Published 19 January 2011
Commissioners have approved Manukau plan change 27, which will double the size of the Whitford Village urban zone. They’ve restricted section sizes in the existing village but allowed gross housing density of 1:576m² in the new housing area.
Opponents had wanted the new development area to have lot sizes in the range of 1000-1200m², in keeping with the existing village.
Other decisions allow for flexible density and, although apartments won’t be allowed, there’s provision for development which could amount to the same thing. Cluster development is provided for, but with a limit on dwelling numbers in the cluster.
The Whitford Village special policy area covers 20.4ha at the head of Turanga Creek, 3km beyond the Auckland region’s metropolitan urban limit at Cockle Bay & Flat Bush. On the southern boundary is the designation for the proposed Whitford bypass, the creek is on the east.
Plan change 27 was notified on 13 February 2009, evidence was heard in August 2010 and councillor commissioners Anne Candy (chairman), Maggie Burrill & Sylvia Taylor issued their decision on 21 December. It was publicly notified on 12 January.
The commissioners “acknowledge and have carefully considered the view expressed by some submitters who sought a no-growth or low rural-residential density form of development for Whitford Village”, but said they were satisfied with the proposal which had resulted from a thorough & sound planning process: “That process began in 1995 when the Manukau City Council publicly notified its proposed district plan and continued through community visioning workshops, the formation of a Whitford working party, a Whitford Village study, a Whitford Village growth management strategy developed using structure planning principles, and extensive consultation including 4 different growth options.”
The commissioners said the limited expansion of Whitford Village, subject to tailored design & environmental guidelines, was appropriate because:
plan change 27 promotes development of a contained area which is contiguous to the existing villagethe Turanga Creek & escarpment, the proposed Whitford Bypass & Whitford Park Rd provide defendable long-term boundaries to the expanded village. This is further strengthened by the conservative & stringent development approach adopted for the Whitford rural areathe scale of development provided for by the plan change enables alternative options for infrastructure for the village as a whole to be considered (specifically for wastewater & stormwater).
The commissioners determined that the Whitford Village special policy area structure plan map 2 (contained in the design & environmental guidelines) should be amended by raising the minimum net site area for existing sites from 600m² to 800m² and introducing the following standards in the Whitford Saleyard residential zone:
a maximum number of 105 additional households are to be alloweda maximum of 10 households may be contained within buildings between 8-12m highno more than 10 sites can be less than 350m² and the minimum net site area will be 200m²no more than 5 household units in any one location can be formed as a clustered developmentrear yards of 8m will apply, anda variety of front yard setbacks must be demonstrated through a comprehensive development plan.
In the Whitford Saleyard residential zone the arrangement & range of housing units is no longer specified on special policy area structure plan map 2: “This map is now more schematic. However, all development within the area will be subject to assessment & approval of a comprehensive development plan.
“The design & environmental guidelines that apply to all future development within the Whitford Village special policy area have been modified & clarified. Additionally, the design & environmental guidelines are contained in the district plan.”
On the crucial factor of wastewater disposal, the commissioners decided disposal should be through connection to the metropolitan reticulated system. The commissioners set out provisions for roof water collection, including tank sizes according to the number of bedrooms.
Alastair Ray, for Whitford Properties Ltd, Regis Farm Ltd & Regis Holdings Ltd, gave evidence that the plan change as proposed was more likely to deliver “anywhere [suburban] subdivision”. He said that, for Whitford’s village character to be developed & enhanced as the village grows, certain characteristics of layout & buildings needed to be recognised. He acknowledged that many of the characteristics which he stated in his evidence are recognised & described in the design & environmental guidelines. However, he expressed concern about density from a design point of view, and the need to contribute to the creation of a compact functioning village centre. In his opinion an average housing density of 1 household unit:600m² would result in a form of development & density that contributed to the character of the village. His presentation showed an optimal number of 105 houses of a developable area of 4.86ha and including some 1.19ha of shared space. This would allow for a gross housing density of 1:576m².
The commissioners said urban design evidence at the hearing supported development at (or about) an overall density of 1 household unit:600m², subject to a maximum number of new dwellings and flexibility about the configuration & arrangement of various sized lots.
They amended the plan change by introducing alternative mechanisms to allow flexible density, subject to a maximum number of dwellings in the Whitford Saleyard residential zone.
Objectors were also concerned that a large number of tall buildings could be erected, changing the nature of the village. The commissioners decided: “An 8m maximum building height is consistent with the existing maximum height of residential buildings in the village. The commissioners have determined that apartments are no longer generally provided for in the plan change. However some flexibility in household unit configuration is still enabled in a limited number of circumstances.
“In order to achieve the anticipated outcomes for building forms (as set out in the design & environmental guidelines,) a higher maximum height of 12m for buildings collectively containing 10 household units will allow larger buildings accommodating more than one dwelling ‘in proportion’, such as 2 semi-detached dwellings built to look like a single manor-style house. Alternatively, the plan change provides flexibility to create ‘key’ buildings to define parts of a streetscape and/or reflect the historical character of the village (of steeply pitched roofs).”
Not part of the plan change, but mentioned anyway, was the 12.8ha site at 679 Whitford Rd, which is west of the plan change area and separated by roads & other rural 2-zoned properties. It was subject of an earlier study area but ultimately excluded from the plan change for the village. Planning consultant David MacPherson, on behalf of Whing Shing Property (NZ) Ltd & Victor Li, told the hearing 20-25 new lots could be created there, which wouldn’t create any adverse effects on amenity/character, servicing, transport, urban form or social infrastructure, but would add to lifestyle choice.
12 March 2009: Whitford plan change open for submissions
Want to comment? Go to the forum.
Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.