Auckland’s new housing plan imposes height limits

The new Auckland unitary plan places 99 residential zones from legacy plans into five different residential zones.

It also sets varying height restrictions in different areas (see box). For example, Auckland central will have no restriction, while areas dubbed “metro centres”, such as Henderson, New Lynn and Botany, will have an 18-storey limit.

Auckland residents now have 10 weeks to submit feedback on the plan, launched on Friday, which the council wants to notifiy after August this year.

A design manual will be created to ensure buildings produced under the new plan are of high quality.

The draft unitary plan recommends design statements may be required for areas where design is identified as important, or where there is recognised special character.

However, the Auckland Design Manual, which will give guidance on how to prepare design statements, will not be released until September.

This prompted concern from residents, who will not be able to give feedback on it during the 10-week period.

But Auckland Council regional strategy manager Ree Anderson says what will be enforceable is in the plan.

“The design guide is to help interpret those areas right. So the enforceability for good, quality living is still in the plan.”

Cranleigh Strategic director Martin Udale says he would like to see more possibilities in mixed housing zones.

“I’d like to see that higher, or signalled that it could be, just so people don’t believe they are cut off at two levels.”

Ngati Whatua o Orakei trustee and Auckland Waterfront development board member Ngarimu Blair says there are concerns about arbitrary height rules.

“With eight-metre height restrictions there is the possibility of developers building short, squat, ugly things rather than responding to the place and the environment itself.”

Mr Blair says he hopes the rules might be more flexible so a building can respond to the enviroment it is created in. 

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