Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Council members meet to discuss building heights

Auckland Council members meet today on the thorny issue of building heights in town centres - their first grab at the 22,700 items in the draft unitary plan mail bag.

The meeting will set the principles of development generally rather than go through the plan area by area, said Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse.

"It is about the principles we use: how will we make final decisions on height; how we will strike a balance between the height of various areas, and the impact of terrace housing and the apartment designs."

Mrs Hulse said an area by area examination of appropriate zoning - in response to request for changes - must wait until all the feedback submissions had been coded according to theme, topic and type.

So far, more than 8000 items of feedback were classed and by the end of the week the rest would be ready for analysis and summary.

Feedback from the Shape Auckland housing simulator and a summary of social media comment would also be reported over the coming week.

Key issues would go before a series of private workshops between councillors and local board members.

Today's workshop is the first in a series that will consider feedback on parking, shopping, residential controls, urban sprawl, rural development, water quality and quantity, natural hazards and genetically modified organisms.

Directions set at the workshops will go to the meetings of councillors on the Auckland Plan Committee about August 28-30, which will recommend changes to the plan before it is notified for formal consultation.

Mrs Hulse said she made no apology for the workshops excluding the public.

"There will be free and frank discussions while retaining confidentiality, because we are talking about people's property and that could be individual properties and that needs to be within the confines of the workshop."

The draft plan has caused alarm and Mrs Hulse said communities were helping to iron out its wrinkles and correct errors.

She said the plan would change once the council had worked out the principles and refinement.

- NZ Herald

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