Archive | Zone review

Panel “not convinced” proposed level of heritage protection needed

The hearing panel on the Auckland unitary plan issued interim guidance on Wednesday indicating it’s not convinced that special character is “historic heritage” requiring protection as a matter of national importance.

Interim guidance issued by the panel does not amount to a recommendation, but points to a view the panel has reached at this stage of proceedings on likely changes to the plan as notified.

The panel said the demolition control overlay for buildings constructed before 1944 “is placing unnecessary constraints & burdens on landowners seeking to develop their properties”.

Other key points in the interim guidance:

  • If Auckland Council wishes to change the provisions from special character to historic character (ie, a change from section 7 to section 6 of the Resource Management Act), then it should proceed by a plan change
  • Howick should remain a special character area
  • Additional special character areas should be addressed by a future plan change
  • The demolition control overlay is also an unnecessary burden on submitters preparing for hearings on topic 079, special character & pre-1944 mapping
  • No evidence to suggest that the pre-1944 buildings are at any significant risk of demolition or relocation
  • No evidence that the areas where there are pre-1944 buildings are at risk of losing their character
  • If the council wishes to pursue the pre-1944 demolition control overlay, this should be done through a plan change process.

Link: Full interim guidance

Attribution: Panel guidance.

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More plan change 163 strikeout applications next week, substantive hearing off until October

Published 8 August 2012

The Environment Court hearing on appeals against the Auckland Council’s plan change 163 – which introduces demolition & removal controls on houses in the isthmus residential 2 zone – almost got started yesterday.

Instead, the council’s counsel, Bill Loutit, produced what he said was rebuttal evidence after Judge Laurie Newhook last week struck out the application to impose demolition restrictions on 2 Remuera properties. Other lawyers responded by claiming some of the rebuttal was new evidence, so they’d need time to consider it.

The outcome of the first day’s proceedings was that Judge Newhook said he’d hear any other straightforward strikeout applications next Wednesday, other parties that want to apply to have evidence excluded must tell the court by Monday 20 August and the case will return to court for the week starting 15 October.

The judge said he hoped to make decisions on the handful of other strikeout applications within the following 2 days next week. He also wanted to set a timetable next Wednesday for parties still in the case to lodge further evidence.

Last week, Judge Newhook struck out the council’s case for mapping demolition controls affecting 2 Remuera residential properties. The successful applicants for a partial strikeout of the council’s case were Carol Faull & Henry Hall, owners of properties on Ranui & Coombes Rds. The controls are intended to preserve the character created by the zone’s pre-1940 homes.

Judge Newhook said there were issues of significant potential value in relation to the 27 properties still appealing, “hence the lineup (of lawyers) we’ve got here”.

The former Auckland City Council began work towards demolition controls in 2003, introduced plan change 163 in 2005 and put its maps out for consultation in 2010.

Earlier stories:

4 August 2012: Newhook strikes out demolition controls on 2 Remuera homes, lashes council (extended version)

3 August 2012: Newhook strikes out demolition controls on 2 Remuera homes (original short version)

25 June 2012: Council won’t notify every heritage demolition application, still working on guidelines

13 June 2010: Residential 2 demolition maps out for consultation

5 April 2010: Fryer decries mayor’s “victory for common sense” as maps show heritage protection “hotchpotch”

10 August 2008: Lotu-Iiga says strongest heritage zone support appears to be for blanket approach

15 July 2008: Council issues maps showing what old houses can be demolished

11 July 2008: Heritage plan change revisions out for consultation

11 April 2008: Council holds line on residential 1, takes closer look at residential 2 character areas

19 February 2007: Residential 1 & 2 recommendations back in April-May

31 December 2006: Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 1

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 2

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 3

4 September 2005: Council moves to stop pre-40s demolition

28 June 2005: Anti-demolition plan change undergoes some councillor rewriting

29 May 2005: Plan change 163 stops residential 1 & 2 zone demolition

17 September 2004: Money allocated for review of Auckland’s special character zones

15 September 2004: Herne Bay alarm at heritage villa displacement may be followed by stricter rules

14 May 2003: Councillors deal with array of issues on the develop/preserve conflict

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Attribution: Hearing, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Newhook strikes out demolition controls on 2 Remuera homes, lashes council (extended version)

Published 3 August 2012, additions & changes 4 August 2012

Environment Judge Laurie Newhook has struck out the Auckland Council’s proposal to subject 2 Remuera residential properties to demolition controls under plan change 163, intended to protect heritage properties in the residential 2 zone on the Auckland isthmus.

