Oratia District Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association Inc.
SUBMISSION
on the
DRAFT AUCKLAND UNITARY PLAN

31st May 2013

 1. Oratia R&R

The Oratia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association was incorporated in 1952, with the stated aim of co-operating with the Council in looking after the affairs of the District and to secure the maximum fair expenditure of the General Rates levied by the Council within the District for the benefit of ratepayers, residents and visitors; and to pursue any activities which aim at improving or preserving the social, sporting, safety, beauty or any other utilities or amenities of the District.

The Oratia R&R continues to be active. It is managed by a committee of ten people. It has 64 signed-on members, and works in the interests of all residents and ratepayers of Oratia.

2. The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008

Do not allow the Auckland Housing Accord to contravene the objectives of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act.

We are deeply concerned that the Government’s Housing Accord can potentially override the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008.

 Section 16 of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill states that the minister must “have regard to” but need not be bound by any existing district plans when declaring an area to be a Special Housing Area, and need only consider whether use of the area is possible, and whether there is demand.

The Waitakere Ranges are a taonga, not just for the people who live in or near them, but for the whole of Auckland. The Draft Auckland Unitary Plan recognises the Heritage Area and follows the purposes and objectives contained in the Act. At a public meeting on the Draft Auckland Unitary Plan held at Oratia School, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse assured the gathering that the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act was ensconced in law, and would not change; we could rely on that.

However, given the provisions of the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill cited above, and given the current Government’s track record of changing laws that do not suit it, we are not confident that this is the case.

We therefore support those provisions of the Draft Auckland Unitary Plan which are in accord with the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act, and urge Auckland Council to strenuously oppose any action or plan which contravenes any of the the twelve objectives listed in Section 8 of the Act.

3. Oratia Precinct.

Develop an Oratia Precinct for inclusion in the Unitary Plan to be formally notified later this year.

The Draft Auckland Unitary Plan now lists 81 Precincts. A Precinct is described as an area which sits within a zone, and while sharing the general characteristics of the zone, enables local differences to be recognised.

Background information from the Council also states that “there may be some additional precincts developed, however these will not be made available to the public until the formal notification of the Unitary Plan later this year.”

 In October 2012 Plan Change 35 became operative, which defined the nature and scope of Oratia’s development as a rural village and its role as a clearly defined gateway marking a distinct change from metropolitan Auckland to the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area.

 Plan Change 35 was debated at length by the Oratia Community, with many submissions made, and has now provided the community with a clear way forward.

In consideration of this, we request that an Oratia Precinct be developed which includes the provisions of Plan Change 35, and that such a precinct be included in the Unitary Plan to be notified later this year.

 4. Tree Trimming

We are concerned that changes to tree regulations will prohibit regular trimming of trees by a small percentage.

5. Rule: Produce Stall. 4.3.7.2.7.1 

4. Sufficient area must be provided for car parking and maneuvering so that no vehicle is required to reverse into or out of the site from the road.

5. Car parking must be provided for least two vehicles off the formed road and adjacent to the stall.

There is more flexibility needed here for small stalls.  Adjacent  to the stall is not the only valid parking option.  Parking on a rural road could be on the wide grass verges.  People could park down the road and walk.  Maybe a sign on the stall indicating where safe parking is.

6. Rule:  Landscaping in Countryside Living 4.3.7.3.5

Purpose: ensure the Countryside Living zone retains a rural character overall and provide a visual buffer between the road and dwellings.

1. In the Countryside Living zone, landscaping must be provided along the frontage of sites not occupied by buildings or access points for a depth of 3m.

2. Landscaping must comprise trees, shrubs and ground cover plants.

The purpose of this rule is correct.  But if everyone has 3 m of planting at road frontage it closes off the traditional landscaping look of the countryside and the important rural view shafts and  wide open spaces.  A professional landscape architect needs to be consulted re the principals of rural landscapes.   More flexibility is needed here.  It is sometimes valid to have an almost invisible post and rail fence with sheep.  An open space looking down a valley.   Or a fruit orchard with no shrubs.    The principal that the landscape should be dominant not the house is correct.