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Auckland Council drops shoe-box apartments

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/08/2016

Auckland councillors have voted down a proposal to scrap minimum apartment sizes in the city.

Auckland Council's governing body is this week hammering out the Unitary Plan - which will dictate what can be built in Auckland for at least a decade and could dramatically change the city's density and shape.

Among the thousands of pages of recommendations - which have proposed rezoning and expanding the city to make room for 400,000 new homes - the independent panel that drafted the plan called for minimum individual dwelling sizes to be done away with.

But councillors on Thursday voted to keep the current minimum sizes of 35 square metres for studios and 50 square metres for other apartments, unless developers can put up a design case for smaller dwellings in individual cases.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse told councillors there was a concern the quality of the city's intensification would be undermined if some minimum standards weren't kept.

The council's planners argued minimum sizes would make high-density sites more attractive places to live and encourage people to move to them.

Earlier in the day the governing body accepted a recommendation to relax rules for development in the city's rural boundary.

On Wednesday councillors scrapped blanket protections for more than 2000 sites of value to Mana whenua and for buildings built before 1944.

The governing body has until August 19 to make its final decision on the plan.

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