Archive | Neighbourhoods

Tavern was left off list of licensed premises in new residential zoning

Albany Inn owner fails in bid for controlled activity status

North Shore City hearings commissioners decided today the Albany Inn should not be added to a list of hospitality outlets around the city given controlled activity status after being moved into a residential zoning under the city’s proposed district plan.

Because of the large area for development next to the hotel’s land at the end of the Albany village, half of which is to be turned over to a housing subdivision, and also because of Transit’s concern at having options for The Avenue intersection closed down, the three councillors sitting as commissioners decided the inn should be given discretionary status.

That will give neighbours and Transit the right to be consulted should the inn property’s owners decide to develop the site. The inn operates under existing use rights, but is now in a residential 5 zone which does not provide for licensed premises, so any further development would require a non-complying resource consent application.

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Levies, antennae, and using legal access

Shore committee ponders issues

North Shore City Council’s regulatory & hearings committee chairman Wyn Hoadley used her casting vote at the six-member committee’s first meeting to change the timing of payment of a resource consent reserves levy.

Mayor George Wood might have swung a decision without the need for a casting vote, but hadn’t spoken during the debate so was unable to cast the deciding vote.

Planning consultant Steven Dietsch sought a change in timing of the financial contribution payment condition imposed when hearings commissioners granted Premier Lifestyle Villages (David McFarlane) resource consent in December 2000 for a retirement village complex on Fairview Rd, Albany.

The commissioners required payment of the levy, based on 9.9m²/unit instead of the maximum 20m²/unit, wwithin three months of granting of that consent.

Mr Dietsch argued that the council couldn’t impose the levy under its new district plan because that plan wasn’t operative, which left it to make a charge under the Local Government Act. But he said that act allowed the council to take its levy only at the end of a development.

Mr Dietsch said the village would be developed in stages over a maximum five years, and it was unreasonable to require full payment before completion. He suggested the levy be paid when the code compliance certificate was lodged with the council, before any of the village’s units was used.

But the committee voted for payment in stages, when the building consent was uplifted for each stage, and calculated on a new market valuation at each stage.

Cllr Hoadley said she’d begun compiling a list of information the committee needed some short staff reports on, starting with one on financial contributions, accounting for them so the council would know how much of each levy was spent in the local neighbourhood.

Cllr Andrew Eaglen said he wanted a policy in front of councillors showing when reserves levies might or might not be waived.

Cllr Hoadley said a session should be conducted for councillors early in the new year to enable them not to make ad hoc decisions.

Clear antennae hearing

After traipsing round the country’s councils with larger commercial areas getting global consent for unlimited antenna sites for Clear Communications Ltd’s wireless communications network through business zones and some other zones, Harrison Grierson senior planner Poul Israelson got back to North Shore City on Thursday.

He was there 18 months ago but felt the concept wasn’t well understood. Meanwhile, Clear notched up antenna approvals around the rest of the country.

The two types of small antennae currently envisaged being attached to attached to buildings are a $20,000 model and a $3-4000 one, which Mr Israelson said had capacity about seven times greater than Telecom’s Jetstream for internet access.

Members of Auckland City Council’s planning fixtures sub-committee deferred their consideration of the antennae for a week in June because they didn’t know the sites Clear would use the antennae for, and also because they were concerned at the principle of blanket consents.

One week later, they granted consent on a non-notified basis.

On the Shore, Clear is seeking approval to erect antennae in four of the city’s six wards, excluding Devonport & East Coast Bays.

Cllr Hoadley said that because of the council’s desire for transparency between it & community boards, the proposal could be considered by a committee of nine — an independent chairman (a councillor from either of the wards not involved), the co-ordinating commissioner (councillor) from each ward, and each community board chairman.

Cllr Heather Brown felt the issue should go to community boards, for them to make a recommendation back to the regulatory & hearings committee, Cllr Gary Holmes said “Let’s not do overkill for what is a controlled activity, while Cllr Margaret Miles said the chairman & deputy chairman could appoint appropriate commissioners to deal with it.

Mr Israelson told the councillors the Ministry for the Environment had a legal opinion from two major firms, Bell Gully and Phillips Fox, on when global consents were appropriate.

Cllr Hoadley said an officers’ report could be prepared for the committee’s next meeting, in three weeks, when commissioners would be appointed, “and we will probably hear this early in the new year.”

