Moves are under way to stop high density housing in wealthy Remuera and the eastern suburbs along Tamaki Drive where mansions have recently changed hands for up to $17 million.

The Orakei Local Board is out to stop developments such as high rise apartments and retirement villages in leafy streets zoned for one house.

Today, the Local Board took its case to the council planning committee seeking support to change the Unitary Plan to make "integrated residential developments" a non-complying activity in the single house zone.

Under the Unitary Plan, integrated residential developments are possible on sites of more than 2000sq m.

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Grandeur with simplicity

Local Board planning spokesman Troy Churton told the committee the single house zone covered small pockets of precious and scarce land, saying the Unitary Plan allowed more permissive infill development in other housing zones.

He said it was the board's view that high density developments were contrary to the purpose of the single house zone and allowed developers to amalgamate 2000sq m of land and run roughshod over the purpose of the zone.

"This is a regional issue and nothing to do with socio economics and perceived blue chip, white chip, brown chip or whatever," Churton said to a question from Maori Statutory Board member Tau Henare.

"It's a simple solution and retains the integrity of the plan."

Planning committee chairman Chris Darby. Photo / Herald
Planning committee chairman Chris Darby. Photo / Herald

Churton won backing from most councillors, including Wayne Walker and John Watson, who supported action to address the "perverse results" arising the current rules, but baulked at a suggestion from councillor Daniel Newman for the single house zone in Orakei to be up zoned to allow for greater intensification.

The Orakei Local Board takes in many of the city's poshest suburbs, including Remuera, one of Auckland's oldest suburbs characterised by large houses; and the seaside suburbs of Orakei, Mission Bay, Kohimarama and St Heliers with luxury homes and breathtaking views.

In the past 12 months, two homes in the area have sold for $17.6m and $16.5m respectively.

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Planning committee chairman Chris Darby told the Herald Churton had a valid concern and presented reasonable evidence.

"I have dealt with Troy in the past. He is a pretty smart operator and I don't put him in that shut-out Nimby category," he said.

Darby said he had spoken with planning staff about the proposal and they believed there was merit in investigating it. Preliminary work would be done next year, he said.

A plan change would be Auckland-wide wherever integrated developments apply in the single house zone, Darby said.

Orakei residents have successfully opposed a multi-storey housing and commercial development in Mission Bay. Image / Supplied
Orakei residents have successfully opposed a multi-storey housing and commercial development in Mission Bay. Image / Supplied

Orakei residents have successfully campaigned against two multi-storey developments in the area, both outside the single house zone.

In October, a plan to build a $200m high rise housing and retail block on Mission Bay's beachfront was refused resource consent after strong local opposition and concerns views of the Hauraki Gulf would be blocked and the development would change Mission Bay's character.

Last year, a retirement village with buildings of up to seven storeys planned by Summerset Holdings in St Johns was refused resource consent following opposition from the Orakei Local Board and locals.