Re-zoning of public education land in Unitary Plan process
The request was successful.
From: Julie Fairey
Dear Auckland Council,
I am requesting written confirmation of information received verbally that the Ministry of Education has requested that all school and public tertiary institutions be given under-lining zoning reflecting surrounding zones through the Unitary Plan process.
I would additionally like to know:
1. How was the request communicated by the MOE and who did it come from? Ideally I would like a copy of the request
2. What rationale was given by MOE to change the zoning approach for public education sites in the Unitary Plan
3. Who within Auckland Council made the decision to accept MOE's proposal to re-zone all public education sites (including a copy of any resolution or advice given to a political decision-making meeting that considered this matter)
4. What, if any, undertakings have been given to the MOE to pursue this right through the Unitary Plan process by Auckland Council, i.e. if there is community opposition will Auckland Council be open to reverting to the previous approach to not having an underlining zone at all?
I look forward to receiving a response. I can be contacted on 021 287 9900 or by email (email preferred).
From: Tony Reidy
Hi Julie - thanks for your email message regarding the draft Unitary Plan's approach to schools and Universities. I can advise:
1. The majority (6/7) of the current District Plans around the region have a residential or rural (if they lie in rural areas) zoning for schools. The exception is the Auckland City Plan which has a Special Purpose Education zoning.
All the Ministry of Education schools are also designated. All designations have an underlying zoning. This is required to guide the assessment of outline plans and if the designation is uplifted at the request of the Designating Authority, the underlying zoning becomes the zoning of the property.
Please find attached a copies of letters from the Ministry of Education and Catholic Schools outlining their preference for the "precinct" approach that is currently in the draft Unitary Plan. Integrated Schools are expressed their support - I am trying to track down their letter as well. In our meetings with the Universities, they also expressed preference for a similar approach - an underlying business zone with a Tertiary Education precinct. This was expressed verbally at our meetings with them. Let me know if you require the minutes of these meetings.
In respect of schools, the advantages of a "precinct" approach are:
- schools are able to utilise the base zone provisions for activities such as residential accommodation, hostels and utilise the base zone development controls, unless these are overridden by the precinct controls;
- the precinct can provide for those activities that are specific to schools and or have a more enabling approach for the further development of existing schools which is in line with the directives of the Auckland Plan;
- existing schools in the region can be identified by "turning on" the precinct layer;
- if some of the larger schools have land that is surplus to requirements, there is certainty about what development can take place because there is already a zoning in place. Deletion of the overlying precinct or part of it would require a plan change;
- the approach buildings upon the Learning Quarter approach for Auckland University and AUT and moves away from a "single purpose" school zone
- the approach has strong support form the key stakeholders
2. The zoning approach for schools has therefore only changed for the former Auckland city area. It essentially remains the same for all other parts of the region, except a "school" precinct now also applies.
3. The Auckland Plan committee signed off on the Draft Unitary Plan prior to its release to the public. Officers had raised the issue of how school and universities were to be treated as a potential issue. There was a long list of potential issues so they did not specifically debate it.
4. There has been no undertakings to the Min of Education, other than to adopt the precinct approach for the draft plan. We have obviously worked closely with the Min of Ed, Catholic Schools and Integrated Schools to come up with a planning approach that meets their needs and the needs of the community. If there is widespread public opposition then the Council would consider this as part of the feedback on the draft plan. Note however my comments above, that this approach is effectively what 6/7 of the former Councils have anyway - so it is not new.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.