Third anniversary for consent quest

The regulatory & hearings committee has agreed to a request from Dan Glew to appoint an independent commissioner to hear his application to subdivide his property, which runs between 88 Ngataringa Rd & 85 Aramoana Avenue, Devonport.

I wrote about this issue in February this year on a question of overdoing the democratic process (Efficiency? Does an access issue need that much democracy?).

The application was lodged in December 1998, but has gone through a couple of changes since then. Mostly, though, it’s been before the council & the Devonport community board because Mr Glew wants to form a never-formed piece of roadway to give access to the new lot.

Some locals opposed formation of the roadway because it would interfere with the Aramoana Reserve, above Ngataringa Bay, and they opposed removal of a karo tree from the roadway to allow access. The community board granted consent to remove the tree in October last year.

In February, the application to form the road access went through a 2½-hour works & environment committee meeting, councillors made a site visit then voted 10-6 at a full council meeting in favour of allowing the access.

On 8 October, Mr Glew lodged his replacement consent application for subdivision, along with his request for it to be heard by an independent commissioner. He also wants a five-year consent period.

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Rodney consent activity, April 2001

Latest: Dairy Flat notification, Matheson Pakiri appeal, Sharp Rd Matakana appeal, delegated decisions reported 25 January.

10 April 2001

Dairy Flat, 149 Austin Rd, application has been made to subdivide the 16.18ha site into five lots of 2-5ha. Submissions close with the Rodney District Council on 4 May.

5 April 2001

Appeals

Pakiri, Pakiri River Rd, three appeals have been filed over the JD & EA Matheson family trust’s beachfront subdivision application (Earlier stories: Pakiri beachfront subdivision approved and
Those who understood the subdivision didn’t speak). The trustees have appealed against consent conditions relating to building height, building restrictions, construction of unformed road and road standard.

The Thorp Pakiri family trust has appealed against consent on grounds of unsustainable resource management, a failure to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations, that consent will not enable social, economic and cultural well-being, and the consent decisions are inadequate to prevent adverse effects on the environment.

The Auckland Regional Council has appealed on grounds of inadequate protection of another site to be covenanted as part of the subdivision deal, the lack of building material and colour conditions, the potential for visually intrusive buildings on two sites, the failure to address potential cumulative effects, and the resultant failure to meet regional and district policies and guidelines.

Matakana, 57 Sharp Rd, IE & MR MacDonald have appealed against refusal of consent for their proposed two-lot subdivision of 8.88ha

Delegated decisions:

Matakana ward

Kawau Island, 8 Schoolhouse Bay Rd, C Sibley & M Norton, five-dwelling unit title approved.

Snells Beach, 328 Mahurangi East Rd, Mahurangi Community Trust Inc, consent to erect a community-owned fire station.

Helensville ward

Helensville, 93 Mill Rd, Linda Ashton, consent to erect an industrial building incorporating a panelbeater’s premises.

Hibiscus Coast ward

Silverdale, 38 & 46 Anvil Rd, D Johnson, consent to build a factory to store hazardous goods.

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Regional council’s Long Bay acquisition bill tops $8.5 million

Final cost 48% above offer

Independent arbitrator Alan Galbraith QC put a $7.9 million price tag on 3 pieces of land the Auckland Regional Council wants to add to the Long Bay regional park.

That’s $2.13 million more than the regional council budgeted for when it signed to buy the land a year ago, but the council agreed to buy the lot, rather than opt for the alternative of paying the original sum and accepting less land.

The council decided in December 2001 to compulsorily acquire 5.8ha of prime beachfront land from Landco Long Bay Ltd (Greg Olliver), to add to the existing 110ha of regional park.

“The ARC’s bottom line has remained the same throughout this lengthy land acquisition process — we remain committed to responsible use of ratepayers’ money. The council was determined to acquire more land at Long Bay to add to the regional park but at a fair market price,” parks & heritage committee chairman Cllr Bill Burrill said.

Councillors agreed on Monday to borrow half the extra money required — $1.065 million – and take the other half from its parks purpose reserve.

On top of that, $125,000 has been added to the $515,500 budget for the arbitration process, with up to $30,000 more for professional fees to finalise the award.

That puts the price tag at $8.54 million plus the final fee, 48% higher than the $5.77 million already paid.

North Shore City Council agreed last December to pay $22.475 million for the 38.5ha it wanted to take from Landco for reserve — an extra 14.4%, or $3.245 million. The alternative for both councils was to pay the sum originally handed over and accept a smaller area.

