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Auckland City focuses on recurring offences

9 December 2005

Auckland City focuses on recurring offences

People who deliberately breach Auckland City's bylaws and district plan are more likely to hear from the council's compliance staff as Auckland City focuses on illegal works and infringements in the city.

Auckland City's compliance project team outlined plans to combat frequently occurring offences in the city at a meeting of the Planning and Regulatory Committee yesterday.

The team has identified five priorities for the next six months, including: * clutter that limits pedestrian access and affects visual amenity in town centres * protected trees * excess paving * rubbish dumping * construction and public space.

Councillor Glenda Fryer, chairperson of the Planning and Regulatory Committee says that as well as getting tough on offenders, officers hope to increase public awareness of regulations in these areas to help reduce future infringements.

"People often think that it is fine to put some extra signs outside their business or to pave their entire section, but these actions can negatively impact others. Whether it is a pedestrian who finds there is limited room to walk on the footpath or a neighbour whose section is flooded when water runs from a neighbour's paved section into theirs," she says.

"Although they may not be widely understood, these regulations are there for a reason and council is finding increasing numbers of people who seek to push the limits."

"We ask those who witness illegal activities to contact Auckland City so that we can respond and take care of these issues. By working together in partnership, with the public acting as our eyes and ears, we can have more of an impact on the appearance of our city."

Amongst the priorities is town centre clutter, which will focus particularly on illegal signs, street trading and displays, verandahs and awnings and materials on public places. This focus seeks to address the broader concerns of pedestrian safety, access to public transport and parking, visual amenity and an enjoyable shopping experience in town centres. Often retailers are unaware of the rules, so officers will be visiting town centres and discussing issues with them.

Tree offences are increasingly committed by offenders damaging or cutting down protected specimens at night or using unqualified contractors. Officers will distribute information on requirements relating to trees and encourage the public to contact the council if they see anything they consider suspicious.

Excess paving is becoming an increasing problem across the city. As we cover the city with buildings, roads and other paved surfaces, pressure on the city's stormwater system increases, as does the likelihood of flooding and water pollution. The district plan specifies the maximum amount of paved surface permitted on a site, as well as minimum percentages of permeable surface. Permeable surfaces, such as grass and garden areas, let water soak into the ground instead of running off and overloading stormwater systems. The rules vary depending on the zoning of your property. Guidelines are available from Auckland City.

To combat illegal rubbish dumping, officers will identify sites and communities where this is a recurring problem and, as well as prosecuting offenders, will work to promote the waste management services available. Illegal dumping costs ratepayers money as well as wasting the time of council officers who have to clean up the mess.

Lastly, officers will focus on addressing a number of issues that often arise from private construction projects including mud on roads, storage of building materials on the berm and under protected trees, obstructing and damaging footpaths, and construction traffic management. Although responses to these issues already exist, Auckland City will consolidate its efforts to obtain an overall "site audit" approach to incident management.

For more information on regulations relating to the issues above, visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz or call Auckland City on 379 2020.

ENDS

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