In doing so, the judge gave the council a tongue-lashing for non-performance.

The successful applicants for a partial strikeout of the council’s case were Carol Faull & Henry Hall, owners of properties on Ranui & Coombes Rds, who’d joined in the plan change 163 proceedings their properties’ inclusion in the demolition control area.

The controls are intended to preserve the character created by the zone’s pre-1940 homes.

Judge Newhook said in his 26 July interlocutory decision the 2 properties hadn’t originally been included in the former Auckland City Council’s mapping of properties it wanted to be covered by the demolition controls, but came into contention as a result of a submission by the Remuera Heritage Society.

The society withdrew from proceedings but was replaced by environmental lawyer Richard Brabant (acting as a Remuera resident), who’d sought to maintain the controls on these & numerous other properties.

 

In April 2009, the old city council said it was carrying out a new survey of the zone to check which parts should be subject to demolition controls. Debate over mapping continued and, in May this year, the new council circulated evidence of heritage architect Jeremy Salmond, attaching one-page assessments of each of the 2 properties in question (among others).

Mr Hall & Ms Faull asked the court to strike out the controls, arguing they were frivolous, vexatious and in abuse of procedure in that they contained no assessment addressing the settled criteria. One of the criteria was “a coherent repetition of building of similar styles” and the other applied to buildings which could be of diverse styles, were pre-1940 structures of individual architectural value (only one of these 2 houses was pre-1940) and contributed significantly to the distinctive quality of streetscape character.

The second set of criteria applied to these 2 properties. Counsel for Ms Faull & Mr Hall, Russell Bartlett said Mr Salmond’s assessment didn’t identify the houses constituting the group, said the only “quality of the built environment” identified for the group was its diversity, but this wasn’t put forward as a distinctive quality of this particular streetscape.

Mr Bartlett said the council’s position should have been given in evidence-in-chief but the council thought it could do this through rebuttal. However, his clients didn’t propose to give evidence so there would be nothing to rebut. Mr Bartlett went on to say the council’s hoped-for method of filing evidence would be the antithesis of the code of conduct for expert witnesses and the court’s consolidated practice note.

Counsel for the council, Bill Loutit, said the whole body of Mr Salmond’s evidence displayed a thorough level of analysis, but Judge Newhook said that couldn’t disguise the absence of analysis of these 2 properties against the clear conjunctive criteria. The judge said it could be seen as “something of a substantial leap of faith” for Mr Salmond to move from a bald description of typical streetscape elements to asserting the need for demolition control.

Judge Newhook then questioned Mr Loutit’s attempt to show the public law element of the Resource Management Act’s purpose had more importance than private law rights. The judge agreed the purpose of the act stated in section 5 was overarching, but said public law elements could also be found in the court’s practice note and compliance with its code of conduct.

“Neither should it be overlooked that what people may do with their properties can be considered to come within the definition of sustainable management in section 5 (2), the enabling of people to provide for their social, economic & cultural wellbeing….

“Neither can I accept Mr Loutit’s plea that some leeway should be offered Mr Salmond & the council because of the sheer amount of work that has had to be done in relation to this plan change.

“The proceedings are very old and, indeed, the council has had the better part of the last 2 years to endeavour to get its mapping & assessments correct, with the assistance of its professional advisors. The shortcoming on this occasion is simply too great & fundamental.”

With a substantive hearing on the plan change 163 appeals due to start on Tuesday 7 August, Judge Newhook said there was hardly time for Ms Faull & Mr Hall to go through all the required briefing and exchanging of evidence. And, in any case, “this aging proceeding has suffered enough procedural twists & turns without introducing another of a fairly extreme nature….

“The failings in this case are those of the party seeking to impose the controls, the council – even if it inherited an interest in doing so from a party that has now departed the proceedings. This case is different from those in which inexperienced, self-represented litigants might have fallen short of procedural requirements and might be accorded a modicum of leniency.

