Fringe areas approved for urban growth

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Investors with property in certain areas on Auckland’s fringe stand to benefit earlier rather than later following approval of changes to the city’s future development strategy.

By Miriam Bell

The Auckland Unitary Plan envisages 400,000 new homes in the city by 2041 and 30% of this development will occur in greenfield areas that are zoned for future urban growth.

Changes to the size and live zoning of some of these areas led Auckland Council to suggest revision of the sequencing of its greenfield development plans over the next 30 years.

Estimated at $19.7 billion, the total cost of providing the necessary infrastructure to support the development was key to this thinking.

A report to the Council’s Planning Committee said it would be prohibitively expensive to invest in all future urban areas at the same time.

Late yesterday, the Planning Committee approved the proposals to move forward some areas in the development sequence.

These areas are Warkworth North; Wainui East; Silverdale (business); Red Hills; Puhinui (business); Wesley (Paerata); Opaheke Drury; and Drury South.

It also approved the proposals to phase back the development of other areas. 

These areas are Kumeu Huapai Riverhead, Whenuapai Stage 2, Drury West Stage 2, Puhinui (business), Red Hills North, Warkworth North East and Takanini.

Infrastructure considerations played a key part in the selection of these areas.

While some areas are set to benefit from the completion of key infrastructure like the new Puhoi to Warkworth motorway in 2021, others face infrastructure constraints.

The Council’s move gives greater clarity on the likely development timetable to developers and investors with land in the areas zoned for future urban growth.

However, funding costs for the infrastructure required remain a problem the Council will need to contend with.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has said the city needs to invest more in its infrastructure, but doesn’t think the burden should fall solely on the ratepayers.

To that end, in his first Budget, Goff has proposed a policy change to allow the use of targeted rates on new developments as well as development contributions to pay for new infrastructure.

The government’s $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is to help high-growth councils finance the infrastructure necessary for growth, could also be of assistance.

Councils have until the end of March to submit their final proposals to the fund but, earlier this year, Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce said he wanted Councils to be ambitious in their proposals.

In the meantime, public consultation on the proposed urban growth area changes will take place from March 29 to April 18.

Consultation on the Mayor’s proposed budget is underway and set to finish on March 27.

Read more:

Targeted rates proposed for housing developments 

Speeding up housing development 

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