Unitec rezone plan upsets residents
Final submissions on the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan have closed and among them are at least 150 from Mt Albert residents in relation to Unitec’s plans.
The tertiary institute plans to rezone 53.5ha of its land to allow a mix of residential, commercial and recreational use, but not everyone is happy about it.
Mt Albert’s Karen Burge heads the South End Residents Group. She organised meetings to help people submit on the draft plan. She says the meetings were a constructive outlet for worried residents and at least 150 submissions were made.
She says for many, the reality of the 176-page Unitec document is just starting to sink in, particularly in regards to Carrington Rd. In its submission Unitec proposes that all houses within about 95m of Carrington Rd be rezoned as terrace housing and apartment buildings.
‘‘Unitec has applied to just change all of their land,’’ Burge says. ‘‘A lot of those people probably still don’t even know that is the case.’’
She says the residents who do know aren’t happy about it.
‘‘We have to be aware that it may not always be Unitec that is developing the site. If the land is sold with intensive zoning in place then we are left to hope that a developer does a good job.’’
Carrington Rd resident Francine Werry says she was left scrambling after finding out about the ‘‘devastating’’ plan less than a month before submissions closed.
She was one of about 150 people to attend a meeting at Phyllis Reserve on July 19.
‘‘It is a great area at the moment. I’ve lived in areas that are all apartment housing – it is a horrible place to live with a family,’’ she says.
‘‘This is a busy road as it is, making it a massive main road would change everything.’’
Unitec spokesman Darren Horsman says better transport for all is at the heart of the proposed rezoning. He says Unitec has put forward a much more user-friendly corridor that links the two centres of Mt Albert and Pt Chevalier.
‘‘To achieve this Unitec is proposing using land it owns on the western side of the road to widen Carrington Rd, increase public transport and make it much more attractive for pedestrians and cyclists.’’
He says as a result of this Unitec has also raised the zoning change.
‘‘We believe it would make the proposal for Carrington Rd more likely to succeed and result in a significant improvement in public transport for the entire community.’’
At the end of the day the power would end up in the hands of the residents, he says.
‘‘If the land is rezoned, it is up to the land owners if they wish to redevelop their properties.’’
An Auckland Council spokesperson says Unitec’s submission is just one of more than 9400 submissions on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.
‘‘This is a time for the public to have their say and council will not be commenting on any of the submissions at this stage.’’
Future focus: An artist’s impression of how Unitec might look in future, if its unitary plan proposal is approved.