“I accept Mr Bartlett’s point that, on this occasion, the council might at least before this interlocutory hearing (heard 24 July) have obtained from Mr Salmond a statement of supplementary evidence that it would seek leave to tender. If it had followed that course, the court might at least have been informed as to whether such evidence would actually be available from the witness, rather than leaving the court & the parties until 1 August to see whether that would be the case.”

Earlier stories:

3 August 2012: Newhook strikes out demolition controls on 2 Remuera homes (original short version)

25 June 2012: Council won’t notify every heritage demolition application, still working on guidelines

13 June 2010: Residential 2 demolition maps out for consultation

5 April 2010: Fryer decries mayor’s “victory for common sense” as maps show heritage protection “hotchpotch”

10 August 2008: Lotu-Iiga says strongest heritage zone support appears to be for blanket approach

15 July 2008: Council issues maps showing what old houses can be demolished

11 July 2008: Heritage plan change revisions out for consultation

11 April 2008: Council holds line on residential 1, takes closer look at residential 2 character areas

19 February 2007: Residential 1 & 2 recommendations back in April-May

31 December 2006: Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 1

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 2

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 3

4 September 2005: Council moves to stop pre-40s demolition

28 June 2005: Anti-demolition plan change undergoes some councillor rewriting

29 May 2005: Plan change 163 stops residential 1 & 2 zone demolition

17 September 2004: Money allocated for review of Auckland’s special character zones

15 September 2004: Herne Bay alarm at heritage villa displacement may be followed by stricter rules

14 May 2003: Councillors deal with array of issues on the develop/preserve conflict

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Attribution: Judgment, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Newhook strikes out demolition controls on 2 Remuera homes

Published 3 August 2012

Environment Judge Laurie Newhook has struck out the Auckland Council’s case for mapping demolition controls affecting 2 Remuera residential properties, with a tongue-lashing for council non-performance.

The successful applicants for a partial strikeout of the council’s case were Carol Faull & Henry Hall, owners f properties on Ranui & Coombes Rds, who’d joined in proceedings on the council’s plan change 163, introducing controls designed for heritage dwellings in the Auckland isthmus residential 2 zone.

The controls are intended to preserve the character created by the zone’s pre-1940 homes.

Judge Newhook said in his 26 July interlocutory decision the 2 properties hadn’t originally been included in the council’s mapping of properties it wanted to be covered by the demolition controls, but came into contention as a result of a submission by the Remuera Heritage Society.

The society withdrew from proceedings but was replaced by environmental lawyer Richard Brabant (acting as a Remuera resident), who’d sought to maintain the controls on these & numerous other properties.

I’ll return to this story hopefully later today.

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Attribution: Judgment, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Council won’t notify every heritage demolition application, still working on guidelines

Published 25 June 2012

The Auckland Council held back last week from recommending that demolition & removal of all pre-1940s houses in the residential 1 & 2 heritage zones be notified, instead working towards a new set of more precise guidelines.

The council will also look at extending heritage protection around the whole region, not just the 2 isthmus zones.

The plan change would have reversed the presumption under plan changes 163 & 192 that applications will be processed on a non-notified basis unless there’s cause to notify, just as proceedings to finalise appeals against those plan changes are nearing their end.

Those new guidelines will come through the unitary plan – the combined district & regional plan being written to implement the broad terms of the council’s new spatial plan (the Auckland Plan). The council has begun work on the unitary plan, which is scheduled for release in December, with consultation to come in early 2013.

The council’s Auckland Plan committee will consider a report on the unitary plan next month which includes heritage matters, to be followed by workshops for clusters of local boards.

The Auckland City Council brought in plan change 163 in its last term, introducing criteria for demolition & removal and for new buildings, but the council didn’t bring public notification of applications to the forefront.

In the new Auckland Council’s first weeks of existence at the end of 2010, it was confronted with a dispute over removal of 3 old houses in St Heliers and it has since had its roles of consent issuer & heritage protector questioned in demolition of old homes in western suburbs.

The new council set up a heritage advisory panel, which found the present rules left pre-1940s houses vulnerable to demolition. The council considered requiring all demolition or removal applications to be notified, but on legal advice the advisory panel stepped back from recommending a plan change.

Instead, the panel recommended the council develop more precise guidelines to identify the special circumstances giving rise t notification, allowed for under the Resource Management Act.

