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Developers seek far reaching changes to draft Unitary Plan

Home > News > Developers seek far reaching changes to draft Unitary Plan
Sep. 15 / 2014
Hearings on the Council’s proposed Unitary Plan are underway and among the submissions that will be considered by the Panel are several that involve local developments.

A number of companies, including Top Harbour, Highgate Business Park, WFH Properties and Kensington Park Holdings, have asked for significant changes to the various plans and rules that Council has proposed.

Both Millwater developer WFH Properties and Highgate Business Park in Silverdale North are seeking to amend staging requirements, which are generally put in place as part of resource consent to ensure infrastructure keeps pace with development. In Highgate Business Park, staging provisions refer specifically to restrictions prior to the construction of Penlink or the widening of Whangaparaoa Rd.

Among its submissions, Kensington Park Holdings has asked that Council not apply a dwelling cap to its Orewa subdivision – the cap was proposed in order “to ensure that development does not exceed infrastructure capacity and maintains the spacious character of the precinct”.

Density caps are also an issue in Gulf Harbour, where a maximum of 2913 dwellings is allowed. The latest census data shows that there are 936 occupied and 102 unoccupied dwellings in Gulf Harbour – a total of 1038.

The former Rodney District Council put the Gulf Harbour density cap in place with the aim of ensuring high quality development within infrastructure constraints but Top Harbour, developer of Hobbs Wharf and Fairway Bay, is seeking its removal via its submission to the proposed Unitary Plan.

At present Top Harbour is limited to its approved Masterplan of 1000 housing units.

Top Harbour development consultant Michael Webb Speight says that the cap is unworkable because it affects all land in Gulf Harbour, including sites yet to be developed. He says currently the number of dwellings is allocated to developers on “a first come, first served basis” and the concern is that land that is “last off the blocks” may end up unable to be developed if the cap has been reached.

“While the cap is expressed in the Unitary Plan as being necessary because of infrastructure capacities in the
area, such a cap does not apply anywhere else in Auckland,” Mr Webb Speight says. “Top Harbour is aware that infrastructure issues exist and is currently working with Watercare Services on wastewater capacity. “This isn’t an unusual situation – developers often have to address such constraints with improvement of public infrastructure.”

Albany Ward Councillor Wayne Walker says it is of immense concern that various developers are seeking to loosen restrictions that have been put in place for good reason.

He says the Gulf Harbour density cap was quite far-sighted in that it took into account an eventual fast ferry link with Auckland.

However he says what it did not allow for is the further intensification of development on Whangaparaoa Peninsula, which he says is reason enough for keeping the cap in place.

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