Auckland's Plan takes Shape

The most widely anticipated and far-reaching  decision on Auckland’s future in a generation was announced on Wednesday, 27 July 2016. The Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel (IHP) delivered their review and recommendations. This follows over three years of consultation and formal representations on the original Proposed Auckland Council Unitary Plan (PAUP), first notified on the 30 September 2013. 
Auckland Council invited submissions on a draft of their Proposed Unitary Plan and Business North Harbour has been involved in the process from the beginning, providing a voice for our commercial property and business owners. We represented your views to both Auckland Council and the Independent Hearings panel, and focused on elements within the PAUP that would affect the commercial viability of the Business Improvement District. The elements which would have prevented or restricted business growth or future capacity. 
There were two clear messages from our members. You wanted increased stand-alone office capacity, plus the ability should your property become vacant, to change - within reason, the industry or activity of your tenant. 
We didn’t get everything we asked for, but the reality is some people were always going to be disappointed - due to the diversity of both property and business owners located across the business improvement district. 
Through Business North Harbour’s advocacy and mediation efforts we secured the Grandfather Clause for Light Industry zones, which provides greater protection during times of tenancy change. Plus, for a significant area of the business district, we secured a change in zone, to General Business, allowing greater intensity of office space. A real win from this process was the change in capacity (through definition) of stand-alone offices within General Business to 500m2 per tenancy, not per site as originally notified.
The plan preserves our current built environment, gives confidence to those developing greenfields and addresses transport and housing issues that effect our businesses and workforce. We have to accept that this is a 30-year plan about our future, not tomorrow. It's now for us all to make it work. 
Note: Our advocacy efforts were focused on the business improvement district marked as 1. If further consultation is required following Council's decision 19th August, we will also include the views and interests of the members acquired after our business improvement district expansion ballot 1st July 2016.

What's Next?

Auckland Council is currently reviewing the panel’s recommendation. Their decision as to whether or not to accept these recommendations is due 19 August 2016. 
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