New urban development regime

The Government is looking at fast-tracking urban development similarly to Special Housing Areas changing urban development.

Redevelopment of exiting urban areas is set to become easier for developers and territorial authorities, while reducing appeal rights for the affected.

Tauranga City councillors were briefed on the outline of the Government discussion document on Urban Development Authorities by Hobec partner Vanessa Hamm at the City Transformation Committee meeting this week.

An urban development authority, as currently proposed by the Government, will have wide-ranging powers enabling it to buy and sell land, agglomerate or subdivide as well as having the power to remove covenants, and re-designate some reserves.

Planning and consenting powers could also be given to the UDA, which will then be the consenting authority for any resource consents necessary to complete the project.

A UDA can also be given powers to create, move, alter, extend or build infrastructure, and fund it through targeted infrastructure charges or development contributions.

The powers given to a UDA will only endure for the life of any particular development project. Appeal rights are reduced similarly to the Special Housing Areas, and there are no public hearings.

“The proposal will no doubt receive mixed reviews – welcomed by eligible public entities and the private sector willing to partner with public entities, who wish to fast-track urban development, but criticised by those who see the streamlined processes as a further erosion of public participation in planning and consenting processes,” says Vanessa.

The period for submissions on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment discussion document closes May 19.