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Auckland City Council Develops Airspace Policy

There will need to be “substantial public benefit” before Auckland City will sell or lease the airspace over roads.

Auckland City Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee wants the council to adopt a policy for the use of airspace when people want to build things like pedestrian overbridges.

Committee chairperson Councillor Juliet Yates says the council currently considers applications on a case by case basis because there are no clear guidelines in place.

“Airspace issues are already significant and the pressure on the council to consider leasing or selling airspace/subsoil rights for development will increase in future,” she said. “We must have a clear policy to help us deal with these matters.”

The committee’s proposed policy recommends that, as a general rule, the council will not grant a lease of the airspace for the construction of an overbuilding.

Where a public benefit is clearly established, it may grant a lease when the overbuilding is located directly over the footpath, is limited to one storey and has no adverse effect on environmental amenities or the safety of road users. In general, such structures will have to be built of transparent materials.

The proposed policy further recommends that airspace should not be used for building projections such as enclosed verandahs, balconies, awnings or retaining walls.

It states that the lease of airspace for pedestrian overpasses will be granted only if the council is satisfied that pedestrian safety is otherwise at risk. They The overpass must be non-commercial, built of transparent materials, have pedestrian use as their its prime focus and comply with the council’s vertical height clearance policy.

Councillor Yates says any airspace consents will be granted at a price which will be set according to the full added value of the site created. A deposit will be required before the consents process begins.

She adds that a sunset clause for review will be included in all new leases.

The proposed airspace policy will be discussed at a full council meeting next month. (September 13)

ENDS

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