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Auckland City new standards for managing growth

Auckland City sets new standards for managing growth

A new planning law adopted by Auckland City Council tonight is a significant step towards ensuring high quality developments in the city to meet the expected population growth. The council voted unanimously to adopt the new Residential 8 planning zone. It imposes strict new standards on developments within Residential 8 zones.

The chairperson of the council’s City Development Committee, Councillor Juliet Yates, says the new zoning law will help bring higher standards to developments as the city intensifies. Apartments built in the new zone will cover at least 40 square metres. New rules covering privacy and noise will make sure people can’t see into their neighbour’s houses, people can sleep at night and the properties are attractive from the street.

Developments in areas which may be covered by the new zone will also need to comply with design guidelines.

The zone has been created to help Auckland cope with major growth. It will need to host another 140,000 people – more than another Dunedin – by 2021. Of the city’s current population growth, 63 per cent comes from births and 37 per cent from arrivals from elsewhere in New Zealand and overseas.

“The question for Auckland is not whether we will grow, but how we manage that growth. What we’ve decided to do is insist that we have quality growth,” Councillor Yates says.

“With council passing Residential 8 zoning, it clearly highlights the importance of ensuring quality growth in the city. It raises the bar for developers and secures the future for better living standards.

“It’s not a question of developing the city at any cost. If developers can’t afford to develop here in Residential 8 zones, then we don’t want them. Perhaps they should go elsewhere.”

Councillor Yates says she expects most developers to support the move to high quality urban design for intensified developments, which Residential 8 is designed to achieve. Any opponents to the plan change now have 15 working days to file objections with the Environment Court.

The policy adopted tonight includes significant changes made as a result of 104 submissions and evidence presented at the public hearing on the proposed plan change.

Any application for the Residential 8 zoning must meet criteria that provides ease of access to amenities, education, transport and potential for job growth. The zone also imposes design requirements set out in the Residential Design Guide that includes criteria for neighbourhood character, visual privacy, sound privacy and private open space.

The new Residential 8 zone also provides the following height restrictions: 8a zone - maximum height of 11 metres and three storeys around town centres 8b zone - 14 metres and four storeys around town centres 8c zone - 17 metres and five storeys within 2 km of the city’s central business district.

Applications for a plan change for Residential 8 will be considered development-by-development. It will not be applied across whole areas like other planning zones. When an area is considered for Residential 8 it will need to go through a full public notification and approval process.

“This gives an opportunity for quality developments that can only proceed if all of the criteria is met,” says Councillor Yates. She says the “pathfinder” suburb to first benefit from the application of a Residential 8 zone will be Glen Innes. The council tonight also agreed to a Residential 8 zone covering the $27 million Talbot Park development by Housing New Zealand.

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