Auckland Housing Accord good start

Published: Sat 11 May 2013 11:05 AM
Auckland Housing Accord good start to revision of Auckland’s Unitary Plan.
A commentary from….
David Thornton Writer Commentator on Local Government.
[Former member North Shore City Council, Glenfield Community Board, Greater London Council.
Former RMA qualified Commissioner. Founder]
Addressing the urgency of Auckland’s housing needs, including affordable homes, is well signposted in the Accord signed between Council and Government.
Commencing urban expansion in the proposed RUB [Rural Urban Boundary] was a central proposal in my earlier commentary on Auckland’s draft Unitary Plan (UP), allowing more time for Council and communities to engage in face to face reviews of the intensification proposals in the draft UP.
The last seven days have seen many more ‘protest’ meetings organised and attended by hundreds of residents angry at the Council’s blanket rezoning of properties across the entire city/region.
The new Accord is in fact within the general pattern the Council was forced to accept for development, OUT as well as UP. The Accord changes the timing – OUT will come at the beginning instead of the end of the 30-year plan period.
But the Accord will need early agreement with affected rural communities, but I suspect the likely candidates have been aware of the inevitability of urban expansion at some time.
The danger for urban dwellers today, especially the intensification protesters, is that the Accord will not be activated until the draft plan is notified and becomes the Proposed Unitary Plan which will trigger the formal submission process under the Resource Management Act.
That danger lies in the way the Council may deal with planning applications after notification, and how much weight decision-makers may give to rules in the draft plan – especially concerning rezoning which allows significant intensification including 2-storey upwards apartment blocks to be built.
The way forward on the Unitary Plan will continue to arouse conflict, but at least the Accord should allow much needed housing stock to be built including provision for affordable homes.

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