Some fairly important news about the Unitary Plan has emerged in relation to the Pre-1944 demolition control the council wanted to implement. The control prevented all houses built before 1944 – that weren’t already covered under normal heritage provisions – from being demolished without any assessment of whether it needs heritage protection. Land owners would still be able to get consent however it is argued that by making it harder will prevent people from even trying. The control seemed to come about following regular complaints from heritage groups about anything old being demolished.

In interim guidance from the hearing panel released Wednesday it was announced that they are not convinced by the arguments put forward by council and some submitters on the need for the control. They say there is a lack of robust section 32 (s32) analysis and evidence and that the provision has not been assessed in the wider context of the strategy for a more compact and higher density city. They go further to say that it places unnecessary constraints and burdens on land owners who may want to develop their property.

They say they think that if the council want to change the way they protect a number of residential areas that they should go through a plan change to do so which would also require them to produce a robust section 32 analysis of the relative benefits and costs of the change. That would also enable more public participation on the issue. As an example they were concerned that large numbers of people who owned/lived in properties affected by the control didn’t submit on the Unitary Plan who were likely happy with the existing provisions.

The map below shows the scale of the control and as you can see it primarily affects the isthmus and east coast of the North Shore. It’s also worth noting that many properties in some of the gaps have more formal heritage protection.

Pre-1944 Building Control

Understandably heritage groups are upset saying the decision is a ‘mistake’ and a ‘bombshell’ however I’ve long thought the same way about proposing the control in the first place. The council have said in the past that they choose 1944 as the cut-off point as that’s a date they have good records from of what housing stock existed. To me the whole thing is just to arbitrary and clunky in its current form and even though the control wasn’t blanket protection its effect would have been to prevent most small scale development as land owners would be too put off by the requirements.

In addition to this while the heritage protection groups fight to keep anything and everything old, at the end of the day it’s generally not them who pay the price for the impact blanket rules like this have. If it prevents sensible development in the right locations it can affect the entire city and in particular young people who want a place to live that isn’t out on the suburban limits

When it comes to heritage I quite like this from reader Stephen Davis. If we really want to protect heritage should we require those in heritage areas to also ride around in a horse and cart.

Lastly I think it also opens up the opportunity for the council to have a wider discussion with the community about development and change. As we know Auckland Transport are considering installing Light Rail on the Isthmus right through some of the heaviest areas affected by the pre-1944 controls. One of the issues we’ve mentioned in the past is that while the light rail corridors are busy, we really need to leverage off such a project and enable more development to help make it successful. Perhaps this news is opportune time for the council to start having that discussion

LRT routes

Given this interim guidance it will be interesting to see just the panel say about other rules which can severely restrict development potential such as minimum parking requirements, minimum yard sizes, building setbacks, maximum site coverage and density controls.

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83 comments

  1. I had hoped, based on a Melbourne presentation, that it would be possible to increase housing substantially in areas like Sandringham and Doninion Roads, without destroying the most beautiful housing in the side streets. After visiting Toronto regularly I really appreciate the beauty of our houses and our streets. There there are many whole suburbs of identical two storey semi detached pastiche colonial houses – but admittedly, housing there is much more affordable.

  2. This is disgusting

    Throughout the Middle Ages (and after), hundreds if not thousands of castles were destroyed by local inhabitants who literally took them apart brick by brick to build their hovels or bakeries. So much beauty and grandeur was lost (and yes, EVERY castle was worth saving). The same happened in Rome, with emperors destroying the heritage left them by their predecessors. Or when the Great Library of Alexandria was burnt down.

    Finally, FINALLY humanity realised that heritage was worth saving. But it almost came too late. Had we been as enlightened as we are today, Europe and the Levant might still be covered by castles and beautiful old buildings. Rome might be even older and more magnificent.

    And now those few remnants of our past are to be destroyed as well.

    Along with the removal of blanket tree protection in 2012 this is the most disgusting thing ever done by this Council.

    1. Meh, rip it out I say. Pre 1944 Auckland not even remotely comparable to Roman castles.. or for that matter the often glorious middle ages architecture that replaced much of it.

      Taking your observation about (bland, sprawling) Toronto though, isn’t the more important thing that across much of the isthmus we need to be concerned and focussed on the design of what we are building now.

      I share your concern about the trees.

