Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A plea for sanity on the Unitary Plan

169 Responses

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  • Gareth Ward,

    Note you say Terraced Housing/Apartments is within 250m of the Town Centres. Based on the zoning map it looks like its within 250m of the LOCAL Centres and Town Centres. There are a number of "small local shop" areas designated as a Local Centre with Terraced Housing/Apartments zoned around them (e.g. Grey Lynn shops, Dominion Road shops, Hauraki shops etc). These are probably the people most effected as plenty of those areas are currently surround by single housing.
    Transport Blogs concepts around adding a third zone between a Mixed Housing and Terraced/Apartment seems worth considering in that light. Especially as they point out it would give weight to 3storey fee-simple terrace housing that is so clearly lacking in Auckland.

    But overall THANKYOU for this (along with ATB and voakl etc) - I had an awfully heated discussion with family who had attended a 2040 session and were up in arms about it. They were insistent that people could just build 10m apartments without height boundary and no consent following that meeting. The problem is the real changes that the city has to face up to are buried in all this noise

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And it’s about time someone had the guts to state the obvious: There’s a metric fuckton of barely sub-textual Yellow Peril racism. If nothing else, certain councillors should cash a reality check on both their demographic and what fretting about “tacky shoeboxes” and “over-development alien to the Kiwi lifestyle” sounds like to a non-trivial number of Aucklanders.

    And I suspect it’s not just the “Yellow Peril” either. It wouldn’t surprise me if they also think high-density means a busload of Jake the Musses move in next door.

    The countryside beckons if they want a pseudo-lifestyle block. Or better still, a 1-way trip to the Sunshine Coast – that way they’ll have done their civic duty.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thanks so much for this post Russell.

    Fear is an understandable response to change, and it deserves far better handling than we're getting. Whoever 'managed' the comms for this whole draft UP process needs a spanking. Channeling my inner parent today. :)

    The Ministry of Education already does quite sophisticated population modelling and land-banking for new schools. Cooperation with Council planners at that operational level is probably fine, but this current Cabinet really need to act like grown-ups rather than oafish brats. The transport funding distortion is appalling.

    Councils have the hard task of balancing the interests of businesses, developers, other organisations, and current citizens with future ones who don't get a vote. A million extra residents in this case.

    Auckland already shows the impact of decades of short-sighted development (like a harbour bridge needing extra lanes added straight away, a crucial rail network link planned but not build for a century, and creaking sewers making our harbours unswimmable).

    We must also do extra to meet challenges like peak oil that have been poorly explained but mean big changes in lifestyle for everyone whether they like it now or not. Shortchanging our children and grandchildren is downright stupid and disrespectful.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The hostility is bewildering.

    Not at Thatcher vs Livingstone levels yet, but it's getting close.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Could somebody discuss the intersections of this process with Auckland Transports and Watercare's planning? Have they already input, or do they take this Draft and submit on "infrastructure do-ability" with what's been outlined in it?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andre,

    This was just a classic:
    "Older people will all recall from their own lives how black and white and now-focused young people tend to be".

    Quite. Easy to see which of Gen Zero or Grey Power are thinking of a future for others, not just themselves.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Er, wut? Sports fields, yes. I'm pretty sure the government pays for schools and universities.

    What the government doesn't pay is the rates - Otago Uni doesn't pay rates in Dunedin (it does voluntarily pay some water related fees), every time they buy out a new local building it goes off the rating roll while the city still has to pay for the roads/etc that service the Uni

    This is probably a hangover from the time when Universities used to be local authorities in their own right

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    The Mixed Housing Zone permits a height limit of eight metres – a two-storey house

    Actually just thinking about it, that's not entirely accurate either, one of the major changes of the MH zone is the variety of housing styles it caters for, detached, semi-detached, townhouses, terraced houses and low rise apartments (within the rules of course). I don't think the current plan allows for multi occupancy dwellings in the equivalent residential zones (someone more knowledgeable than me may comment)

    To describe MH as permiting a "two storey house" is a bit hmmm....

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    which will soon make Aucklanders the only people in the country who are not allowed to have their regional transport strategy determined by their elected representatives.

    Well, yeah…. except for Cantabrians, who don’t get to chose much of ANYTHING about what their city will become. Possibly one reason for Has Canterbury swung Left? (Should have been subbed “Canterbury Voters Back On Course” :))

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    I don’t think the current plan allows for multi occupancy dwellings in the equivalent residential zones (someone more knowledgeable than me may comment)

    I’m not sure either. But there are already plenty of multi-occupancy buildings in suburbs like Mt Eden and Grey Lynn. And I did note the 1200m threshold for the density rules.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney,

    It's not just the Right that is going mental, and acting like it. You also have the likes of Grant Gillon and Tony Holman (and other "lefties") on the Shore calling the draft plan "crazy", "dangerous" and "destroying the city". These two are from the former Alliance.

    OTOH, I too am an Act Party supporter (not a member currently), and a member of the Kaipatiki Local Board and pretty much agree with most of what you have written here Russell.

    Local body politics is a strange beast. It's ruled by unabashed populism.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Absolutely agree that this feedback time is consultation but must reiterate that it is only really late in the piece that any clarity has come about the process. With Council having called for the plan, in whatever form it eventually takes, to be final and unable to be challenged from September this year, many of us remain deeply concerned. Your example of Elgin Street illustrates the communication issue, the section between Great North Road and Williamson Avenue is to be Single House, the section between Williamson Avenue and Grey Lynn Park is to be Mixed Housing. Go and have a look and there's no difference in the houses. Thus the plea for reassessment of any structure built before the 1944 cutoff date, before the ability to demolish without notification kicks in.

