7Coastal environments

Design Outcome

Development along the coast is very carefully planned, to ensure that the natural character values of the coast are maintained or enhanced.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Many elevated coastal developments in Auckland originate from unregulated bach developments that, over time, have been extended into complete family homes. 

Larger coastal buildings, coupled with ongoing coastal erosion, mean that visible developments along Auckland’s coastline are increasing. However, with the exception of major commercial waterfront areas, most of Auckland’s developed coastline still retains a dense canopy of plants that softens, and sometimes completely screens, development. Any new subdivision along Auckland’s coastline must be planned carefully, and consider any erosion and coastal characteristics. Extensive landscaping and building setbacks should be incorporated in almost every instance.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Better Design Practice

  • Emphasise public edges along the coast that protect coastal character and ensure that everyone can enjoy access.
  • Maximise views and access to the coast in the design and direction of streets and open spaces, so that everyone can enjoy access and views. For example, have blocks that run away from the coast instead of alongside the coastal edge.
  • Do not allow the coastal character to be taken over by land development, especially along cliff edges. Consider using covenants, consent notices or other methods to keep the coastal edge clear of structures. Alternatively, design narrower and deeper sections so that houses can be set further back from the coastal edge.​

Rules of Thumb

1. Locate building platforms sufficiently back from the coastal edge so that a buffer of vegetation can maintain the coastal character and screen views of buildings.


Structures should be no closer than 23m to the coastal edge, allowing 20m of esplanade reserve space and three metres for a typical rear or front yard. Decks or platforms extending beyond this should be planned very carefully to avoid creating shadow beneath the surface and to withstand coastal conditions.

2. Limit retaining walls that can be seen from the coast.


3. Use palisade walls carefully by:


  • setting walls back from the coastal edge so that they are not uncovered by erosion soon after construction
  • using a colour that matches the ground and is not a smooth texture so that the wall will not be obvious when exposed.