Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Uncertain times ahead for Auckland Council's Unitary Plan

Photo / Brett Phibbs
Photo / Brett Phibbs

New zoning rules allowing for greater residential intensification could be put on hold, pending a legal challenge to Auckland Council's Unitary Plan.

The council's governing body will be asked to make the Auckland Unitary Plan operative in part tomorrow, following an assessment of 106 appeals lodged with the Environment Court and High Court.

Regulatory Services director Penny Pirrit today said that most of the appeals relate to specific sites or provisions in the plan, meaning various parts of the plan can be made operative.

In practical terms, this will add greater complexity and a degree of uncertainty for applicants while the appeal process is ongoing
Penny Pirrit, Auckland Council

However, a joint appeal lodged by Auckland 2040 and the Character Coalition, which is broad in scope, has the potential to impact residential development across Auckland, she said.

Because that appeal challenges certain zoning decisions, the zoning maps cannot become operative until that appeal is resolved. This may mean that applications for resource consent to develop a property will also need to be assessed against the current planning zones and rules.

"Until all appeals are resolved, Auckland Council is required to assess all resource consent applications against parts of both the old and new plans," said Ms Pirrit.

"Decisions will need to be made on a case by case basis as to how much weight can be given to the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan versus the operative legacy district and regional plans."

"In practical terms, this will add greater complexity and a degree of uncertainty for applicants while the appeal process is ongoing."

Ms Pirrit said the process and timeframe for resolving the appeals is a matter for the courts, however the council will be working with all parties to ensure that they are resolved as quickly as possible.

Last year Auckland Council processed close to 15,000 resource consents.

- NZ Herald

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