Some of Auckland’s planning rules have changed to enable greater housing density in the region’s urban areas.
For many Auckland property owners, this means you are now allowed to build up to three homes of up to three storeys on your residential site, such as townhouses and terrace housing, provided you comply with all other development rules and standards before construction begins.
Central government’s new density rules, the Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS), also include allowing greater building height in relation to boundary and increasing building coverage on sites, enabling (but not requiring) more homes to be built.
Find out if the new rules apply to you
Your first step is to put your address into the new planning map (Plan Change 78). Here you will find your property summary, outlining your property zone. Your zone determines what development rules apply to your site.
Click here for a simple guide to accessing your property summary.
Your second step is to check your property summary to see if it is subject to a ‘qualifying matter’, or exemption, that limits building heights and density in some areas.
The new density rules only apply to properties in residential zones that are not subject to a qualifying matter.
Qualifying matters are characteristics within some areas that will limit intensification, such as sites of cultural, historic, or ecological significance, areas with natural hazards, or where there are certain infrastructure constraints.
What can I do in my zone?
The plan change is proposing to change some of Auckland’s residential zones. Most residential properties in Auckland's urban areas are proposed to come under one of three zones:
- Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings Zone (now allowing for buildings of six storeys or more)
- Mixed Housing Urban Zone (now allowing for three dwellings of up to three storeys)
- Low Density Residential Zone (qualifying matters apply, limited to two storeys)
Next step – can I start to build?
Although the new medium density standards remove the need for most property owners to seek resource consent to develop their properties for up to three dwellings, there are other resource consenting requirements that remain part of the Auckland Unitary Plan and Resource Management Act.
It is therefore likely that any property owner who intends to utilise the new medium density standards will require resource consent approval, for example, to subdivide the site or assess the earthworks needed for construction.
Click here for more information on resource consents.
Please note, all building plans will still be subject to a building consent process, and as part of this assessment, Auckland Council will consider if any resource consents are also required. If any are needed, the building consent application will be paused until resource consent has been obtained.
Auckland Council’s resource consents team advises anyone looking to develop their property to discuss with their industry professional (planner, architect, surveyor, draftsperson, builder) what regulatory requirements they can expect before construction can begin.
What changes are still to come?
Auckland Council has publicly notified a proposed plan change to the Auckland Unitary Plan, (Plan Change 78) that responds to the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD).
This requires the council to enable buildings of six storeys or more within walking distances of Auckland’s city centre, 10 large metropolitan centres, and around rapid transit stops - Auckland’s train and busway stations.
It also proposes the qualifying matters that are relevant and important to Auckland to limit building heights and density requirements in some areas.
People can make a submission to give their views on the changes between 18 August to 29 September 2022 through the Auckland Council website.
An Independent Hearing Panel will review all submissions and hear from submitters. They will then make recommendations to the council on changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan by March 2024. The council is required to make its final decisions by 31 March 2024.