Earlier arbitration story: Shore councillors agree to pay 14.4% more for Long Bay reserve

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Waitakere City Council resource consent & planning activity

Council introduces 3 variations

The council has resolved to introduce 3 variations to the district plan, Variations 88 & 89 affecting Swanson, and Variation 90 introducing some general changes.

Variation 88, Swanson structure plan, submissions close Friday 5 April.

The variation proposes introduction of the Swanson structure plan map identifying bush protection areas, revegetation areas, stream enhancement areas and numbers on existing lots depicting the total number of possible sites.

It introduces modified riparian margins, reidentifies part of 33 Coulter Rd, Swanson, from general natural area to restoration natural area, and reidentifies 1239-1249 Scenic Drive North from Waitakere Ranges environment to Foothills environment.

Variation 89, Swanson railway station radius, submissions close Friday 5 April.

The variation relates to relocation of the 500m radius circle from the station to Swanson village.

Variation 90, Waiarohia structure plan, submissions close Friday 5 April.

The variation relates to changes to the explanation of the strategic direction, policies & methods (point 6.2.1, managing population pressures outside the urban area).

It also proposes subdivision rule changes, changes to the matters over which the council has discretion for limited discretionary activities to include Whenuapai airbase operational integrity, and additions to countryside environment subdivision assessment criteria.

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Office tower didn’t work, so on to plan B

Convention centre for Symphony Hobson St site

Symphony Group can switch from plans for an office block to a convention centre for the Hobson St site adjoining the Heritage Grand hotel.

Auckland City Council’s planning fixtures subcommittee decided yesterday to allow the switch as a noncomplying use in what is now designated a residential precinct of downtown Auckland under the proposed district plan.

The development company was granted consent for the change without the need for notification of its proposal or a hearing.

Symphony turned the former Farmers’ department store on the corner of Hobson and Wyndham Sts into a hotel then built the Heritage Grand on Nelson St, with the lane between them turned into a private road.

The Heritage Grand construction programme incorporated three levels of underground parking for both that 15-storey building and the proposed 16-floor office block which was to back on to it across the lane from the original Heritage. However Symphony was unable to convince the market of the merits of its office proposal.

Meanwhile, AMP Asset Management has closed the Downtown Convention Centre to make way for its Waterfront Tower on Quay St. So Symphony decided last November to apply for consent to build a 4500m² convention centre, with allocation to it of 132 out of the 412 parking spaces originally allowed.

But a complication for the new proposal is that a convention centre, the sort of place likely to attract large volumes of vehicles, is only allowed a few parks under the city council’s far-from-proactive encouragement of the populace to use public transport.

The existing district plan allows one park to 105m² in this precinct, and the proposed plan would cut the allowance to 1:160m². So the plans allow 42 spaces (now) or 27 (the proposed plan).

But you can hardly fill in all the parking spaces already created, and in any case committee members were more concerned that there wouldn’t be enough parking, while senior planner John Stoupe vainly tried to support the “let’s all catch the bus” notion.

A suggestion from city planning manager John Duthie that there would be capacity nearby at the Sky City casino and hotel and under the ANZ Centre was ignored.

Symphony must provide 90 of the 132 spaces for short-term public parking, an imposition directed at deterring all-day commuter parking, but without another past deterrent factor, a council-imposed pricing schedule aimed at putting people off parking altogether.

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Big-tenant signings could hit 100,000m² this year

Synnott says more big leases in pipeline, new tower needed around 2005

Colliers Jardine managing director Mark Synnott says another officer tower could be built in downtown Auckland in 4-6 years.

The demand is evident, he told members of the Property Council tonight at a Christmas function in the Royal SunAlliance Centre in Shortland St.

Last year was known to be a big one in leasing terms in Auckland — 12 years after the big leasing year of the 80s, with numerous expiries requiring major tenants to decide whether to stay put, requiring a refurbishment, or shift into new premises.

But Mr Synnott said 1999 was already dwarfed by leasings this year — 80,000m² to tenants requiring at least 1000m², compared to 70,000m² to big tenants last year — and he expected the figure to reach 100,000m² by year’s end.

One of the biggest signings of the year is to ASB Bank, which will get an impressively different new back-office building of about 9000m² at the southern entrance to Neil International’s Albany Centre. Earthworks have begun just above the Greville Rd-Albany Highway intersection for the building, worth about $25 million.

