Medium Density Residential Standards and proposed Unitary Plan changes

The government's National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) came into force in 18 August 2022 with the notification of Plan Change 78. The NPS-UD directs Auckland Council to enable more building height and housing density within and around Auckland's city centre, metropolitan centres and rapid transit stops such as train and busway stations.
The RMA was amended and now requires the councils of New Zealand's largest and rapidly growing cities - Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch - to incorporate new Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS) in relevant residential zones.
Plan Change 78 changes the zone of most properties to Mixed Housing Urban or Terraced Housing and Apartment Buildings. Properties close to Town Centres and around transport corridors have been rezoned to Terraced Housing and Apartment Buildings. The zone in residential suburbs changes to Mixed Housing Urban. This enables medium density housing across most of Auckland's residential suburbs.

Mixed Housing Urban Zone

Three dwellings of up to three storeys are to be permitted on most residential properties. Coverage areas have been increased and permitted building heights in close proximity to boundaries can now be higher.
The landscape requirement has changed. In the Unitary Plan the emphasis is on "open space". In PC 78 the emphasis is on vegetation with a requirement for 20% of the site with grass or plants. In addition to this, there is also a requirement for a "deep soil area" located within the landscaped area for the purpose of planting a canopy tree.
PC 78 also requires that any dwelling facing the street must have a minimum of 20 per cent of the street facing facade in glazing. This can be in the form of windows or doors.

Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings Zone

The Zone is a high-intensity zone enabling a greater high - intensity of residential development than previously provided for. This zone provides for urban residential living in a range of the forms of including terrace housing and apartments.
Within walkable catchments, as identified on the planning maps, development of at least six storeys is enabled. Outside the walkable catchments, buildings are enabled up to at least five storeys. In identified Height Variation Control areas buildings of seven or more storeys are enabled. Permitted height standards vary depending on the scale of the adjoining centre, to achieve a transition in height from the centre to adjoining lower scale residential zones.
A notable change is that resource consent was previously required for the construction of any building (even a single house) in this zone. Up to three houses complying with the Zone Standards are now permitted.

Qualifying matters

PC 78 has immediate effect provided all Zone Standards are being complied with. A number of sites have been identified as being subject to a "qualifying matter". This includes sites subject to flooding, sensitive ecological areas, significant volcanic view shafts amongst others.

Other matters such as excessive earthworks that would previously have required resource consent, will continue to have this requirement.

For more detailed information on these changes, please contact RPC Land Surveyors.