Aucklanders will learn about proposed changes to their properties on Wednesday next week when the final recommendations for a new planning rulebook go public.

After three years of debate, submissions and hearings on the Unitary Plan, an independent hearings panel will deliver its recommendations to Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town on Friday afternoon.

The council has 20 working days to consider the recommendations and publicly notify its decisions by August 19.

After officers have scanned the panel's reports and recommendations, they will brief councillors on Wednesday morning. After a media briefing the documents will go online in the afternoon.


Aucklanders will be able to go onto the council website and type in their address to get details of their property, including recommended zoning and what can be built and where.

The council is setting up an inquiry line to help people find details of their property and understand the planning jargon.

Regulatory services director Penny Pirrit said it was understood the independent hearings panel, set up under special legislation, would provide an overview report summarising any big recommended policy shifts, recommended changes to the Unitary Plan and reports on 60 individual hearing topics.

It is understood these reports would total about 1000 pages and the panel's recommended plan another 1000 pages.

Pirrit said a small number of staff would look at the documents over the weekend and early next week and by Wednesday would only have a "very superficial understanding because this is a very complex document".

Officers would continue analysing the documents before councillors meet from August 10 to begin considering the recommendations in public, she said.

Councillors will meet from August 10-12. Reserve days are set down from August 15-18.

Under a strict legal framework, the council must either accept or reject each recommendation from the panel.

If the council rejects a recommendation it must explain why and provide an alternative solution that is within the scope of submissions made on the proposed plan.

The council can accept a recommendation outside the scope of public submissions but only if it is recommended by the panel. The panel must identify any of its recommendations to council that are beyond the scope of submissions.

There are limited rights of appeal to the Environment Court and High Court.

If the council rejects a panel recommendation, whoever made a submission on the topic may appeal to the Environment Court.

If the council accepts a panel recommendation that it identifies as beyond the scope of a submission, anyone, whether they made a submission or not, can appeal to the Environment Court if they will be unduly affected by the decision.

There is provision to appeal decisions on designations and heritage orders, and submitters can appeal to the High Court on points of law only.

Next steps

July 22:

Independent hearings panel presents its recommendations to Auckland Council

July 27: Councillors and media briefed before panel's material goes public on council website

August 10-18: Council makes decisions on the plan

August 19: Council decisions publicly notified on council website