Buildings of six storeys and taller get green light

People are being asked for feedback on changes to the rules around housing density. Times file photo Wayne Martin

An east Auckland suburb may soon be home to buildings six storeys high and taller as a result of changes the Government has made to housing density rules.

Auckland Council is seeking feedback from the public on proposed changes to the city’s Unitary Plan that will impact housing density including in the local area.

One of the suburbs that will be impacted by the changes is Botany.

The council says the Government has taken a stronger role in planning for growth in New Zealand’s largest and fastest-growing cities over the past few years.

This includes introducing rules to enable higher-density housing, such as apartments and townhouses, including in areas close to public transport and urban centres with shops, jobs, and community services, it says.

There are two significant Government planning reforms the council has to implement.

The first, the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, was introduced in August 2020.

It requires the council to enable greater housing density, with buildings of six storeys or more within “walkable” distance to the city centre, 10 metropolitan centres, and rapid transit stops.

The listed metropolitan centres are Botany, Manukau, Sylvia Park, Papakura, Newmarket, New Lynn, Henderson, Westgate, Takapuna, and Albany

Greater building heights and density is also required within and around neighbourhood, local, and town centres.

The second major reform is the Government’s Medium Density Residential Standards which allow three homes of up to three storeys to be built on most residential sites without resource consent.

The council says the requirements from the two major reforms mean much of Auckland’s urban area will enable medium- and high-density housing.

There will also be changes to the rules for how properties can be developed, which relates to land zoning.

The council has the power to decide the distances of walkable catchments where buildings of six storeys or more are required.

These include the areas around the city centre, rapid transit stops and the same 10 metropolitan centres.

It can also decide the building heights and density to enable within and next to other suburban, neighbourhood, local and town centres.

The council says once the submissions process has closed, an independent hearings panel (IHP) will consider all submissions and hear directly from people who submitted.

“They will then make recommendations to us on the necessary changes to the Auckland Unitary Plan.

“We must then decide to accept or reject the IHP recommendations.

“If a recommendation is rejected, the Minister for the Environment makes the final decision.”

Feedback must be received by midnight on Monday, May 9.

Go online to www.akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for more information and to submit feedback.