The first thing to note is that Waiheke is not covered by the Unitary Plan. It was specifically excluded because the Hauraki Gulf Islands District Plan only became operative in 2013 following a ten year consultation period, Environment Court and Judicial Review process. Despite pressure for Waiheke to be included in the UP the first Waiheke Local Board resisted and won.
Nevertheless there are implications for Waiheke because the UP contains a Regional Policy Statement. This overrides the District Plan Policy Statement.
Mike Lee said at last Thursday’s meeting of the Waiheke Local Board he believed the ‘village concept’ on Waiheke will be abolished, although he gave no detail or specifics about what he meant by that. He said it was all a bit too much for him to take in.
I believe he is referring to the status of land within the Rural Urban Boundary. At present there island’s villages are separated by ‘green belts’, larger tracts of land that are not classified for intense development. These are protected under the HGIDP. However, the new RPS states:
B2.2.2. Policies Development capacity and supply of land for urban development
(1) Include sufficient land within the Rural Urban Boundary that is appropriately zoned to accommodate at any one time a minimum of seven years’ projected growth in terms of residential, commercial and industrial demand and corresponding requirements for social facilities, after allowing for any constraints on subdivision, use and development of land.
The main focus for growth will be on the mainland but it cannot be ignored that land capacity for new development on Waiheke is at a maximum under the HGIDP constraints. There will be pressure from planners and developers for Waiheke to take its fair share of the growth burden.
This should have been a major topic for discussion at last week’s Waiheke Local Board meeting but instead the Board absorbed itself with the colour of buses and lack of action or reporting from groups it had given tens of thousands of ratepayers’ dollars. The public is now so disengaged from expecting the Board to achieve anything that for the first time in six years there was no Public Forum.
There will doubtless be more aspects of the UP that will have implications for Waiheke once the mass of content in the 7000 page document has been fully absorbed, but at first glance this is the most serious.