For those of you in Auckland, you may have seen the large number of proposed plan changes notified recently. There is A LOT of change proposed to the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP), including what will require resource consent. The amount of change proposed can seem overwhelming, but this isn’t necessarily the case when you break it down and look at what’s relevant to your site and your development. Not all of the changes have immediate legal effect either.
Image source: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
What are the proposed plan changes?
There were six main proposed plan changes notified on 18 August 2022. These are:
PC 78: Intensification;
PC 79: Amendments to the transport provisions;
PC 80: RPS Well-Functioning Urban Environment, Resilience to the Effects of Climate Change and Qualifying Matters;
PC 81: Additions to Schedule 14 Historic Heritage Schedule;
PC 82: Amendments to Schedule 14 Historic Heritage Schedule;
PC 83: Additions and amendments to Schedule 10 Notable Trees Schedule.
These are related to changes required by central government, including by the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS- UD) and the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021. The plan changes relate to the intensification sought by these documents, changes to heritage protection, tree protection and new/ altered transportation related provisions. These are summarised below.
Proposed Plan Change 78- Intensification (PC78)
We discussed Plan Change 78 in last week’s blog (you can access it here) and we will look at it in more detail in future blogs. This proposed plan change is lengthy and contains most of the changes proposed to the Auckland Unitary Plan. It has wide ranging potential impacts on development and resource consents, and parts have immediate legal effect. We suggest you get project and site-specific planning advice on how PC78 affects you.
Proposed Plan Change 79: Amendments to the transport provisions (PC79)
We will be providing more detail on this proposed plan change in the near future, so at this stage the following is a high-level overview. At a high level, PC79 relates to:
Issues relating to the removal of parking minimums and how this interacts with the proposed urban intensification in Auckland. The removal of parking minimum was also required by the NPS- UD, and while good intentioned is having some flow on practical effects on how developments function and safety impacts.
Issues relating to pedestrian and vehicle access provisions for private accessways in residential zones.
Broadly speaking changes relate to:
Universal access, including addressing issues that removal of parking minimums has created in relation to universal access parking not being provided.
Pedestrian access, in particular when this is the only access to a development. This includes consideration of path width, passing areas, gradient and safety issues.
Heavy vehicle access, in particular for waste/ recycling related trucks.
Cycle parking and access.
Electric vehicle charging.
Effects of development on the transport network.
Access into developments, including width of access, speed management and ensuring emergency vehicles can access developments.
Clarifying inconsistences between Unitary Plan Chapters E27 (Transport) and E38 (Urban Subdivision).
You can find out more in this useful summary from Auckland Council (here).
Proposed Plan Change 80: RPS Well-Functioning Urban Environment, Resilience to the Effects of Climate Change and Qualifying Matters (PC80)
PC80 relates to changes to the Auckland Regional Policy Statement to support the intensification changes sought by Plan Change 78 (Intensification). It includes references to a well-functioning urban environment, new references to climate change (including coastal erosion and inundation related to sea level rise over the next 100+ years) and managed retreat. The proposed plan change also refers to improving resilience to urban heating, including by increasing urban tree canopy cover. These proposed changes can be seen filtering down into new rules and Standards in PC78, such as proposed requirements for deep soil areas and planting canopy trees on some urban sites.
Proposed Plan Change 81: Additions to Schedule 14 Historic Heritage Schedule (PC81)
This is a discrete plan change, affecting 11 specific heritage places which are to be introduced to Schedule 14 and the Auckland Unitary Plan maps, making them subject to the Historic Heritage Overlay of the Auckland Unitary Plan. This will impact on what can and can’t be done on these sites/ to these features and resource consent triggers. These 11 places are comprised of seven individual historic heritage places and four historic heritage areas. You can find a list of the places here.
Proposed Plan Change 82: Amendments to Schedule 14 Historic Heritage Schedule (PC82)
This proposed plan change seeks to amend Unitary Plan provisions related to historic heritage places that are already scheduled (Schedule 14). This includes the Category and, in some cases, supporting information. 14 historic heritage places are also proposed for deletion from Schedule 14 of the Auckland Unitary Plan as they do not meet the required criteria and thresholds for inclusion.
These changes will affect resource consent requirements for the related sites and/ or features. You can find out more here.
Proposed Plan Change 83: Additions and amendments to Schedule 10 Notable Trees Schedule (PC83)
The Auckland Unitary Plan specifically identifies and schedules trees that are of particular value, referred to as notable trees. These are scheduled in the AUP in Schedule 10, and meet specific criteria set out in the Auckland Regional Policy Statement (Chapter B of the Auckland Unitary Plan). Often works to or near notable trees requires resource consent. The proposed plan change seeks to introduce 24 new trees and/ or groups of trees to Schedule 10, and to change information related to 64 existing listings in this Schedule (including updates due to errors in the listing, updating legal descriptions of the sites due to subdivision and removing the listing where the trees have been removed).
The proposed plan change also seeks to introduce an automatic update clause to enable some updates to Schedule 10 to happen outside of the usual plan change process set out in the RMA. This is primarily when a legal description of the related site changes or a tree is removed. You can find out more here.
Making a submission
These proposed plan changes represent a huge change to the Auckland Unitary Plan and resource consent triggers. We recommend people get involved, even if you are in support of the changes make a submission in support. Auckland Council have made this easier by adding submission buttons on its website (on each individual plan change page). There is also a “Friend of the Submitter” process that you can use to assist with your submissions. Submissions are open until 29 September 2022.
If you would like to discuss your project and how these plan changes affect it, please get in contact. You can contact our experienced team on firstname.lastname@example.org or (09) 427 9966.
Hannah Thomson is Director of Planning Plus™ and has over 20 years of resource management experience working in both local government and the private sector. This includes five years at Rodney District Council in roles including Senior Planner and Team Leader. Hannah has a wide range of experience including commercial, rural, residential and coastal development and subdivision on small to large scales and appearances at both Council and Environment Court as an expert witness for mediation and hearings. Hannah has assisted Councils with policy development and has also assisted private individuals with submissions to Council.
Hannah holds the qualifications of BSc (Environmental Science) and Master of Applied Science (Environmental Management), is a Member (Int) of the New Zealand Planning Institute and Secretary of the New Zealand Planning Institute Auckland Branch Committee. Hannah is also a member of the Resource Management Law Association.
Please remember that the advice in this blog is general in nature and based on information and advice available at the time of writing. Review and interpretation of the plan changes, and how they will be administered, is evolving. We recommend you get your own planning advice for your own development. As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and we have used our best endeavours to ensure it is correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions.
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