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Unitary Plan direction slowed down and sent to local boards

Media release

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer

Unitary Plan direction slowed down and sent to local boards

Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer says it is great news that his amendment passed today at the Auckland Plan Committee meeting will somewhat slow down the rushed Unitary Plan decision-making process and ensure greater involvement by the council’s 21 local boards.

Today councillors were being asked to “agree the interim directions” of the draft unitary plan relating to key aspects around heights and housing zones before all the public submissions had even be processed and any local boards briefed.

This prompted Cameron Brewer, seconded by Christine Fletcher, to move an amendment that the proposed interim directions and principles be instead noted and be sent to the local boards for their consideration, feedback and guidance before any agreement is ratified by the Governing Body. The amendment was supported 16 votes to two.

“The council hasn’t even processed all the submissions, let alone read them. Nonetheless today councillors were being asked to prematurely agree to some key direction setting and significant potential changes such as possible further height increases in the expansive and already controversial ‘mixed housing’ zone. It was outrageous,” says Cameron Brewer.

“Thankfully we’re now having a cup of tea, and going back to the local boards so they can be fully briefed and offer their input before any direction setting is confirmed. This is a small but important victory among what is a very questionable and rushed process. We need to give a concerned public some confidence that their submissions will first and foremost be given careful consideration before any decisions are made. After all, that’s what they were promised from the outset.”

The nine interim directions that were sent to local boards for their consideration were not agreed to by all councillors, with seven voting against them – Brewer, Coney, Fletcher, Lee, Quax, Stewart, and W Walker. Eleven councillors endorsed them to be noted.

“I made it clear that I do not support splitting the mixed housing zone and making it possible for developers to go ‘over 10 metres’ or beyond three stories high in our suburban neigbourhoods that are near a town centre or a Terrace Housing and Apartment Building zone. Most people were appalled enough with the prospect of neighbouring properties going up possibly 10 metres. Now we’re saying for many in the mixed housing zone it could actually be even higher, and most likely still non-notified.

“I am also disappointed that any potential measures to offer further protection to our coastal communities have yet to determined, despite the Mayor’s public promise last month to rethink the likes of height for our coastal communities. I also raised disappointment that our infrastructure providers and the likes of the Ministry of Education have yet to give us any certainty that they can meet the challenges all this residential intensification will bring. In fact many have only raised concerns.

“However today was a small win to buy some time, and get some valuable local board input, before we start signing off any pre-determined direction. The public expects and deserves nothing less,” says Cameron Brewer


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