource consent is required for all forms of residential development in the zone.”

Council chief planning officer Dr Roger Blakely says the ability to create denser residential areas will allow the city to cope with another million people.

“If actual growth does not meet projections, developers will not find it economically viable to continue to build because there won’t be the need. It all comes down to supply and demand but great cities don’t happen by accident and hoping for the best is not good enough.”



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