The council’s planning priority at the moment is to shape the unitary plan, which includes aligning zones separately created by all the predecessor councils. The regional development & operations committee decided last Thursday that the unitary plan political working party should investigate how to insert new provisions on heritage & historic character management into that plan.

Meanwhile, staff will have to handle applications in the 2 heritage residential zones using rules deemed inadequate. A report to the committee last week by north-west planning manager Warren Maclennan said there were 11,000 houses in the 2 heritage zones, and 74 applications had been approved between January 2007-February 2012 for full or partial demolition.

34 were in residential 1, 40 in residential 2, and 22 of the decisions were made in plan change 163’s first 2 years, when it had less weight. 7 approvals were for partial demolition, at least 15 buildings were found to have poor structural quality, 31 were significantly modified, 2 approvals were retrospective. The council declined 3 applications but they were granted on appeal to the Environment Court.

Other reasons for approval in that period included being on a rear site and making no contribution to the character of the area, and the new building being found to be in keeping with the surrounding character.

Mr Maclennan said the council initiated an internal review of its processes after criticism for allowing demolition of an old worker’s cottage on Paget St, Freemans Bay, and an application of that type could be dealt with quite differently now.

He said the revised process included:

discussion with the applicant before the application is lodgedapplicants being encouraged to present building plans when they seek consentthe local board being able to express its views before decisions are madea council heritage evaluation, with specific recommendationsdecision scrutiny by senior managementwhere heritage & planning staff differ, further review by senior managersif there’s still no consensus, scrutiny by independent experts, anda hearing where it’s deemed appropriate.

One change that might slow demolition is point the heritage advisory panel wants to consider – that heritage provisions in the unitary plan be given immediate effect on notification.

At the end of last Thursday’s committee debate, Cllr Sandra Coney said that in therm of this council, “I’ve been involved in 12 different issues round demolition, the latest Bethany Hospital in Grey Lynn. It is an issue that’s wider than residential 1 & 2.”

She believed the tension between heritage & intensification was overstated, commenting: “We have to see heritage as a value and unique to Auckland and not a problem. I don’t think we’ve yet grappled with that in terms of the funding that might be available.”

She said the recommendations, which she moved, wouldn’t totally address friction but should lead to more notification, “and the notification doesn’t necessarily lead to saving of the building. The purpose of notification is to flush out more information. A huge amount more was flushed out about that house on Paget St. It’s been my experience when you go through that process and people have been heard there is more acceptance of the outcome.”

Earlier stories:

30 May 2012: Council’s aspirational plan greeted by renewed attack on heritage performance

30 May 2012: St Heliers pair say Brisbane offers the heritage protection model Auckland needs

15 June 2011: Council forum supports discretionary approach rather than heritage subzones of Shore plan change

13 June 2010: Residential 2 demolition maps out for consultation

5 April 2010: Fryer decries mayor’s “victory for common sense” as maps show heritage protection “hotchpotch”

16 September 2008: Mayor continues workshops to resolve heritage housing dispute

15 August 2008: Spotlight stays on heritage demolition rules

10 August 2008: Lotu-Iiga says strongest heritage zone support appears to be for blanket approach

15 July 2008: Council issues maps showing what old houses can be demolished

11 July 2008: Heritage plan change revisions out for consultation

11 April 2008: Council holds line on residential 1, takes closer look at residential 2 character areas

24 August 2007: CBD preservation plan changes approved

19 February 2007: Residential 1 & 2 recommendations back in April-May

31 December 2006: Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 1

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 2

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 3

7 May 2006: Matson gets council to look at how it handles demolition legal requirements

4 September 2005: Council moves to stop pre-40s demolition

29 May 2005: Plan change 163 stops residential 1 & 2 zone demolition

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Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Council forum supports discretionary approach rather than heritage subzones of Shore plan change

Published 15 June 2011

Auckland Council staff have changed the approach to heritage protection in business zones in the North Shore’s residential 3 areas, which Cllr Sandra Coney said yesterday would dilute protection – the opposite of what staff said they were trying to achieve.

Plan change 33 was before the new councils planning & urban design forum for input yesterday before it’s presented in final form to the regional development & operations committee on Thursday 21 July. The council’s intention is for the plan change to be publicly notified after that July meeting.

