The closing date for submissions on the Unitary Plan is coming up fast, with the cut off being 5pm this Friday. Compared to the major publicity that erupted around the first stage things have been very quiet so far. However it is still imperative that positive submissions are lodged in support of the good parts of the plan, and also suggesting improvements. Submissions can be made on the Auckland Council site here and the Council also have several documents that help submitters write their submissions. Note as this is a more legalistic process submitters are encourage to reference parts of the Unitary Plan they would like to keep or amend specifically and they have produced a guide to help with that as well.
One of my other roles is I am one of the writers of the Generation Zero submission, so each day this week I will write a post about the main points we are submitting on, these are based on the 6 main points of our quick submission form from May last year. I will also include the provision numbers to help readers identify the correct areas in their submission too.
One of the major issues that came up was around Minimum Parking Requirements. There have been numerous posts on this blog outlining the negative impact these requirements impose on housing affordability, urban design and housing choice. The Draft Unitary Plan made some good strides in this area and the Notified Plan was improved further still. Under the old District Plans, Minimum Parking Requirements existed everywhere apart from the CBD. In the notified Unitary Plan, Minimum Parking Requirements can be found in PART 3 – REGIONAL AND DISTRICT RULES»Chapter H: Auckland-wide rules»1 Infrastructure»1.2 Transport»3. Development controls»3.2 Number of parking and loading spaces.
Minimum Parking Rates have been removed from the City Fringe Zone (Parnell, Ponsonby, Newmarket, Newton), Metropolitan Centre, Town and Local Centre (except Rural Town Centres), Mixed Use, Terrace Housing and Apartment Building Zones. Instead of Minimum Parking Requirements, Maximum Parking Requirements apply instead. This a huge improvement from the existing rules and will allow developments to proceed that are more affordable, have better urban design qualities and better fit the needs of tenants in this area, so this should be supported.
However on the downside Minimum Parking Requirements still exist in the Mixed Housing Urban and Suburban Zones. These are the proposed rules in the notified Unitary Plan.
|Mixed Housing Suburban zone||Dwellings – studio or 1 and 2 bedroom||1 per dwelling|
|Dwellings – three or more bedrooms||2 per dwelling|
|Mixed Housing Urban zone||Dwellings – studio or 1 bedroom||A minimum and maximum of 1 per dwelling|
|Dwellings – two or more bedrooms||A minimum of 1 per dwelling|
A maximum of 2 per dwelling
|All other areas||Dwellings – studio or 1 bedroom||1 per dwelling|
|Dwellings – two or more bedrooms||2 per dwelling|
The rules are still much too strict in these Mixed Housing areas where major intensification is planned to take place. No minimums should apply in these areas.
Minimum Parking Requirements also apply across the city (outside the zones identified above) for a range of activities such as Offices and Education facilities. There are still a few especially strange ones in there too. The favourite crazy example is of course Taverns, which still require 1 park for every 20m2 GFA! Ideally these Minimum Parking Requirements should be removed as well. In car dependent areas of town developers will still provide carparks where necessary, however over time as public transport improves, developments will be able to occur with less parking.
If you are interested in writing a more detailed submission on parking requirements, an excellent report was produced for Auckland Council by consultants MRCagney outlining the costs of Minimum Parking Requirements, and this is included as part of the Section 32 reports which provide the justification for proposed Unitary Plan provisions. Interestingly enough this report recommends against Minimum Parking Requirements in the Mixed Housing Zone, and also includes the Costs of Minimum Parking Requirements in centers such as Takapuna and Dominion Road outweighed the benefits by 6 to 1.