The Auckland Unitary Plan became ‘Operative in Part’ on 15 November 2016; which means that - except for parts of the Plan which subject to Environment Court and High Court appeals - the Unitary Plan supersedes many of the previous “Legacy Plan” provisions.
A key objective of the Unitary Plan is to provide additional housing in Auckland. In accordance with this aim, intensification of residential areas has been facilitated by the application of higher density zoning in accessible locations close to town centres, and public transport networks.
Two of these zones are the Mixed Housing Suburban and Mixed Housing Urban Zones; and both are applied throughout Auckland.
The two zones have been applied to both established residential areas and some greenfield sites. In the former, it is envisaged that the appearance of neighbourhoods within the zones will change from the currently one to two storey, mainly stand-alone buildings, which are set back from site boundaries, to a mixture of detached and attached dwellings, terrace housing and low-rise apartments typically up to three storeys.
The height of buildings is the main difference between the two zones; 8 metres in the Mixed Housing Suburban Zone, and 11 metres in the Mixed Housing Urban Zone.
The Mixed Housing Zones provide for a number of activities as Permitted Activities (i.e. not requiring Resource Consent), provided that development controls relating to bulk and location are met. These activities include:
- Up to two dwellings per site (there are appeals to the Environment Court seeking up to four dwellings per site as permitted activities in accordance with the Independent Hearing Panel recommendation).
- Accessory buildings
- Home occupations
- Visitor accommodation accommodating up to 10 people, including staff
- Care centres operating only during the day (e.g. for children, elderly, or people with disabilities) for up to 10 people, excluding staff
- Care centres providing accommodation and full-time care for up to 10 people, including staff
With regard to subdivision, proposed sites which comply with site size, shape, and access standards are provided for as a Restricted Discretionary activity.
- Any new vacant site created as part of the subdivision must be able to achieve a minimum net site area of 300m2 in the Mixed Housing Urban Zone, and 400m2 in the Mixed Housing Suburban Zone.
- There are no minimum net site areas for sites created around existing dwellings; site size is instead largely determined by the bulk and location of existing buildings.