This is our summary of the hottest topic for Auckland planners at the moment; Plan Change 78.
On 18th August 2022, Auckland Council notified proposed Plan Change 78 (‘PC78’) which is an “Intensification Planning Instrument” (IPI). The purpose of this IPI is to respond to two recent RMA changes made by central government under the Resource Management (Enabling Housing Supply and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2021:
- the ‘National Policy Standard for Urban Development 2020’ (NPS-UD); and
- the ‘Medium Density Residential Standards’ (MDRS).
To respond to these changes, Auckland Council has developed Plan Change 78 for proposed amendments to the Auckland Unitary Plan. Plan Change 78 is a large document incorporating several changes to the currently operative district and regional plan, including the activity status of some subdivision types and minor changes to provisions that manage things such as earthworks and discharge consents.
So, what are the key changes and how might they impact your development?:
- Introduction of ‘walkable catchments’ to address intensification around town centres with public transport stations. All residential sites in walkable catchments will be zoned for Terraced Housing and Apartment Building which is the zone that currently provides the most density for residential development under the Unitary Plan.
- Up-zoning of all urban areas, with the Mixed Housing Urban zone which enables three-storey development to be the most common zone.
- The introduction of a new zone: Low Density Residential Zone to maintain the existing amenity of a low-density built environment where the Council has decided it would not be appropriate to provide more intensive residential development.
- Introduction of new rules and standards under the Terraced Housing and Apartment Building and Mixed Housing Urban zones. Some minor changes are proposed to lower-density zones too.
- Introduction of ‘qualifying matters’ to be considered for each site. These are special features or development constraints that limit the impact of PC78 on specific sites, and include designations, natural hazards and some existing overlays in the unitary plan.
On the surface of this plan change, it provides for plenty of intensification and to give effect to the government’s RMA changes. The Single House Zone and Mixed Housing Suburban Zone which provides for our existing low-density residential areas will be limited to rural areas and townships with the latest census data showing a population of less than 5,000. This is a big change given these zones currently account for the majority of sites across urban areas! However, when the qualifying matters are taken into account, the number of sites where the changes can actually be applied are restricted.
In addition, the area identified within the Auckland Light Rail corridor on the planning maps is exempt from PC78 at this time. This is because the specific route and stops for light rail have not yet been confirmed, so the future zoning cannot be determined.
The sections of PC78 that relate to the MDRS have immediate legal effect as of 18th August 2022 for the development of a site that:
- is currently zoned either Mixed Housing Urban or Terraced Housing and Apartment Building; and
- Is outside of the Auckland Light Rail corridor; and
- has no qualifying matters; and
- the proposed development of the site complies with all the new rules or standards.
All documents relating to Plan Change 78 are found HERE
PC78 is open for submissions until 29th September 2022.
If you would like to know more, contact us HERE and one of our team of Planners will be able to answer any questions you have in relation to PC78.