    2. Pre-44 housing isn’t sacred or special. It’s just houses that people put up in a hurry. Some of it is even rather bad, and we could do a lot better. Nobody is suggesting razing Mt Roskill with a bulldozer, but selective appreciation would do us well.

      The problem with age-based cultural assessment is that modern cultural development is heavily undervalued, and significant things are allowed to be demolished while things that are not unique or vested with meaning are protected.

    3. Funny to talk about Rome, though. St. Peter’s, for example, sits on the former site of Old St. Peter’s, which in turn replaced Nero’s circus. If 2,767 years of Romans had preserved Rome exactly as it was in 753 BC then the vast majority of the heritage we now love about the city couldn’t have been built as there would have been nowhere to put it! Luckily, Auckland isn’t faced with the hard choices of Rome, where we need to decide which two-thousand-year-old farmhouse we’re willing to knock down.

      In reality, much of the charm of cities comes from having a fabric that actually shows the whole history of the city, rather than being preserved at a specific moment in time. Somewhere all historically correct and proper and matching like Paris is all very well, but let’s admit – it’s a bit boring.

      Part of the irony of Auckland’s heritage protections is that many areas we’re “preserving” a character that itself comes from a vast mix of different styles, types, and eras. In the case of Ponsonby Road, that’s actually in the heritage statement in the Unitary Plan. Meanwhile, Kingsland’s heritage is chiefly about the relation of the town centre to the railway station – a station that may not be there much longer if Kingsland can’t grow, but other areas on the Western Line can.

      I think it’s important to preserve our actual historic heritage – *particular* buildings or sites of some actual historical significance or unique merit. But we’re trying to maintain the heritage “character” of an area by preserving unremarkable buildings, just because they’re old. That’s reckless in scale, in that it chokes off far too much opportunity for new development. It’s also counter-productive, in that it actually leeches the character out of the area, by turning it into a museum.

      1. “Funny to talk about Rome, though. St. Peter’s, for example, sits on the former site of Old St. Peter’s, which in turn replaced Nero’s circus. If 2,767 years of Romans had preserved Rome exactly as it was in 753 BC then the vast majority of the heritage we now love about the city couldn’t have been built as there would have been nowhere to put it!” Interesting point there!

      2. Well put. I think it comes down to the fact that throughout the twentieth century there was a reckless disregard for heritage and buildings of great historic/ cultural value were lost without thought. But now the pendulum has swung way too far the other way and every 70 year old building, no matter how unremarkable is protected. Even worse it is prohibited to even build NEAR these unremarkable 70 year old buildings.

        It is odd how our planning system values old buildings so much that they can’t be touched, but new buildings are valued so little that it’s near impossible to build anything. This seems like a step in the right direction in creating a better balance between protecting the most important heritage while allowing the city to evolve.

      3. Every 500 year old building was 1 year old once

        If you don’t protect them they never get old enough to BE of historical significant

        Like trees. All should be protected

        1. The protection of trees lead to people not wanting to plant them, which sort of defeats the purpose or protecting trees in order to have lots of them.

          What are the unintended consequences of the things that you are asking for?

        2. Very true. Also for weeks before the rules came in where I live the chainsaws were running every week end as people got rid of trees they thought might become a hassle. Even now I only plant exotics as you might end up stuck with natives. When we had the rules I only planted trees that were not on the protected list, so the rules achieved the opposite of what the proponents wanted.

        3. Except that cheaply built crappy wooden houses won’t last that long. Those buildings etc referred to were either stone or masonry which lasts a lot longer.

        4. I still think you’re missing Stephens points: heritage material is the stuff that lasts the test of time, and history is dynamic.

          This does not need arbitrary bureaucratic protection, which results in pickling everything. I grew up in a house where the ‘new’ wing was 200 years old, and it was not extant to this day because of rules but because people found true value and character in it, enough to ensure they continued to invest in it.

          Protections of the pre-1944 type do not enrich the city; they prevent the addition of new layers of history.

      4. And a *lot* of what we love about Paris actually came from wholesale demolition of neighbourhoods in order to put in apartments and grand boulevards.

        1. Yes this is true, Haussman destroyed medieval Paris. No bad thing in general, it was largely a wooden city before the improvements begun much early under Henri IV, including the radically open Pont Neuf. However the glorious cities of northern Spain; Barcelona, Bilboa, San Sebastian, all built their imitation-Paris Belle Epoque extensions outside the walls of their old gothic centres so now have both. And are all the richer for it.

