Auckland suburbs rezoned for apartments: Is your home affected?

Aucklanders can now see if their home or neighbourhood could be rezoned for apartment blocks of at least six storeys using a tool developed by the Herald.

Auckland Council has released a proposed approach for implementing a directive from the Government to require more housing intensification across the city.

In the biggest change to planning rules since the Unitary Plan, apartment buildings of six storeys or more will be permitted in many of the city’s single-house and heritage suburbs.

As a rule of thumb, the new apartment zones will stretch from a 15-minute walk at the edge of the central city and a 10-minute at the edge of 10 metropolitan centres.

The metropolitan centres are Albany, Botany, Henderson, Manukau, New Lynn, Newmarket, Papakura, Sylvia Park, Takapuna and Westgate/Massey North.

The new apartment zones also cover a 10-minute walk from every train station on the Western, Southern and Eastern rail lines and stops along the Northern Busway, according to the council.

The council said the walks are a general guide and take into account a number of factors, like hills and barriers, such as motorways and busy roads, which are difficult or unpleasant for pedestrians.

Auckland Council strategy chief Megan Tyler said the Government plans for intensification “will mean changes to the way we work and live and how our city works”.

The changes have been prompted by the Government’s National Policy Statement (NPS) on Urban Development aimed at high growth cities like Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.

By law, Tyler said, the council must implement the NPS which has strong and prescriptive requirements for the council to enable greater building height and density across the city.

Council officers and councillors at tomorrow’s planning committee will begin working through what the changes mean for the council while protecting things close to Aucklanders’ hearts, including heritage and volcanic viewshafts.

The first cut includes changes to the central city and 10 metropolitan centres, covering about 10 per cent of the Super City. A second paper next month will look at the rest of the city.

Tyler said the council’s approach is the start of a long and detailed policy and public consultation process in August next year before changes are made to the Unitary Plan, which came into effect in 2016.

She said there is limited flexibility for the council to tailor the NPS, but it is looking at retaining protection for some of the 30,000 homes in “special character areas”, such as Ponsonby, Parnell and Devonport, in the Unitary Plan.

Not all character houses in these suburbs will be protected. Others will be rezoned to allow them to be replaced with apartment blocks.

Tyler said Auckland already achieves many of the objectives of the NPS in the Unitary Plan. For example, the city centre allows for significant high-rise development and most metropolitan areas enable buildings greater than six storeys.

Under the NPS, the council must also remove rules for minimum off-street parking for new developments and be more responsive to private plan changes that add significant numbers of new homes and businesses near transport corridors.

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