Auckland Council’s unitary plan committee has publicly documented positions it has taken in mediation on 5 topics at independent hearings panel sessions on its proposed unitary plan.
The council has gone to some trouble to keep its mediation positions confidential before they’re posted on the hearings panel’s website, and sent decisions on urgent mediation positions to a 4-member sub-committee.
Those positions are at a preliminary stage of the hearings process. In interim guidance issued in February, the hearings panel has indicated it will have no qualms about rejecting council positions.
The sub-committee’s decisions over the last 3 months were reported to the unitary plan committee yesterday, and will be revealed again in quarterly reports. Cllr Chris Darby said he dissented on 2 positions – a reduced distance offshore for the prohibition of sewage discharge from vessels, and non-complying activity status for livestock in the coastal marine area, instead of making their presence a prohibited activity.
Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman Mike Cohen questioned the council position allowing for up to 35% building coverage on the landward side of the marina zone, when it had been 10% before. Although the local board chairman could ask a question, committee chairman Alf Filipaina made it clear that, for practical reasons, the boards couldn’t have input before these plan position decisions were made.
Below are positions the council declared.
Significant infrastructure located in the mooring zone:
The sub-committee agreed to an amendment that would support a resource consent application for significant infrastructure with a “functional need” that “cannot practicably be located outside the mooring zone”.
Sewage discharge from vessels:
Most submissions opposed the proposed plan’s prohibition of sewage discharge from boats within 2km of mean high water springs, but there were broad submissions in support of keeping sewage out of the coastal marine area. The sub-committee supported amending the proposed plan to:
- not allow discharge of sewage from vessels within specific harbours & bays to remove gaps in the 500m regulations, and
- revert to the 500m offshore distance for sewage discharge from vessels elsewhere.
Exclusion of livestock from the coastal marine area:
Various submitters opposed the proposed plan’s prohibition of livestock anywhere in the coastal marine area, within specific timeframes, while the Environmental Defence Society and Forest & Bird Society supported the approach. The sub-committee agreed to:
- provide for horse-riding in the coastal marine area overlays, subject to permitted activity controls
- restrict livestock in areas of the coastal marine area where water quality has been identified as degraded and in overlay areas (noting that this covers much of the coastline), and
- allow for resource consent applications through a non-complying activity status instead of making it a prohibited activity.
The proposed plan includes controls that require a non-complying resource consent to expand existing marinas, which several marina operators opposed. The proposed plan also includes controls on retail, building coverage and the height of buildings & structures within the marina zone. The sub-committee agreed to amend the marina zone to:
- allow for an expansion of existing marinas into the general coastal marine zone by up to 15% as a discretionary activity
- allow for individual retail outlets of up to 300m² in the marina zone and a total cap of 1000m² (while looking at the possibility of further limits on the type of retail)
- allow for up to 35% building coverage on the landward side of the marina zone, and
- allow structures for haulage & lifting up to 18m in height above mean high water springs on the seaward side of the marina zone.
The sub-committee noted that these thresholds can be amended for any particular marina through the marina precinct provisions, and asked staff to review the various marinas to determine where different rules might be more appropriate. It also noted that, if there was significant opposition from other parties that couldn’t be addressed through the marina precincts, the case team would bring the issue back to the committee members, but there was no significant opposition that couldn’t be addressed through the marina precincts.
The proposed plan applies the minor port zone to the ports at Gabador Place & Onehunga. Ports of Auckland Ltd submitted that these ports should be zoned light industry with a minor port precinct. The sub-committee agreed to amend the zoning of the port at Gabador Place to light industry with a minor port precinct but, for Onehunga, agreed to allow more flexibility for non-port-related industry, either through the minor port zone or a precinct.
Gabador Place runs down to the Tamaki River from Carbine Rd, Mt Wellington, and the port facility is in a light industrial area. The port is used to shift aggregate & sand.
The council’s plans & places general manager, Penny Pirrit, said the port company wasn’t in a position to move out of Onehunga immediately and needed an underlying zoning until the wider community had an opportunity to discuss what the future of the port was: “Depending on the conversation with a range of parties, there could be a number of futures for that piece of land.”
26 February 2015: Unitary plan panel at odds with council on boundary
Attribution: Council committee meeting.