          The best cities do not fear contemporary styles and new building, but do keep the best of the existing. But not whole areas of ordinary structures.

    4. Please get your facts right at least.

      NEITHER the removal of the tree protections OR this proposed removal of proposed heritage blanket protections are being done by Council.

      The first was an RMA change by National, and the second is now done by an independent panel of commissioners, while *Council* proposed the protection rule.

  3. It is quite surprising that so much of Auckland was going to have this blanket protection. Much of Onehunga and the Eastern suburbs? WTF? When I think of heritage what immediately comes to mind is much of Ponsonby, which is intensively built, small pockets of Epsom and Mt Eden, but that shouldn’t preclude intensification and subdivision of back yards. Intensive development should be encouraged near those main future tram arterials.

    In much of Mangere Bridge they have a silly zoning which prevents any subdivision if it isn’t a minimum of 1200sq m! So there has been much more development and increase in value where that zoning doesn’t apply in the suburb. The great majority of the housing stock does NOT have any great heritage or aesthetic value at all.

  4. Good to see it gone. As a planner, it is one of the more ill-conceived, embarrassing aspects of the Unitary Plan. Council should never have imposed it on Aucklanders. They should have done the work first to identify actual / genuine heritage value and then scheduled what was worth keeping. Rather they chucked a control out there and forced residents to justify why it wasn’t relevant in their case. Extremely poor policy.

  5. Well, citizens need hovels and bakeries – and opium dens – as much as they need castles. Bread and roses, amirite? I’m all for preserving solid, well built pre-1944 buildings that house many people in small spaces, have proved their worth and will stand another 100 years at least, but a lot of “heritage” housing stock – mostly made of wood (which we need for our open fires!)- is not worth preserving for the sake of “heritage”. If it’s not housing our growing population, keeping them warm and healthy, and likely to remain stable with little maintenance for at least the next century, I don’t care how pretty the stickwork is.We need buildings that will be our FUTURE heritage. (I rather like the Turing building myself.)

    1. What an absurd approach. It’s like saying the purpose of life is breathing.
      There are far higher and more noble things than being “warm”. Better to be free in rags than live in a gilded cage, and better to uphold the glory of the past and shiver a little than sit in our perfect bourgeoisie apartments

      1. Gosh, using the “die free or live on your knees!” slogan to protect black-and-white rules about whether old houses may or may not be demolished? You are seriously overdoing it.

        Sorry, we don’t live in museums and heritage is NOT as important as people being housed, safe and warm (not that anyone but you seems to place the two at mutually exclusive ends of the possibility spectrum).

        1. Peoples Panel survey couple years back- (Dec 2011)

          Two of the key findings.

          88% believe that protection of historic heritage is important.

          the highest ranking initiative was for giving historic heritage more protection.

          The “Independent” Commissioners will side with the developers, they nearly always do. A plan change will be put in before the next election as politicians understand what 88% means..

        2. The pre-1944 rules have nothing to do with ‘historic heritage’ – they merely relate to heritage in the sense of old building stock built before 1944. The importance of the argument relies on “historic” which implies something important or famous. Its safe to say that the large majority of sites implicated wouldn’t meet this test. What was the significance of 1 January 1944? what grand architectural conditions existed from that date that no longer continued once the second world war ended. The restriction of property rights based on arbitrary record keeping practices from Council was always completely unjust and has no place under our effects based planning legislation.

      2. “There are far higher and more noble things than being “warm”. Better to be free in rags than live in a gilded cage, and better to uphold the glory of the past and shiver a little than sit in our perfect bourgeoisie apartments”

        Since you used the word first, I’d suggest that your comments actually reflect the “bourgeois” view on the world. New Zealand’s dealing with a public health crisis resulting from uninsulated, poorly-heated buildings, which primarily affects (and kills) poor people. This is exacerbated by the fact that it’s difficult to develop or redevelop housing.

        In the face of this, saying we should “uphold the glory of the past and shiver” sounds suspiciously like “let them eat cake”.