Mr Synnott said Colliers Jardine was talking to three prospective city tenants, all for spaces of 6-8000m², which would need premium premises in about 2005. The market was tightening, with another major AMP tenant expected to be signed by the end of the year and negotiations on 3-4 floors of the Royal SunAlliance Centre.

One factor to boost the premium inner-city market was the international rationalisation of businesses. Without mergers and acquisitions activity, he said the New Zealand market would have been very quiet. But big international mergers such as Price Waterhouse with Coopers & Lybrand (going into AMP’s waterfront PricewaterhouseCoopers Tower) made the difference.

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Chinese buyer for Westpac’s Queen St building

A first-time Chinese investor has bought Westpac Bank’s 10-storey building at 79-85 Queen St for $12.345 million at a 9.4% yield, in a sale/leaseback deal.

The sale completes Westpac’s 2-year property divestment programme. Westpac remains the sole tenant of the 4102m² building, sold with a 9-year lease in place.

The bank has also taken 6 floors in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Tower on Quay St. The sale was negotiated by David Bayley and James Chan of Bayleys Real Estate.

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Takanini plan takes shape

Public sticks with planning process

Sixty Takanini residents and property owners took part in the third of five public workshops being held to decide the look of the now mostly rural South Auckland area if it gets the planned 20,000 people and 3000 more jobs.

The first of the Takanini workshops on 1 March attracted 150 people. Fourth in the series,organised by the Papakura District Council, is scheduled for 28 March and the wrapup is set down for Tuesday, 4 April.

Under the regional growth strategy agreed to by councils last year, planners have estimated the Auckland population might double over the next 50 years and have won support for their view that, in general, the urban limit should not continue its outward march. That means 70% of this population growth will be contained inside the boundary.

At Takanini, however, the line is stretched a little and the existing population of about 3000 will grow to about 20,000. The growth strategy style is for the most intense population growth to be around nodes — places like railway stations and bus terminals, where a mix of commerce and residence should be created.

Papakura District Council’s policy planner, Stephanie Hammond, says the clear preference for higher density residential and commercial development to be near railway stations is a theme emerging through the workshop series, or charrettes.

Concern was strongly expressed in the first charrette that the area could be submerged in low-quality state housing. Ms Hammond said people attending the series had continued to call for high-quality housing, plenty of open space, landscaped streets and parks, the protection of remaining natural areas and the provision of facilities, schools and shops within walking distance.

“They want the Papakura Stream landscaped and developed for recreation, and lifestyle blocks retained in the areas most affected by flooding and furthest from transport networks.

“Participants have also called for clear decisions and timelines for development so that existing residents and owners are certain when and how development will occur.”

The regional growth strategy identified Takanini and nearby Hingaia for greenfield development last year. When the charrette series is finished, the district council will begin a process to finalise a structure plan and rezone Takanini. The evening charrettes are being held in the Papakura Netball Centre in Bruce Pulman Park on Walters Rd, Takanini.

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Golden HSBC building sold

Yield on current rent (ignoring renovation cost) 8.7%

Queen St landmark, the golden-glassed HSBC building on the corner of Wellesley St, has been sold for $13.65 million, after a $2.73 million refurbishment programme.

Singapore company Sintau Ltd (Ng Siong Tee) bought the building in 1993 for $15.54 million, up from the $14.125 million some other Chinese investors paid earlier that year. The new buyer is also Chinese.

Fletcher Challenge built what it called Queen Street One (at No 290) in 1985 for $8.5 million. The 5898m² building had 15 storeys, including a ground-floor arcade and parking in the basement and on level 1.

HSBC, which also has naming rights on the HSBC Centre at 1 Queen St, recently renewed its lease for 5 years. Out of the renovations, the Wendy’s hamburger restaurant has Queen St & mezzanine levels and 4 other shops have Queen St exposure.

The basement was renovated to provide additional retail space for HSBC and a new retail frontage was also provided for HSBC.

4 of the office levels (3, 4, 7 & 8, each of 414m²) are vacant.

The property was sold by David Bayley & James Chan of Bayleys Real Estate. Mr Bayley said current net income of $1.191 million gave a yield on sale of 8.7%.

Projected net rental income for the building when fully leased is about $1.486 million.

Mr Chan said Asian investment interest in New Zealand remained strong, despite the appreciation in the New Zealand dollar. The attraction lay in New Zealand’s stable investment environment and income yields which are higher than in Asia.

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