Auckland Council is holding sector-based workshops on the Auckland Unitary Plan next month.

This is an important opportunity to have input and we encourage you to get involved.

Are you affected?

Virtually everyone in Auckland will be affected by the Auckland Unitary Plan (Plan). To gauge the effect upon you, you might like to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have development plans for my property or business and want a better planning framework to work within?
  • Are my existing resource consents due to expire within the next five years, and how will changes to the planning rules affect the renewal of those consents?
  • Do I want to keep an eye on how any changes in the Plan, such as zoning or development controls, may impact on my activities or those of my neighbours?

We reported last month on a bid by the Council to have the Government provide a new statutory process for the Plan, which would remove the right for further (or cross) submissions and appeals to the Environment Court. Our best information to date is that the Minister for the Environment has yet to confirm whether the Government will support this approach.

Consultation and stakeholder workshops

The proposed timeline for the Plan's development is set out below.

The Council has identified some "hot topics" for consultation, including intensification and protection of historic character and heritage, creating the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB), business land supply, the effects of out-of-centre retail and office development, and the rural economy.

The Council is holding sector-based workshops from September 2012 for a range of groups, including retail, business parks, property developers, retirement villages and industry.

We understand that some draft Plan provisions will be available for discussion in these workshops. Getting involved at this early stage will provide participants with a good opportunity to comment on draft provisions that may impact on their interests.

Defining the Rural Urban Boundary

The Plan identifies ten greenfields areas to be investigated for potential development over the next 30 years. The Council's Auckland Plan Committee has grouped these into geographical clusters:

  • Southern Cluster (includes Pukekohe, Karaka, Drury and Paerata)
  • Western Cluster (Whenuapai, Kumeu, Huapai), and
  • Northern Cluster (Warkworth, Silverdale West).

As part of these investigations, the Council will consult with local boards, affected communities and land owners. It is looking to align RUB consultation with Plan consultation to avoid confusion and "consultation overload".

The RUB will not be ready for inclusion in the draft Plan to be released in March 2013, but will be included in the publicly notified version in September 2013. If you have landholdings or investment in any of these proposed areas, we suggest you get involved in the consultation process.

If you have any queries about the Plan process or are interested in participating in one of the Council's workshops, please contact one of the Chapman Tripp lawyers featured.

Alternatively, to attend a Council workshop, you can contact Theresa Walsh of Auckland Council directly.

The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.