  6. Matt , the pre 1944 controls are not suggesting we live in a time warp so your comments are a bit biased and mocking. However I do support a debate on this issue so that all sides agree on what is worth preserving and how that should be done. My personal view is that the high densities that were achieved in some inner city areas should be applauded . Some suburbs have a certain character worth preserving while others do not. I support tearing down the rubbish and amalgamating the titles including streets and start again. A new town in the middle of the city. This will give us very high quality urban design and high readilbilty and we can also strengthen the older areas that we have decided to protect.

    1. You’re allowed to demolish provided you can demonstrate your dwelling isn’t pre-1944, isn’t part of a series of dwellings on the street of a similar architectural style, and such dwellings of a similar style’s character doesn’t contribute to the heritage streetscape and character of the neighbourhood.

  7. I was always under the impression that the pre-’44 ban was merely a temporary moratorium so that genuine heritage sites could be identified and saved. But it appears that this became a safe political rule without any thought about it. I think saving our heritage sites are important and as a very young country we can have examples from the entire human occupation of this country. However, we also have to realistic and acknowledge that not every building can or even should be saved.

    1. As a resident of a pre-1944 area, I think there is value in an entire neighbourhood retaining not necessarily the buildings themselves but at least the “look and feel” of the era.

      1. Cam, I think that is a trap that many designers fall into. In trying to preserve the “look and feel” they create faux versions of the houses they cull, creating a Disney sort of effect – an ugly fake looking neighbourhood with the original housing problems still unsolved. The aesthetic concerns are important, but perhaps each era should bring a new aesthetic that reflects the needs of the current community?

      2. Agree with preserving the ‘look’ (although only in a small selected areas) – but if by ‘feel’ you mean single house on single section I don’t think your reasons for wanting that have anything to do with heritage.

      3. Great in theory, but in practice the argument of “death by a thousand cuts” ensures that even minor changes are resisted. By default it becomes a pretty stultifying attitude that imposes a much more broadly enforced barrier than would originally have been implied.

  8. There are so many nice old heritage houses in Ponsonby, Mt Eden, etc – and they are very well sought after – there is no way they are all going to disappear. So there is absolutely no need for protection (maybe if there ever is a time when there are not many left you could protect them then).

    1. Right, except that the council and its predecessors haven’t had 3 years, they’ve had 71 years. If in all that time, we still haven’t identified something as important, it seems vanishingly unlikely it’s really all that important. You know, people travel around the city a fair bit, and the buildings aren’t exactly hiding or moving around. They’re in plain view. There’s not going to be a lot of secret undiscovered heritage goldmines.

  9. Heritage and character qualities are not amplified by atrophy and stasis. Both are in fact dynamic states, constantly moving and subject to change in values like everything else cultural. The 1944 cutoff for example is a demolition charter for postwar modernism; it embodies a cultural value judgement that Victorian, Edwardian, and interbellum buildings are heritage and have character, but nothing that follows does. Rather extraordinary. Surely these values are better judged on a case by case basis?

    Furthermore we must remember that what we build now will be of future value if we build well. Especially, if like the Victorians and Edwardians, we build with the best technologies and environmental and social tools available. Please please no absurd planning rules that lead to bits of weatherboard stranded on otherwise honest tilt-slab structures in a vain attempt to make these contemporary building ‘fit-in’ or ‘contextualise’ or be ‘in keeping’.

    1. Yes there is a difference between protecting something for proper heritage reasons and protecting something because you happen to like the look of it. In 10 years time my 1954 state house like home will be as old as these protected houses – but it won’t be considered heritage because it isn’t particularly good looking.
      People seem to use the term ‘heritage’ to mean ‘I like my neighbourhood as it is and I don’t want it to change’ – the two are completely different things.

    2. Thanks Patrick! I had not noticed the anti-modernist subtext in the 1944 cutoff. What can be done about the beautiful modernist Aotea square council building, gorgeous and worth saving, but poisoned and unusable? (My hope is for a vertical farm).

      1. I actually quiet like it, a nice example of the International style modernist stuff of which I’m not a fan of. But the council tower is a good example of it and it should be preserved as a heritage building.

        1. The problem is not “unsolveable” at all. In fact, the cost of solving it has been identified – but since it’s quite a couple million on top of whatever other conversion costs would occur, the question is whether Council (or a buyer) would be willing to go to the expense. That’s the rub – nothing “unavoidable” about it at all. Asbestos removal isn’t magic, just difficult.

