Submissions open on new intensification rules

From 18 August until 29 September 2022

Publish Date : 18 Aug 2022
Janna Development Pic Resize 2

Auckland Council is asking for feedback on changes to the city’s planning rulebook – the Auckland Unitary Plan – allowing for more housing at greater building heights and density across the city, with submissions open from 18 August to 29 September 2022.

Known as Plan Change 78, the proposed changes respond to the government’s 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.

Additionally, with the plan change publicly notified, the government’s new Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) also come into immediate legal effect from today, 18 August, allowing up to three houses of up to three-storeys to be built on most residential sites.

John Duguid, General Manager for Plans and Places, says the council is encouraging people to make their submission and give their views on changes to implement the NPS-UD and the MDRS.

“These changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan will have a major influence on how our city will grow in the years ahead.

The Auckland Unitary Plan already enables significant capacity for housing and development, however, the changes enable substantially more, creating capacity for housing that greatly exceeds the projected demand in Auckland over the next 30 years.

“The changes enable taller buildings within walking distances to our largest urban centres and public transport as well as changes to the rules for how people can choose to develop their property right across the city.

“The next six weeks of submissions on the NPS-UD is a very important opportunity for people to provide their views on what is proposed so that they can be considered by an Independent Hearings Panel when they make recommendations on changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan”, says Mr Duguid.

Submissions are open from today, 18 August until 29 September 2022. People can make a submission online through the Auckland Council website here.

There are also planning maps showing the proposed changes and instructions on how to use the maps.

New rules allowing 3-storey housing in force today

Central government’s new Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) also come into legal effect from today, August 18.

The MDRS increases the maximum number of dwellings before needing resource consent approval to three for most residential sites and introduces new standards for how properties can be developed, including allowing greater building height in relation to boundary and increased building coverage on sites.

Ian Smallburn, General Manager Resource Consents, says today marks the beginning of significant and complex changes as new density rules start to enable more higher-density housing across the city.  

“From today, many Auckland property owners are allowed to build up to three homes of up to three storeys, such as townhouses and terrace housing, as of right on their residential site without resource consent.

“However, as any development has potential impacts on the environment and on other people, property owners must still comply with all other rules and standards that remain under the Resource Management Act.

“This means it is likely that any property owner who wants to develop using the new density rules will still need resource consent approval to subdivide a site or for earthworks before construction begins.”

The MDRS rules apply to all residential properties, unless there is a ‘qualifying matter’, or exemption proposed for a property, which would limit building heights and density in some areas. Final decisions on the proposed qualifying matters are required by March 2024 at the conclusion of the statutory decision-making process.   

All building plans will still need a building consent, and as part of that assessment, the council will consider if any resource consents are also required.

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