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Mixed Housing Suburban & Urban Zone

Is the face of your neighbourhood about to change under the Auckland Unitary Plan?

The introduction of the Mixed Housing Zones could be changing the way that your neighbourhood looks. Many areas are having to wave goodbye to the kiwi dream of a family home on a quarter acre section. So, what is going to replace the residential homes that many of us are used to? Let’s explore that now.

The Mixed Housing Suburban Zone

The Auckland Unitary Plan has introduced The Mixed Housing Suburban Zone. This zone allows existing residential areas to be developed or redeveloped at a higher density to what they are currently. So effectively, more houses can be built in a smaller area than we are used to in Auckland.

It relates not only to greenfields areas but also areas that have the traditional Kiwi residential format we have all grown up with - one to two storey detached houses with a surrounding backyard, a garage and room for gardens.

Current rules allow for up to two dwellings on a section without needing resource consent. Resource consent is required for three or more dwellings (subject to meeting standards). There are a number of unresolved appeals to these rules currently seeking the ability to allow for even greater residential density, meaning more changes could be seen.

Mixed Housing Urban Zone

Another zone enabling more high-density housing is the Mixed Housing Urban Zone. Often this zoning has been provided near Metropolitan Town Centre Zones and Business Town Centre Zones to provide for urban living with good access to public transport, employment and services.

Again, up to two dwellings are allowed without needing a resource consent, with three or more dwellings triggering the need for consent. However, the Unitary Plan recognises that the visual appearance of these neighbourhoods will take on a different ‘look’, with the rules accommodating development up to three storeys.

While detached housing is still anticipated, there is also expected to be terrace housing and low-rise apartments in this zone.

Residential density

Issues related to the Auckland housing crisis and the need to accommodate greater residential density have been extensively documented and discussed, particularly in the last 5 years. However, it will be interesting to see if the public accept this change, when the opportunities provided under the zoning really start to accelerate on the ground. Particularly in those Mixed Housing Suburban and Urban zoned suburbs where there is an established neighbourhood.

Already we are seeing public resistance to the new rules, with a number of recent articles in local papers reporting on resident’s concerns. In these zones five, three-storey terraced homes are being developed on a site where previously there was only the traditional house and a garage, intermingled with garden and lawn. The new terrace homes are a noticeable change. This brings more people, more vehicle activity and undoubtedly a change to the amenity values (both visual and aural) of a residential living environment.

Is Auckland ready for this?

How ready are we for this change? Seeing as we are all so used to a low-density format of residential living. Is there is a gulf between what these zonings are trying to achieve to address housing shortages and growth pressures, compared with the tolerance of Aucklanders to live in higher density residential environments?

We can already see that this process will be one to watch. Especially if the reaction from current established lower density residential areas where the transformation is happening around people is anything to go by. It will be interesting to see what the over-riding public sentiment will be as sites are ‘picked off’ and developed one by one.

More changes?

This is only one example of the changes for development potential of land as a result of the Auckland Unitary Plan. If you are interested in learning about the development potential of your site, or a site you’re interested in buying, give us a call and speak to one of our friendly planners. 09 427 9966 or click here.

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

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