        2. The old council building, whilst not pre 44, is actually a very significantly historic building and deserves preservation and reuse in my opinion.

      2. It’s not an anti- modernist subtext, what nonsense. 1944 was picked because they have full aerial photography for that year and can prove what was or wasn’t there then.

        Agreed that things from the 60’s can be heritage but we still haven’t catalogued buildings from the 1860’s yet…

        1. The effect of the 1944 cut-off is to undervalue our modernist heritage is what I am saying, not that it is necessarily the intention. Of course some do hate it, see Tom below.

      3. I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but there is no way that you can call the council building beautiful. That international modernist movement and its sister movements was a failed experiment not appreciated by the public and those that actually have to use these buildings. I worked in a similar building in Wellington that was depressing to work in and the only consolation was that I didn’t have to look at it while working. Yes, I am anti-modernist just as I am anti socialist architecture that plague many parts of both Western and Eastern Europe. After WWII the world forgot taste and beauty and certain sectors were infected one by one until we got the 1970s fashion that we as a society took more than a decade to get over. I think we are actually starting to build something decent now and most of the major building built since 2000 are actually quite good.

    3. Of course. But some things have already PEAKED and we should maintain them

      Written and spoken English peaked around 1900 in style and function.

      Car design peaked around 1975-1985 (if you don’t believe me, compare a 1976 Porsche 911 to a 2015 Porsche 911)

      House design (external facade) peaked probably around 1880 if not earlier.

      Some things – automotive technology, for example, have not peaked. Nobody should be forced to keep a 1958 v8 in their car (but they SHOULDN’T be allowed to scrap a beautiful old 1958 car body)

      1. How about we force you to drive around in a 1977 Toyota Corolla, while the rest of us can use modern vehicles which are vastly safer and significantly more comfortable.

        Because that’s the analogy you’ve just made.

      2. Oh, my.

        Who decides what has PEAKED? You? Or me? Who is going to pick between us two?

        What you are advocating here is a mixture of statism, and some people being allowed to make up arbritrary rules for others to follow in things that need little or no legal regulation (like language).

  10. I have seen an old family home in a Mix Use Zone adjacent to Avondale train station subject to pre-1944 demolish control. What a waste of land, and that house is not a villia or anything historical.

  11. The Proposed Unitary Plan already contains a number of Historic Heritage Areas and Special Character Areas that will preserve heritage value and the look where this is of value but not enough to warrant heritage protection. In light of this the pre-1944 designation seems a bit broad brush and council might be wise to designate more Special Character Areas as a balance.

  12. Those people who like pre-1944 houses should chip in some money and buy a couple to keep. Let the market decide if and how many of the rest should stay. Time for some high rises on Franklin Road!

    And trees? We have loads of trees- not because of rules but because people like them. We will always have some trees, just not every tree.

    As for the castles comment above- that is the funniest thing I have read all week- clearly the guy was taking the mickey. Castles were built as defensive fortifications to be used as a base to oppress common people. How many reminders of how bad life was do we need. A couple of twee ones and a coup,e of robust museum ones and that is plenty.

    1. mfwic I usually respect your views but you are speaking from ignorance here.

      Google “crusader castles” and see how many of them had their works destroyed by the local peasantry taking stones from them once they were no longer garrisoned. Scum. The most magnificent buildings of all time… no modern architect would even dream of something as amazing as Kraks de Chevaliers.

      And as for trees, you are speaking like a frothing libertarian there. Your property rights do not give you the ability to do whatever you want on your property because what you do affects me (think about it – if you create noise, or light, some of it comes across the boundary onto my property). So you have to live as a collective. And that includes respecting our natural environment, like trees. When you cut down a tree not only do you kill a living thing but the birds that nest in it are harmed, the voles/mice that root in its roots are harmed, and so on.

      1. You misunderstand me. I have no doubt many castles were knocked down for the stones, that is called recycling. My point is why would the local population have wanted to keep symbols of oppression built by the pricks they had gotten rid of? If you read a bit more about the crusades you will be left in no doubt as to why many people felt it was important to be rid of the edifaces left behind. And when you look at it dispassionately you have to wonder why a bunch of Europeans thought building a monstrosity in the desert and living behind ramparts while trying to control the local people was acceptable. In the end they were the architects of their own downfall making it easy for the Mamluks to find them, undermine their walls and kill them. Castles are not a fairytale invention for princesses, they are grim and about militarism and brutishness that we left behind.
        My point about trees stands. We plant them because we love them. I have 14 big ones and a collection of smaller trees. But I don’t expect anyone to try and live under them. When we intensify land trees have to go to improve amenity for the new residents. They can plant what they want to live with, just dont expect them to put up with the previous people’s choices just because you think they are pretty.

