Draft Submission to the proposed Unitary Plan

Submissions for the proposed Unitary Plan close next Friday 28th February. We want you to have your input but realise that MEVP members may well have diverse views. A few of us have put together a draft submission, please see below. We will not be putting in a MEVP viewpoint (as this is not established) but will be submitting as individuals. We encourage you to rework this draft so it reflects your positions.

Draft Submission to the proposed Unitary Plan
We would like to congratulate Auckland Council on the Proposed Unitary Plan and hope that our feedback will support the vision of the most livable city with thriving communities, a good public transport system and enough green space for people to share. As part of the worldwide Transition Town movement it is our wish that this plan supports a city that is prepared to deal with climate change issues, has less dependency on fossil fuels, is designed to reduce green-house gases and enforces sustainable solutions for new buildings and developments.

Growth:

We are concerned about the assumed fast growth in our city, more people means more cars, more traffic, noise, more pollution and less space.

Recommendation: To develop programs to encourage people to live in other cities and move away from Auckland. Work with the government to support new businesses outside of Auckland.

Natural Environment:

Volcanic views shafts: One of the unique natural highlights our city has to offer is our volcanoes. Buildings into the view shafts will destroy the appeal of our city for the local community and for visitors. The volcanoes must continue to be the feature of our landscape as they make our city so special and different from all other cities around the world.  We would strongly recommend that the view shafts to these volcanoes are protected.

Recommendation: To protect these views shafts by continuing to have the current rules for height restrictions as outlined in the Operative Auckland City District Plan 1999.   Upgrade the infringement of the 9m blanket height restriction around the base of the cones (inside or outside the view shaft) from a non-complying activity to a prohibited activity.

Trees in our community: We recognize that the government has restricted the ability to protect trees in general, however the role of trees must be considered in any liveable city and must be an important part of the goal of creating a liveable city.  Even those trees that are supposedly protected through scheduling in various district plans are under threat through pressure from developers and consent is often granted for their removal.  This pressure is likely to increase as the larger sections in our neighbourhood with established trees are bought up by developers seeking to maximize site coverage.

Trees contribute to the heritage character of neighbourhoods and landscapes and require protection as part of heritage character overlay in older areas of the city, in particular Mt Eden which is distinguished by its unique overlay of large old trees, reflecting the good volcanic soils.

International research recognizes the role of urban trees in reducing greenhouse gases, mitigating the effects of stormwater, temperature fluctuations and air pollution.   The economic value of trees is recognized in large urban centres overseas where cities such as London and New York invest in trees for their ecosystem services.   The contribution of trees to a liveable city  will become more critical with the proposed intensification of Auckland.  High density development requires a minimum ratio of trees and open space to population.  we would like to see a better protection for existing trees and the planting of more trees.

Recommendation: strengthen the protection of scheduled trees, increase the number of trees that are protected.  Include the role of trees in the heritage character overlays of all older residential areas.  Extend the protection of trees to other zones – not just residential 2.   Initiate the plant of more trees in parks and reserves, in streets and public spaces.

Heritage and historic character – Mt Eden:

We are pleased that under the Draft Unitary plan buildings pre 1944 will be protected. We are concerned about the rezoning around our community which will allow developers to build terrace housing up to 13.5m height in some of our heritage character streets close to the village centre and Maungawhau. Mt Eden is one of the few communities with an intact heritage town centre, which is a travel destination for many Aucklanders and people from overseas, helping our small businesses to thrive.

Retaining the residential character area of Auckland’s suburbs:

Recommendation: The Proposed Unitary plan needs to distinguish between areas which should be progressively redeveloped with a more intensive urban form and the majority of residential areas which should retain their existing character while allowing some limited intensifications. As an example, development in a mixed housing suburb zone should be limited so that it fits in with the existing residential character. Areas being considered for higher densities, for example the Mixed housing Urban and Terrace Housing/Apartments Zone, should be identified through local areas studies and be focused around larger commercial centers or along major transport routes.

Recommendation:

The following areas should be considered for rezoning from the proposed Terrace Housing and Apartments zone to a Single House zone: the east of Mt Eden Rd at Mt Eden Village.

The following areas should be considered for rezoning from the proposed Mixed Housing to a Single House zone: west of Mt Eden Rd at Mt Eden Village should be zoned Single House zone, not the proposed Mixed Housing zone.

Mt Eden Village: the suggested 4 storey building in Mt Eden Village would destroy the heritage nature of our community.

Recommendation: Zone Mt Eden Village as a Neighbourhood Centre not the proposed Local Centre and continue to have a height restriction of 9m for any new buildings in Mt Eden Village.

Recommendation: To keep a restricted height around Mt Eden Village to ensure the heritage character of our community will be there for many years to come and have a height restriction in the village.

