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New Development – Do you provide access and parking or not?

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Are you thinking of developing your property? Quite often the first questions that come to mind are around the number of houses you can get on the site, but there is more to development than just how many dwellings a site can hold. Parking, access and manoeuvring for new development is quite often an afterthought, but something that impacts people’s day to day accessibility to places, the ease of getting around our environments and overall enjoyment of their home and community. It also impacts on how much people will pay for a new dwelling, either to live in or for a rental.


In this blog series, we’ll be covering off some of the “must knows” in planning terms, before you get too far with your development plans and resource consent application. In our last three blogs, we discussed the implications of the site’s zoning and overlays (blog here), how site features can impact development potential (blog here) and how to maximise your development (blog here). This blog will look at transportation both in terms of constraints and opportunities.


Parking

In the planning world, parking is discussed a lot and the requirements have recently undergone some big changes in New Zealand. With the introduction of the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, Auckland Council was required to remove car parking minimums from the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) (AUP(OP)). Its no secret that Kiwis love their cars, and in some locations for good reason- many parts of our cities and environments are not set up well to provide for public transport access in all areas. So, is the removal of car parking provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan in the best interest of future owners and occupiers of developments, or just in the interest of creating more development and more housing without considering the limitations of some areas of Auckland? It’s definitely a chicken and egg situation- hopefully public transport options will expand at pace but at the moment there are many areas where this isn’t a viable or reliable option for residents to get around.



When planning a new development, it is important to consider your desired end user and what they may need given the sites location. Owners and occupiers usually want and need at least one parking space, or access to a vehicle, especially if they have a family. Or maybe the area your development is located is not on a public transport route, so people have to travel by car to get to their place of work, or to access shops and community facilities.


Not providing parking on the site may save space, enable further development and comply with the Unitary Plan provisions but depending on the services available at that location, it may reduce the desirability for your ideal buyers. In some locations, private vehicle use is such a necessity that providing no parking may reduce or remove the attraction of your development to a wider range of people. This can impact on the number of people interested in living in the development, and the price people are willing to pay for it. This balance between yield and overall profitability is always a balance that you need to investigate thoroughly.


So, whilst there are no longer parking minimums in the Auckland Unitary Plan, there is more to be considered when it comes to parking. Some key things to consider when deciding whether your development should have parking or not include:


  • Your target market. If constructing a three-four bedroom dwelling would a family with children realistically live in your unit? If it’s a higher end development, would these buyers expect a carpark (or maybe two)?

  • What’s the proximity to public transport (if greater than 800m from your site, best to consider how people will get around other than by walking);

  • Proximity to work places, businesses, retail, and community services and facilities. Can people get to these without having a car?;

  • Does your floor plan have enough storge? Many people use garages for some degree of storage- can that fit somewhere else on the site?

  • Does the street have capacity for any on-street parking?

  • Have discussions with your planner and architect on what the best layout and design of the site is given its location, orientation, accessibility. Does providing parking impact negatively on the overall look and feel of the development?

  • Can you accommodate bicycle parking, loading spaces, pedestrian access? Where will couriers, and moving trucks park? Can they park on the road?

  • Can some dwellings have parking and some not? It may be possible to mix and match with the parking provided.


Your planner and architect can help guide you with these more fundamental questions.


Access and manoeuvring

Access to a site is important, not only for vehicles but for pedestrians, cyclists and also emergency vehicles. Also think about deliveries, and larger vehicles such as trucks when people move in. For a larger development, do you need a waste truck to be able to access the site?



Access is something we often see get squeezed to its smallest possible dimension (quite often with a number of Unitary Plan infringements and resource consent triggers) as people try to maximise the amount of ‘useable’ space for buildings and future residents. And rightly so, we want to ensure our living spaces are ample, attractive and enable us to live our lives well. But every day, in some way, we use the access to and from our homes, and if it is inconvenient, difficult to manoeuvre or poorly considered it can cause issues with how we access and utilise our spaces.


Access also is not just how vehicles access the site, it is also about how pedestrians, cyclists, emergency services and visitors access the sites too. Here are a few things to consider around providing access to development:

  • Is it useable and easily accessible, e.g. is it wide enough for modern vehicles, and meeting the minimum requirements under the AUP(OP)? Is it safe?

  • If parking is not provided, pedestrian and cycle facilities are even more important. Think about dedicated pedestrian access with lighting and dedicated bicycle/ scooter storage facilities, for each unit individually or in a communal space.

  • Is the access longer than 50 metres and are passing bays required?

  • Is the gradient for the manoeuvring area, access and parking spaces useable and able to be navigated? You’d be surprised at the number of times we see areas where all 4 wheels of a car will not be on the ground due to the gradient, or a vehicle will bottom- out trying to get into a garage.

  • Is reverse manoeuvring required, so vehicles can manoeuvre on- site and exit in a forward direction? Particularly if further than 30m from the road, the access serves more than four parking spaces, it gains access from an arterial road or within a Vehicle Access Restriction,

  • Is the sites access within a Vehicle Access Restriction (VAR), where it is within 10 metres of any intersection, is identified within one on the Unitary Plan Planning Maps, has a frontage to an arterial road or is located closer than 30m to a railway level crossing limit line.


There are a number of potential resource consent triggers related to site access and manoeuvring. The most important things to consider though are ensuring safety and efficiency- don’t let needing a resource consent deter you from designing a development that meets your goals, as long as it provides an appropriate and safe traffic outcome.


Proposed Plan Change 79

Proposed Plan Change 79 is an amendment to the transportation provisions of the Auckland Unitary Plan and it seeks to manage the impacts of development on Auckland’s transport network, with a focus on pedestrian safety, accessible car parking, loading and heavy vehicle management, and catering for EV-charging and cycle parking. You can find more details on the contents of Proposed Plan Change 79 in our blog here. It is important to note that at the time of writing this blog Plan Change 79 does not have legal effect, but it may do when you lodge your resource consent application if you’re beginning design now. We encourage you to discuss your resource consent timing and strategy with your planner.


Proposed Plan Change 79 may see small scale residential development including greater emphasis on pedestrian safety through lighting and access. It will also see the necessary infrastructure for EV supply equipment installation be provided wherever parking spaces are proposed. Cycle parking is likely to be required in a covered secure space where a dedicated parking space is not provided for a dwelling, and include e-bike charging capability. So, whilst parking may not be required, other modes of transport such as pedestrian access and movement as well as facilities that support cycling are likely to be required to a greater extent under Plan Change 79.


Want to know more?

Developing a site to achieve high-quality design outcomes is not just whether to have parking or not but one requires specific assessment and analysis. A planner will guide you through the development design process, and help you get the best outcome for your land and ensure you can meet your development goals.


If you have a project in mind, get in contact. You can contact us on hello@planningplus.co.nz or (09) 427 9966 to discuss your proposal with our experienced team.


Charlotte Vellinga is a Senior Planner at Planning Plus® and has over 10 years’ experience in resource management, working in both local government and the private sector. This includes time spent at Auckland Council as a Senior Planner where she processed a wide variety of resource consent applications. Charlotte has extensive experience in the resource management field including residential, rural, commercial, heritage and coastal development as well as subdivisions ranging from small to large scale.

Charlotte holds a Bachelor of Planning with Honours from the University of Auckland and is an Intermediate Member of the New Zealand Planning Institute.


Disclaimer

Please remember that the advice in this blog is general in nature and based on information and advice available at the time of writing. We recommend you get your own planning advice. 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 from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions. © Planning Plus Ltd 2023


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