The council’s principal planner for the north, Ewen Patience, said in his report the plan change inherited from the North Shore council proposed a “heritage subzone”, but he said: “In a number of these business 1, 2 & 9 locations use of the word ‘heritage’ may create an inconsistency or lack of integrity in the use of words & phrases in the plan.

“Scheduling is the primary method of identifying & protecting historic heritage, and there is a concern that the heritage values of the ‘business’ sites of the change are not consistently good and therefore not worthy of the word. In some situations it may be ‘character’ or ‘amenity values’ that area at issue rather than historic heritage, which is now a matter of national importance under section 6(f) of the Resource Management Act.”

Mr Patience said council staff were working on refining the methods & wording of the inherited change but, parallel to plan change 33, a separate heritage project was moving towards identifying, evaluating & scheduling further North Shore buildings, including commercial buildings in the places subject to plan change 33.

Another aspect of North Shore planning rules – the urban design code under plan change 30 – is to be made operative following the same committee’s June meeting, tomorrow.

Mr Patience said staff on the new council thought the heritage plan change inherited from the North Shore City Council was more complicated than it needed to be, and the new council had adopted a discretionary approach, with some provisions non-complying.

As the plan change was for specified areas, Cllr Coney couldn’t see why matters such as building heights couldn’t also be specified, but Mr Patience said the plan change would allow the council to consider proposed heights on their merits.

Cllr Coney said heritage protection wasn’t a local issue, but one that needed to be addressed across the whole region, and talking in council plans about character & amenity would dilute protection, as it had done in St Heliers.

“The character approach – as we found at St Heliers and as we’re finding at Wynyard Quarter – has a lot of drawbacks. If you start defining bits within these heritage areas as character or amenity, there’s a risk you won’t be able to hold on to the heritage of the whole area. It’s not clear what character has meant. I’d rather stick with what the North Shore was proposing.”

Staff said the sites identified by the plan change – the Devonport commercial area, a few other sites dotted around Devonport and some in Northcote Pt & Birkenhead – were an eclectic bunch where redevelopment was the issue. A number had houses in them which would be protected if they were in the residential 3 zone.

In the end, the forum went with the staff’s discretionary approach, rather than continuing to debate what is likely to be debated fully again at the July committee meeting.

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Attribution: Council forum meeting, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Shore residential 3 plan change approved, with special status for Spencer block

Published 15 September 2010

North Shore City Council’s strategy & finance committee has approved heritage plan change 21 after the family of John Spencer negotiated specific provisions for its large block covering 16 sections at Stanley Pt.

The Spencers, through family company Clime Asset Management Ltd, fought the plan change through its 2007 hearing by independent commissioners, through an appeal to the Environment Court and into mediation then an amended appeal this year.

The council created the plan change to address effects on historical & architectural character in the residential 3 zone. Clime opposed the plan change in its entirety, but particularly the use of limited discretionary activity status for alterations, additions & new houses, and the use of detailed criteria which Clime perceived as subjective & repetitive – potentially requiring notified consent applications for the slightest alteration.

Council heritage planning contractor Tony Barnes said in his report the change enabling the step toward approval came when Clime amended its appeal to apply only to its own land. He said the council had retained its intention in the plan change for the rest of the residential 3 zone (including an isolated Clime site).

For Clime, the approved plan change recognises “its particular character & context”, including simplified assessment criteria and controlled activity status for the coastal sites (behind a row of sections fronting Stanley Pt Rd, also mostly owned by Clime). For the sections fronting the street, limited discretionary activity status will apply.

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Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Residential 2 demolition maps out for consultation

Published 13 June 2010

Auckland City Council has put out for consultation the maps indicating the properties in the residential 2 zone which require resource consent for demolition or removal of buildings built before 1940. Submissions close on Friday 9 July.

 

The council sent letters & maps to about 10,000 owners & occupiers of properties in the city’s residential 2 zone at the weekend. Affected homes are mostly in Mt Albert, Herne Bay, Epsom, One Tree Hill, Parnell, Remuera, Kohimarama & St Heliers.

 

The council initially proposed blanket controls on pre-1940s buildings across the entire residential 2 zone, so resource consent would have been required before any such building could be removed or demolished.

 

City development committee chairman Aaron Bhatnagar said that, after a court appeal, the council studied properties in the zone with the help of an independent heritage expert and concluded that not all pre-1940s buildings in the zone warranted this protection.