Please also include the following buildings in our village as historic heritage places:

  • Barfoot and Thomson real-estate building (427 Mt Eden Rd)
  • De Post (466 Mt Eden Rd)
  • Methodist church (449 Mt Eden Rd)
  • Mantells (466 Mt Eden Rd)
  • Mazaiki Café building (421 Mt Eden Rd)
  • the Mt Eden Bowling club (17 Stokes Road),
  • Frasers Café (434 Mt Eden Rd)
  • Circus Circus (447 Mt Eden Rd) which is already listed.

Heritage and historic character

We support the plan to protect houses pre 1944, however, we are concerned that these can be removed without public notification.  There is a general community support for the protection of heritage in residential areas.

Recommendation:

We recommend that the demolition or removal of heritage buildings (ie pre 1940) is a non-complying activity and be subject to public notification, providing opportunities for community input into the character of neighbourhoods.

Transport

We appreciate the initiatives of Auckland Council to improve the city’s public transport system and to encourage more people to use it.  We support the Council’s commitment to the development of light rail in the foreseeable future.

Recommendation:

Reduce the number of public car parks available in areas served by public transport.  Require new developments to incorporate transport plans that include a range of transport options, including public transport.  Redevelop strategically located land currently allocated to car parking in the city into residential apartments.   Restrict build more car parks, build more cycle lanes and shared walking cycling trails to make cycling safer.  Increase investment in trains and buses.

Business:

We support the commitment of Auckland Council to the economic sustainability and wellbeing of local communities.  We believe that to improve our city’s lifestyle and create the world’s most liveable city, we have to move away from the big business idea of shopping malls and big supermarket chains and have instead, many small decentralised local businesses as found in European cities. This decentralized model is more sustainable, requiring less car use.  This will have benefits for local businesses, community health, safety and security and the environment.

Recommendation: Stop building any further shopping malls that can only be reached by car.  They are buildings that do not contribute to the general aesthetic of the world’s most liveable city. Support development of small independent shops that create neighbourhood community and which people can walk or cycle to rather than using cars.  More small decentralised shops where people can walk or cycle to and do not need to use their car.

Parks and community:

In the proposed apartment blocks people will not have space to grow some of their own food and to connect with nature.

Recommendation: Ensure that new developments have green space around them and create more local parks. In a time where we are running out of resources on this planet it is important that local food production is part of our city. We need more parks that can be used to produce local food, have food gardens, fruit trees and green space in which children can play and people  exercise.

We also understand that under the current draft Unitary Plan it would be possible to do the following activities as Permitted (P) or Restricted Discretionary (RD) for Mt Eden Reserve volcanic cone and Nicholson Park:

construction of buildings, additions or

●   workers’ accommodation
alterations                                                              ●   roads

●   community facilities (eg. places of

●   recreation centres
worship, halls, libraries, etc.)

●   retail

●   public amenities (eg. toilets, park furniture,

●   marae complex
changing rooms, showers, etc.)

●   informal recreation and leisure

●   information facilities (eg. visitor centre)

●   parks field structures

●   any activity identified in an incorporated

●   art works
concept plan or adopted reserve
management plan, placed in a different location.

Further activities allowed for Mt Eden Reserve:

●   camping grounds

●   conservation forestry

Further activities allowed for Nicholson Park:

●   organized sports and recreation

●   markets

●   floodlights and support towers

●   restaurants

●   car parking and associated vehicle access

●   grandstands

With increased population density, our existing green spaces are of increased importance and must be protected.

Recommendation: Any of these activities planned for Mt Eden Reserve or Nicholson Park or other Public Open Space zones. (eg. Windmill Road Park, Melville Park, Pollard Park, Potters Park, Three Kings Reserve etc.) must be approved through a notified application process to ensure that these green spaces remain intact for the community.

Affordable neighbourhoods

With extremely high food and house prices in Auckland it is important that we have affordable housing. However, we don’t see that we will get these affordable homes built by developers. Our concern is that new proposed terrace housing again will only be available for the more fortunate people in our community or wealthy immigrants.

Recommendation: To come up with a development for social housing. This way the council could guarantee that these houses are built to design and environmental building standards to last longer and that their  rent is affordable.

Auckland CBD as been scarred by developers for a long time and the outcome is now a city centre that in some parts looks like east Germany in its worst era, featuring concrete buildings with no appeal. We are concerned that thee suggested design standards don’t have to be followed by developers and therefore we will get more badly designed and built homes.

Recommendation: New developments have to follow clear and enforceable rules rather than guidelines for buildings (either mixed housing or single housing) in heritage areas such as Mt Eden. Guidelines with good intentions are useless without enforcement.

Noise:

Denser living will mean more consideration for others around noise will be needed. Our current laws are ineffective. Noise controls will also be needed with a lot of  development occurring.

Recommendation: We need decibel limits and recognition of the particular problem with bass sounds which can travel at low decibels.

We also need strict decibel limits and times that are allowed for building construction. No building on Saturdays or Sundays at all.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014 at 12:35 am and is filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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