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City will not rush into growth areas

City will not rush into growth areas

Intensified housing and mixed-use development will not happen in areas where infrastructure can’t cope or where growth won’t improve the quality of life of residents.

This was emphasised by Auckland City’s City Development Committee (Friday 21 Nov) in recommending the council adopt a revised agreement with the Auckland Regional Council covering the city’s responsibilities in managing growth.

The central sector agreement for the city has been revised because the region’s population is growing faster than previously estimated in 2001, with the fastest growth occurring within the city’s limits.

The revised agreement is required by the Auckland Regional Growth Strategy because the latest census statistics indicate the city must plan for a potential population increase of 141,800 people by 2021. In 2001, the city’s population was 388,800.

Priority areas have been nominated as candidates for intensification based on an ability to cope with higher density development around town centres. Theoretically it is possible to accommodate the projected growth in 19 “areas of change.” However, developments will only take place over time and the growth strategy covers several generations.

Committee chairperson Councillor Juliet Yates emphasised that growth in key areas would not happen without full consultation with residents or in the absence of adequate infrastructure such as drainage and transport and community facilities.

“Site by site zone changes would need to be applied for each growth area and if a case could not be made, then intensification would not happen,” she added.

“Signing the central sector agreement does not limit council’s ability to respond to community concerns. We can change priority areas and resolve not to proceed with one or any priority areas if necessary.”

Councillor Yates said that an Auckland Regional Council report was wrong in suggesting that every Residential 5 to Residential 7 zone in the city’s areas of change would need to be rezoned to Residential 8 to ensure sufficient capacity for projected growth.

“Categorically, it is not council’s policy to change all Resident 5 to 7 zones to Residential 8 and we’ll be making that quite clear to the ARC. Unfortunately, that suggestion has gained currency in the media and caused concern in the community. There will be no blanket rezoning.”

Councillor Yates said that Auckland City would monitor the progress of other councils in dealing with the challenge of growth.

“Growth is going to happen but it’s not all going to be accommodated in Auckland City. It’s important that Auckland City residents can see that the response to growth was being fairly distributed around the whole region.”

The Central Sector Agreement will be referred to council for adoption subject to the committee’s amendments.

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