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The step-by-step guide to complying with the E27 Transport section of the Auckland Unitary Plan

E27 Transport is one of the, if not the most, complicated sections of the Unitary Plan. What’s more, its rules affect most projects.

This article helps you cut through the complexity and efficiently detect reasons for consent and relevant standards to comply with.

Simply follow the steps below and read further in those areas relevant to your project and you’ll systematically ensure you’ve covered everything you need to. Here goes:

Step 1 - Does a Vehicle Access Restriction apply?

Vehicle Access Restrictions (VARs) lead to additional reasons for consent. VARs apply to parts of a site boundary and arise in the following two sets of circumstances:

1) Parts of the site boundary are subject to the following controls indicated on the planning maps:

  • Vehicle Access Restriction - General Control in Business - City Centre Zone

  • Key Retail Frontage Control

2) Parts of the site boundary which:

  • Is within 10m of an intersection as measured from the property boundary.

  • Has frontage to an arterial road as identified on the planning maps (I refer to GeoMaps)

  • Is located closer than 30m from a railway level crossing limit line.

  • Is subject to the following types of VARs as identified on the planning maps:

    • Vehicle Access Restriction - General Control (except in Business - City Centre Zone)

    • Vehicle Access Restriction - Motorway Interchange Control

    • Vehicle Access Restriction - Level Crossing Control

If a VAR applies, keep reading. If neither of the above applies, jump to step 2 - you don’t have to worry about VARs.

So a VAR applies to your project. The reasons for consent resulting from a VAR vary depending on which of the two circumstances above resulted in a VAR applying to your project.

If a VAR applies under 1), you may trigger a reason for consent for the following activities: E27.4.1(A6), E27.4.1(A7) or E27.4.1(A8).

If a VAR applies under 2), you may trigger a reason for consent relating to activity E27.4.1(A5).

Jump into the E27 Document to see if any of the relevant activities mentioned above apply to your project. Then move on to step 2.

Step 2 - Do I infringe any general standards

Activity E27.4.1(A2) means that ANY infringed parking, loading or access standard will result in a reason for consent.

That means you must ensure that your proposal complies with all standards. Checking all these can be a very long and frustrating process, that’s why I’ve made the following list of checks to help you breeze through standards, quickly identifying areas that require further attention. (It might help to print this out and mark it up as you go.)

E27.6.2 Number of parking and loading spaces

  • Number of parking spaces - check tables in this section for min and max requirements.

  • Bicycle parking - only for larger developments > 20 dwellings and non-residential activities.

  • End of trip facilities - only for offices, education, facilities, hospitals.

  • Number of loading spaces:

    • If the proposal involves retail and industrial activities - loading spaces required where Gross Floor Area (GFA) > 300m2.

    • For all other activities (such as residential) - loading spaces required where GFA > 5000m2.

E27.6.3 Design of parking and loading spaces

  • If the proposal involves parking spaces - they must comply with E27.6.3.1. Size and location of parking spaces.

  • If the proposal involves loading spaces - they must comply with E27.6.3.2. Size and location of loading spaces.

E27.6.3.3 Access and Manoeuvring

  • Every parking space (including those within carports, garages and areas dedicated to parking) - must have access for vehicles to enter and exit from the road.

  • All access and manoeuvring areas - must comply with 85 percentile car tracking curves

E27.6.3.4 Reverse Manoeuvring

If the following apply to your proposal:

  • 4+ parking spaces served by a single access.

  • >30m between parking space and road boundary.

  • Access from an arterial road or subject to a VAR.

You must provide sufficient space for a car to manoeuvre so that it doesn’t have to reverse off the site or out onto the road.

E27.6.3.5 Vertical clearance

  • If any structures over access - check there is adequate clearance over access.

E27.6.3.6 Formation and gradient

  • For all zones except certain rural zones - check surface and drainage of parking, loading and access.

  • For all parking spaces - gradients must not exceed:

    • 1 in 25 for accessible spaces

    • 1 in 20 for other spaces

  • For all manoeuvring areas - gradients must not exceed 1 in 8.

E27.6.3.7 Lighting

  • If 10 or more parks used during the hours of darkness - check this standard and E24 Lighting document to ensure lighting is compliant.

E27.6.4 Access

If you are creating a new access, altering an existing access or using an existing access to service the establishment of a new activity, a change of activity type or the expansion or intensification of an existing activity, all the following rules (beginning E27.6.4.X) on access apply:

E27.6.4.2 Width and number of vehicle crossings

Check all vehicle crossings comply with:

  • Maximum number of vehicle crossings per frontage

  • Minimum separation from crossings serving adjacent sites

  • Minimum separation between crossings serving the same site.

If any new vehicle crossing or alteration of an existing vehicle crossing (e.g. repair, replacement, widening or relocation), this will require vehicle crossing approval from Auckland Transport.

E27.6.4.3 Width of vehicle access and queuing requirements

  • Check all access complies with the following:

    • Crossing is between minimum and maximum allowed width at site boundary

    • Access width isn’t less than minimum required formed access width

  • If length of access exceeds 50m - check passing bay requirements

E27.6.4.4 Gradient of vehicle access

  • For residential sites with a gradient steeper than 1 in 5 - check maximum gradient.

  • If heavy vehicle access and non residential activities involved - check maximum gradient.

  • If any sharp transitions in gradients likely to cause underside of car striking ground - check guidance on transitions.

  • For all access - a platform (4m in length for residential and 6m otherwise) with gradient no steeper than 1 in 20 must be provided to stop and check for pedestrians where access adjoins road boundary. Check if you think you’ll infringe.

E27.6.4.5 Sightlines for road/rail level crossings

  • If planning maps indicate ‘Level Crossings With Sightlines Control’, check compliance with this standard and activity E27.4.1(A9).

Step 3 - Other rare instances to quickly rule out/look into

With step 1 and 2 completed, only a few rare reasons for consent remain. These can be quickly checked before you’re all done.

  • Do you breach trip generation thresholds? Check E27.6.1 for larger projects - for example of scale, applies to residential projects of 100 dwellings or more. Relevant activity is E27.4.1(A3) .

  • Does the proposal involve access to the state highway network? If so you need NZTA approval (refer to E27.4).

Finally, I’ve omitted the following activities which only apply in rare cases:

  • Park’n’ride

  • Public transport facilities

  • Non-accessory parking (where parking is the main purpose of the proposal)

  • Off-site parking

  • Construction of road and pedestrian rail level crossings on the rail network.

I won’t cover these any further but if any apply to your project go to the activity table in E27.


That’s it! By systematically stepping through all the possible areas a reason for consent might arise the guesswork is removed from submitting an application. That means less bounced applications, late-commissioned transport reports and frustrating design changes. On Rico we make a habit of applying an efficient and systematic approach to the entire application process. If that sounds good, you know where to find us.

This article was based on the E27 Transport document current on 4/10/19. Plan documents change, so be sure to check for any relevant changes.

Disclaimer: The above is intended to be general information. Each application is different and the circumstances of your application may mean this information is not correct, therefore this should not be solely relied upon when putting together an application.

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