Reality of new housing density rules sinks in

By Marianne Kelly

An application to Auckland Council to replace two houses on adjoining sections with 15 townhouses has nearby residents alarmed. It’s also a portent of things to come now that the Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) is operative (in part).

WORRIES: Some residents are not happy with plans to replace two houses on Hattaway Avenue with 15 townhouses. Photo Wayne Martin

The development, involving two properties in Hattaway Avenue, Bucklands Beach, is presently being assessed by council planning officers.

Under the AUP, the area is zoned “mixed housing suburban” (MHS) which allows for houses up to two storeys, detached and attached. But Dean and Julie Brickell, who live next door, along with a group of other residents, have taken their concerns to the council, believing that the type of development will have a detrimental effect on Bucklands Beach .

In a letter to the council, Barry Miller says the development should be considered as
a notifiable consent and treated as if it were two separate titles.

“The changes this proposal makes under one title development are a long way from the
expectation of the residents of Bucklands Beach,” he says.

Among other concerns are the detrimental effect the development may have on nearby
property values; creating huge parking issues, already a problem in the street; more environmental damage caused by storm water being piped out to the beach; and not being in keeping with the rest of development in the area.

“This development will stand out like an undesirable beacon that the people of Bucklands
Beach don’t want,” Mr Miller says. Immediate neighbours are concerned at the close proximity their houses will be to the townhouses and car parking spaces or carports planned for the other side of the fence.

Under the AUP, only one parking space per unit is required instead of two, which, the Brickells expect to result in between 10 and 15 additional cars trying to fit on the street in a place where previously maybe two were parked. Existing parking issues in summer with
the beach nearby will be compounded.

In a reply to the residents, a council planning spokesman says a recommendation on
whether the Hattaway Avenue application needs to be processed on a notified or nonnotified basis has not yet been made.

“Without a doubt the AUP has changed what the potential nature of residential development
will be like in Auckland in the coming decades,” he says. “The AUP has had to address
a need to create more houses at a rate never experienced by Auckland before.”

However, he says, within the MHS zone many of the development standards have not
changed significantly from the previous Manukau District Plan.

The height standard of eight metres remains the same and the yard and “height in relation
to boundary standards” are not significantly different. The site cover is 40 per cent compared
with Manukau legacy zoning of 35 per cent.

“The big change with the AUP,” he says, “is that it does not dictate how many houses a
site can accommodate. This is left to a developer to see how they use their 40 per cent site
cover allowance.

“With current housing stock of predominantly three-four bedrooms, the council is receiving
many developments that are having more of a mix of two three bedrooms. Throughout
many parts of Auckland there will be quite a change happening to the established character
of suburbs as we try and find a solution for a rapidly expanding population without expanding
the urban limits too rapidly.”

The AUP says that resource consent is required for three or more dwellings in the MHS zone. Any resource consent application will be considered without public or limited notification or the need to obtain the written approval from affected parties unless the council decides that special circumstances exist.