With Auckland Council completing its final decisions on the Auckland Unitary Plan we take a closer look at the Waitākere Ranges.
Under the new Auckland Unitary Plan the council remains strongly committed to the preserving the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area.
The Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area is 27,700 hectares of public and private land characterised by its exceptional and diverse native landscape, wildlife, heritage sites and Regional Park providing recreational opportunities for all Aucklanders.
It is of such national, regional and local significance that the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act was introduced in 2008 to preserve the unique character and natural and cultural heritage of the local area and its communities.
John Duguid, General Manager Plans and Places, says Auckland Council has accepted some changes to planning rules in the area that were recommended by the Independent Hearings Panel but also maintains many of the same protections that have existed previously.
“The existing legislation remains in place along with its objectives for the long-term protection and enhancement of the Waitākere Ranges for present and future generations.
“A new Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Overlay has been created to protect the natural environment containing specific rules for some activities within the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area including subdivision and scheduled sites.
“This is alongside the creation of two new rural zones, the Waitākere Ranges zone and the Waitākere Foothills zone.
“Where it is not otherwise specifically provided, the council also adopted the recommendation from the Panel to change rules for subdivision from being a prohibited to a non-complying activity.
“The Panel considered non-complying status appropriate because of the robust assessment that would be required.
“A non-complying activity is a high level to overcome, requiring an application for resource consent to be thoroughly tested against all relevant provisions of the Resource Management Act, Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act and the Auckland Unitary Plan.
“The new Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Overlay also contains objectives and policies guiding further subdivision, use and development within the area.
“This means the bar is set really high in terms of subdivision and development. The council believes that provisions in the new zones and overlay will retain protection of the unique landscapes and heritage of the Waitākere Ranges.”