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How much parking do I need?

Updated: Feb 20

Car parking is often the subject of discussion and complaints- parking requirements are too high, there isn’t enough car parking, more people should be using public transport… the list goes on. The reality is that most people still use cars to some degree, and we need somewhere for them to be parked. So how do you figure out how many car parking spaces your development needs?

District Plans

District plans set out the rules and standards applicable for parking. You will need to review these to understand:

  • The number of spaces your development requires. Note that in some areas, such as Auckland, there is a minimum and a maximum number of car parks for activities in certain areas,

  • The required size of the car parking spaces,

  • Maneuvering areas,

  • The location of car parking areas.


The first thing to check is the zoning, as the parking required differs depending on the sites zoning and in some cases the location. This relates, in part, to the expected accessibility to other transport modes (such as buses, trains and bicycle lanes) in some areas and the expected reliance on cars.

Activity types

Once you know the zoning of the site, you need to know the “activity” type. This is because the parking ratio is based on the activity type. Activity types could include:

  • Dwelling,

  • Office,

  • Retail,

  • Warehouse,

  • Industrial activity,

  • Care centre.

You should check the definitions chapter of the district plan, to make sure you’re looking at the right activity type. If in doubt, check with your planner, as getting the activity type wrong will have impacts on the parking required and potentially your development design and layout.

Once you know the zoning and the activity type, you can identify the correct parking ratio, and then work out how much parking your specific proposal required. If you can’t meet this, you will need a resource consent.

What if there more than one activity type on the site?

In this case you will need to work out the parking required for each activity individually and add them together to find out the parking required for the site development overall.

What if my activity needs a fraction/ part of a parking space?

A parking requirement is based on a ratio, which often leads to calculations resulting in a fractional parking space. In these cases, does the number of parking spaces required get rounded up or down? This may vary in some district plans, but generally any fraction that is less than one-half will be disregarded and any fraction of one-half or more will be counted as one space.

How big does the car park need to be?

Each district plan will detail how wide and long a car park must be, and this differs depending on the angle of the space. The maneuvering area also varies depending on the type of car park you’re proposing. Always check the requirements in your area, as non- compliance will trigger the need for a resource consent. There is also a very physical implication too- there’s no point having a car parking space if it’s not wide enough to open the doors, or you can’t get out of the space without doing a 50- point turn!

What about other types of “parking”?

In addition to car parking, there are also requirements for loading and bicycle parking. Again, these vary depending on your district plan, the activity you propose and the zone. Non- compliance will require a resource consent. Bicycle parking reflects the desire for people to use more active modes of transport and reduce reliance on cars; while it can seen pointless in some cases, peoples preferences for transportation change over time and there is an increase in uptake of non- car modes in more recent times. Providing for bike parks is usually relatively easy within most developments as they don’t take up a lot of space; we’d encourage people to provide for this.

Loading space is a functional need for may larger scale activities and is needed to ensure safety and traffic flows on the roading network.

Transport in Auckland

In Auckland, the Auckland Unitary Plan sets outs rules and Standards for traffic related issues, including parking. These provisions of the plan are operative, and you can access them here. This also sets out the activity types that require resource consent. Also remember that Auckland Transport is involved in some aspects of land development, including input into resource consent applications where certain triggers are met. Works in the road reserve and encroachment into the road reserves by structures and activities also require input and approval/s from Auckland Transport; make sure you know early the different approvals you will need and when you need to obtain them.

Need more advice?

If you’re investigating potential development of a site and need more planning advice, get in contact. You can contact us on or 09 427 9966. We have extensive experience with resource consents, undertaking work on behalf of private clients, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport. We know the process inside out; give us a call.


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.

© Planning Plus Ltd 2024

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