When the councillors voted to withdraw the councils Unitary Plan evidence three weeks ago, one of the arguments against doing so was that other parties – and Housing NZ in particular – were pushing for much greater density than what the council were proposing. It was said that the council should be involved and at the table to provide a more balanced viewpoint and councillor Alf Filipaina even highlighted the extent of intensification Housing NZ were calling for. While councillors had obviously seen or been briefed on the HNZ Submission, it wasn’t public, but that changed late last week and the level of changes they want in some areas is substantial. HNZ are important as they are the biggest land owner in Auckland with around 6.5% of all residential property.
Firstly, at a high level the images below show the level of change possible under the notified unitary plan, what was expected in the Auckland Plan and what is in the HNZ submission. What you can see is that under the notified plan there is almost no change to large swathes of Auckland and even where there is change, it is mostly in the some to moderate category. By comparison the HNZ submission is like the Notified version of has been put on steroids. They have also indicated that they’ll be calling the council’s expert witnesses for cross-examination to support their submission where needed.
There is also this version which shows how much the HNZ position has changed since their original submission.
Another way of showing the extend of change is the percentages of housing in each residential zone – this is based on housing stock identified in submissions. This is included in a presentation (55MB) to the Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) and is also broken down at a local board level – Rodney, Waiheke and Great Barrier boards are missing. As you can see in the areas where they’ve made submissions there is significantly less single house zoning and greater emphasis on the mixed housing zonings which allow for sections less than 500m². It’s interesting that even in this submission the Waitemata Local Board area remains as one of the areas with the highest levels of single house zoning.
These figures are also backed up with map examples of some areas showing what was originally proposed in the notified plan, what was proposed in December in the now withdrawn changes, what it would be based on HNZ principles and what HNZ have actually submitted. Below are a few of the more dramatic examples, white is single house, cream is mixed house suburban, tan is mixed house urban and the strong yellow/gold is Terraced House and Apartment Buildings.
You can see the HNZ plan would remove the single house zoning from the entire area.
Similar to Westmere you can see significant extension of the mixed housing Urban zoning and in addition also much greater use of the THAB zone around the town centre
In the notified Mt Albert map you can also see one reasons why the council proposed changes to the zonings. The notified version has many anomalies such as a single section with different zoning to all of its neighbours. This was tidied up in the now withdrawn proposal.
They don’t cover the entire city but there are many other examples shown in HNZs presentation who say the changes are enough to enable double the increase in capacity of the notified plan. It’s going to be interesting to see what comes out of the hearings and what the panel recommend. With the council out of the picture HNZ will have a much stronger chance of getting their desired changes though. In many ways what HNZ have suggested is much more in line with what the Unitary Plan should have been all along, perhaps creating a silver lining to decision of late February.
If a final plan more in line with what HNZ suggest ends up being recommended by the IHP it will be fascinating (probably quite frustrating) to see how groups like 2040 and the councillors who oppose the plan react.
While on the Unitary Plan there was also this piece on the recent debate by TV3s The Nation on Saturday. One of the most bizarre parts is where Auckland 2040 head Richard Burton claims the issue is all about young people trying to buy their first home as a villa in Ponsonby – I doubt many are trying that – and that instead suggests they’ll have to buy somewhere smaller or further out. Yet his organisation has been the one leading the fight to prevent smaller dwellings being built and further out in 2016 is quite different from what further out was when he was young.