Bernard Orsman (NZ Herald) writes: The Auckland Council has put off a final decision on unlimited density in suburbs for the second time in two days.

A compromise on the thorny issue from Mayor Len Brown failed to gain widespread support from councillors and Local Board chairs at the second day of a meeting to wrap up a new planning rulebook for the city, or Unitary Plan.

There is no more controversial issue than suburban intensification at the meeting of the Auckland Plan committee, where councillors are trying to find a solution to community concerns about changes to their neighbourhoods and the desire by council planners and the development sector to free up suburban land for intensification.

Earlier in the day, the council voted down a motion by councillor Ann Hartley to scrap
unlimited density in the mixed housing suburban zone.

She wanted to replace unlimited density with a minimum house size of 250sq m in the mixed housing suburban zone that covers 40 per cent of residential Auckland.

Councillors returned after the lunch break to vote on a compromise package from Mr Brown to have a minimum size of 200sq m and unlimited density for sites bigger than 2500sq m.

The current provision in the draft Unitary Plan for unlimited density in the zone is 1200sq m.

Howick Local Board chairman Michael Williams urged Mr Brown to listen to what communities across Auckland had been saying to retain their beautiful suburbs.
Franklin councillor Des Morrison accused his “urban mates” of being gun shy of unlimited density.

Mrs Hartley said she would like the minimum site for unlimited density increased to 5000sq m to allow for integrated housing on a single site.

Mr Brown said he saw no difficulty holding off on the issue until Monday to tease out the issue.

An amendment from councillor Sandra Coney for multi-housing developments in the mixed housing suburban zone to possibly be publicly notified was lost.

The council did, however, vote for amendments from Mr Brown to reduce the number of permitted dwellings in the mixed housing suburban zone from five to four and a minimum building size of 200sq m on sites greater than 1200sq m with a street frontage of 20m