This article is the first in a series on parking and we will be looking at the changing regulations around the provision of parking in Auckland.
In subsequent articles we will consider how much parking you might need for your activity, and provide some advice on how you might be able to make do with less parking. We will also discuss what to do when the number of spaces you need is different to the number permitted by the rules, and parking in relation to subdivision design. Some of our other articles deal with the design of parking to maximise efficiency.
New Parking Rules
Here in Auckland the development of the Unitary Plan (the rule-book for development) has generated quite a lot of discussion around parking as the new rules:
• Often require lower parking requirements than previous rules
• In some areas there are no minimum parking requirements
• In some areas a maximum number of spaces is imposed.
At the time of writing this article the Decisions Version of the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) has been released but is not fully Operative as a number of appeals against the plan are in process. That means that when making a decision on a resource consent application Council must consider both the old District Plan rules and the new Unitary Plan rules. Once the appeals have been resolved and the new rules become Operative the old rules will cease to apply.
Why Reduce Parking?
The principal reasons for reducing the number of parking spaces required or allowed are to reduce traffic congestion and to increase development efficiency. Auckland Council is seeking to reduce the growth in demand for peak-hour travel in private vehicles and is using reductions in parking to assist in achieving that goal. It is hoped that by limiting the number of parking spaces provided for activities such as offices that commuters will elect to take public transport instead. With a reduction in parking spaces the redevelopment of valuable land can be maximised.
There are some potential down-sides with this approach which we will discuss in other articles, but for now we will briefly summarise the new rules.
Different Rules for Different Areas
Centres and Apartments
Auckland has had parking maximums in the Central Business District (CBD) for many years, and more recently in Newmarket. The old CBD controls limited parking in order to reduce peak-hour congestion and were graduated in bands radiating out from the core of the CBD.
The new rules are similar but are extended into new areas including the City Centre, satellite centres including town and local centres, the Mixed Use Zone and the Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings (THAB) zone.
In those areas there is no requirement to provide any parking, and instead there are maximum limits on the parking that is permitted, although there is no maximum on dwellings in the THAB zone. In many cases the maximums are less than the old minimums.
Parking in the area covered by the Central Fringe Office Control (CFOC) is a little different in that there is no minimum, and no maximum except for office activities. Office activities have maximum parking limits everywhere in Auckland. If a site is zoned Mixed Use but also covered by the CFOC then the CFOC parking rules apply.
All Other Areas
In all other areas minimum required parking numbers remain, albeit that the rates are often lower than many of the former District Plan rates.
There is no minimum for small dwellings in the Mixed Housing Urban zone. There are no maximums except for office activities.
The definitive guide to the parking rules is the Unitary Plan itself, and at present the current version is the Decisions Version of the Auckland Unitary Plan. The parking rules are in Chapter E27 Auckland-Wide - Infrastructure - Transport.
How Much Parking Should I Provide?
The old District Plan minimum parking requirements were intended to match parking supply to parking demand. While they didn’t all get it right these minimum requirements were often a reasonably good guide to the parking needed by most activities, but those rates are now gone in many areas. Many applicants are left wondering “How much should I provide?” We’ll address that question in our next article in this series.
In the meantime, if you would like to know more about this topic or get our advice on your situation, please start a conversation.