      2. mfwic has it right. Why should the people whose taxes and forced labour built those castles be ashamed of taking the stones back once the guys with swords were gone? Obviously THEY didn’t feel keeping their heritage buildings tenanted and kept up was worth it anymore. Maybe they downsized and went to an apartment in the city.

        Gosh, this is amusing.

        By the way, early commuter – you are totally right in that we need to live as a community, and accept that impacts on our neighbours should limit what we can and cannot do. You just have an extremely expansive view on how invasive those limits should be. I can see why we shouldn’t allow a 10 storey building shading a little wee house next door. I simply will NOT accept that you can tell me what tree I should be allowed to have or NOT have in my garden. Plant some in your own if you want trees.

        1. *Crusader* castles, seriously?! bet the locals just loved them.

          Can’t wait for ISIS to invade and murder and enslave your family. Then you can campaign to protect the fortresses and internment camps they set up!

      3. Friends of mine run this place. https://www.carraw.co.uk

        It sits literally ontop of Hadrian’s Wall. It’s built of stones from the wall. It’s in the middle of the most spectacular ancient landscape and it’s awesome.

        My friends are just the current caretakers of a piece of history that has many twists and turns, any of which could be labelled the “correct” singular stage that should be “protected”. Please, just don’t call them “scum” when you go to stay there and advise them which era they should be protecting.

  13. It seems as if there are people that still have an attachment to old things. Do not know why because majority of these houses are cold and old. Another thing that drives up house prices though is school zones. People are after a certain area driving prices within the area very high

      1. I know. This is central governments problem. No matter how much land they will open school zones will be a driving factor since people are usually after schools. The only people to move out are those not restricted by school zoning

    1. I like my 90 year old apartment building. It still houses over 100 people in comfort and style. There are at least half a dozen buildings like this in the CBD, built around 1929 and still top quality, stylish high-density housing. THIS is what we need more of: more Brooklyns,more Windsor Towers, more Shortland Towers, but new modern versions in the suburbs, IMHO.

    2. And it’s OK to like old houses – but not so OK to force your neighbour to like his old house when he wants to replace it with something more suitable.

      1. “his” old house? Again, frothing libertarianism. Property rights are not absolute. I don’t get to store nuclear waste on my property.

        1. Nuclear waste or noise would affect you. The type of building your neighbour would like to live in doesn’t affect you. But you affect him or her when you believe you are allowed to dictate what shape and style their home is or what materials they can use. (Or for that matter whether you think some old tree in the middle of their site should remain so they can build.)

        2. Ha! Love the quotation marks around his. Yeah all private property is theft, or something like that.

        3. ““his” old house? Again, frothing libertarianism.”

          When your neighbour moved in, did you take a collection to help pay down his mortgage? If not, I would suggest that it is in fact his or her house.

        4. No, but as a member of the social contract I help ensure that he has the ability to enjoy “his” house through my behaviour.

          Hobbesian countries are no fun.

  14. Thank you GTP. That was a very interesting link.
    I feel that allowingthe Rule to stand until the survey is completed then those buying are aware of the possibility of not being able to demolish which would become clear and enable the blanket restriction to be lifted in the future. Thus no penalties being incurred that were unknown. So my feelings are that either the council has not made their intentions clear to the hearing panel or they are being obtuse.
    Is Housing NZ playing by the rules or was the rule only a proposal?

    1. You’ve got to wonder about these “independent panels”. Just look at the panel that has made the Sky City Convention centre Non-Notified fro Consent against the Council’s recommendation.

      Who are these people, what are their relevant skills for the job and how do they get appointed?

    1. That’s not really the intention is it?
      I understand the desire is to preserve some of the earlier than 1944 street scape. This would allow council to decide where it is appropriate and then narrow the proposal to those areas releasing other areas of that type of construction for redevelopment. I see it as a means to buy time to consider the options. Have I misunderstood the intent?

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