    The memory of the crap apartments and leaky homes built under the watchful and caring eye of the now vanished Auckland City Council is there to remind us that, despite the best intentions of the governing parties, without sane, enforceable rules and regulations it is foolish to put one's trust in developers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Well, yeah…. except for Cantabrians

    We are feeling your pain.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Nick Kearney,

    Local body politics is a strange beast. It's ruled by unabashed populism

    The challenge for leaders anywhere is to raise people's sights to take in the horizon and all the other people we share this with.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nick Kearney,

    It’s not just the Right that is going mental, and acting like it. You also have the likes of Grant Gillon and Tony Holman (and other “lefties”) on the Shore calling the draft plan “crazy”, “dangerous” and “destroying the city”. These two are from the former Alliance.

    Good point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    With Council having called for the plan, in whatever form it eventually takes, to be final and unable to be challenged from September this year

    Not so - they have been asking for it to take effect right away for current applications while changes continue alongside which will take several years to conclude. That's not unprecedented.

    The whole rushed timetable was dictated in the 'supercity' changes that the government are responsible for. Similar amalgamations overseas have needed far longer.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    Look on the bright side about all this. For the first time, Aucklanders are having an ARGUMENT about the future of our city/region. Like all arguments, it may not be as well informed as it should be. But the very fact it is happening shows Helen Clark and Rodney Hide were right to push the Super City. (Compare and contrast: In 2007, Auckland was unable even to accept a free rugby stadium from Trevor Mallard - for the national game with a World Cup looming. It wasn't that Auckland said no to the Mallard stadium. It was that there was no ability to say yes.) So don't despair. Things are better than ever before and eventually the argument will be resolved.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 194 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    I really like Generation Zero's "Density Done Well"
    Not sure if, or even how, the Unity Plan can control this but it seems to me its perfectly
    sensible we intensify parts of Auckland, especially around public transport hubs but
    that intensification needs to be accompanied by really good human centered design.
    Can't say I have much faith in developers to do that well and there are to many examples of badly designed intensification around Auckland already,thinking of New Lynn here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 509 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Look on the bright side about all this. For the first time, Aucklanders are having an ARGUMENT about the future of our city/region.

    Oh I certainly agree about that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Who knows, all those MPs from Auckland electorates may even start remembering who put them in the beehive...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Tommy Honey,

    Excellent post, thanks Russell. I have been despairing of the incendiary commentary in the msm, particularly the Herald and the self-appointed protector of the faith, Mr Orsman. I have been advocating for years now (mostly on nine-to-noon) for a reasonable intensification based solution to undeniable growth and, while the UP has its faults, it is at least is a plan. Those opposing it would rather have no plan at all; certainly I have seen no credible alternative proposed anywhere. Melbourne is predicted to double in population by 2050 and their chief planner, Rob Adams, thinks they can do it without expanding the city boundaries at all. They will achieve this by intensification in just 4% of the city’s land along transport routes. Their mayor has said they have to stop rolling out suburbs like carpet. So should we. I’m amazed at the fear of three-storey houses as if evil dwells within. The same relationship to boundary and daylight rules will apply to three-storey houses as will to two, so who cares if your neighbour is parking in a basement or sleeping in an attic? For most cities in the world, restricting houses to three storeys would be a luxury. I agree that there is total confusion about the consultation process which is feeding the fear-mongerers. To believe them is to expect that come this Saturday morning, legions of bulldozers that have been lying in wait are going to be rolling through our main streets tearing down everything in sight, tossing our elderly citizenry in to the street before they are forcibly relocated into shoebox apartments. I am heartened by the responses of young people who are demanding to inherit a useable and affordable city. It is up to us to get out of their way and leave them a legacy we can all be proud of.

    Pipitea • Since Mar 2008 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster, in reply to Tommy Honey,

    "Those opposing it would rather have no plan at all"

    Possibly true for some/many, but as Russell has pointed out, this is the start of the consultation process for the new city, it has to start somewhere. As unfair and, I think, untrue to dismiss all the protestors as to dismiss the intensifiers. Everyone wants a plan, few of us actually have one ready made.

    The Melbourne comparison is apposite - from my Grey Lynn vantage point (actually in the valley) let's avoid demolishing the city's history willy-nilly and instead move all those car yards on the Great North Road ridge and build some quality apartments with the best views in the city rather than a massive Bunnings with a four metre wall to the road. The vibrant Ponsonby Road and New North Road, Kingsland environments can and should be replicated in an area and a way that will continue to reinvigorate the central city fringes. I want to be able to walk to cafés, restaurants and shops, not drive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    What Matthew said in relation to a debate that is long overdue.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Konrad Kurta,

    Perhaps the best exchange I've seen on the issue was over on the Transport Blog, where Jan O'Connor (councillor and/or board member) seemed to get caught posting false information under a pseudonym.

    South Korea • Since Dec 2012 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver, in reply to kris_b,

    Anyone who's travelled knows that building intensification is common overseas, and it's no all shoebox apartments and ghettos.
    All we need here is for town planners to remain tough. Dropping minimum apartment sizes to 35 sq m is a step backward - they should have stayed at 45.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

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