 

The Environment Court & all parties to the appeal approved specific criteria to assess when demolition or removal controls would apply, limiting the controls to pre-1940 buildings “of sufficient architectural & streetscape character to justify controls”.

 

The council will collate submissions on the maps and refer them to the Environment Court before another court hearing is held.  Submitters will have the right to give evidence. Submissions must only be on the new maps, not the assessment criteria already approved.

 

Blanket rules requiring resource consent to demolish or remove pre-1940s homes in the residential 1 zone remain in place and are still under appeal.

 

Earlier stories:

5 April 2010: Fryer decries mayor’s “victory for common sense” as maps show heritage protection “hotchpotch”

16 September 2008: Mayor continues workshops to resolve heritage housing dispute

15 August 2008: Spotlight stays on heritage demolition rules

10 August 2008: Lotu-Iiga says strongest heritage zone support appears to be for blanket approach

15 July 2008: Council issues maps showing what old houses can be demolished

11 July 2008: Heritage plan change revisions out for consultation

11 April 2008: Council holds line on residential 1, takes closer look at residential 2 character areas

19 February 2007: Residential 1 & 2 recommendations back in April-May

31 December 2006: Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 1

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 2

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 3

4 September 2005: Council moves to stop pre-40s demolition

28 June 2005: Anti-demolition plan change undergoes some councillor rewriting

29 May 2005: Plan change 163 stops residential 1 & 2 zone demolition

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Fryer decries mayor’s “victory for common sense” as maps show heritage protection “hotchpotch”

Published 5 April 2010

7 years on from when Auckland City Council began writing rules to protect heritage suburbs from change, the city’s mayor, John Banks, declared the almost-complete new district plan rules “a victory for common sense”.

 

The words of plan change 163 have been written, approved by the council for notification and approved in an Environment Court order consented to by the council & residents who opposed the rules for the residential 2 zone.

 

The council will notify plan change 163, affecting properties zoned resident 1 & 2, to be operative in part (the words). What’s missing is the maps showing precisely which properties will be affected, which will be added in a second stage.

 

Cllr Glenda Fryer was hesitant about supporting the endorsement of the wording at the 11 March city development committee & 25 March council meetings, to enable the court order to be sealed, without seeing the detail the maps would provide.

 

 Last week she elaborated on her concerns: “I believe Aucklanders who are concerned about keeping the leafy streetscape, character & heritage in their residential 2-zoned streets have a very real cause to be worried.”

 

“What I see on the maps, that will be provided to the Environment Court by the council, are whole streets in Mt Eden, Epsom, Herne Bay, Three Kings & Mt Albert with a hotchpotch where some houses will be protected and others aren’t.

 

“Let’s face it, if you live in a house protected from demolition – and yet the almost identical house next door is not protected from demolition – then you lose any certainty about what could go up next door.  That is why the council decided to develop a plan change back in 2005 to protect those very suburbs from having perfectly good character homes demolished.

 

“Many residential 2 houses sit on large sites that could have 2-6 townhouses built on them. What certainty does it give to the homeowners who choose to retain the protections, that their residential street will have stability & a streetscape that will remain one of character & heritage?

 

“I believe the bar has been set too high when the new criterion being submitted to the Environment Court is that houses that retain protection must ‘contribute significantly to the distinctive quality of streetscape character’.  If there are high fences or garages in front of a residential 2 house, both of which the council would have given permission to build in the past, then it could be deemed that the house no longer contributes ‘significantly’ to the streetscape character.

 

“In fact, these suburbs will be hit by a double whammy. Citizens & Ratepayers (the council majority this term) made a deliberate decision last year not to protect the trees that give the ‘leafy’ residential 2 zone’s suburbs a great part of their ‘significant’ character. From 1 January 2012, new Resource Management Act laws will allow all trees in residential 2 & all other zones to be removed that are not presently scheduled.

 

“I believe this Banks-C&R solution will not serve to protect either the leafy streetscape of our natural environment, or the built environment of character & heritage houses in Auckland’s oldest & much loved suburbs. When the mayor claims to be a protector of Auckland’s heritage, I think Aucklanders will respond with ‘Yeah, right’.”

 

The task of rewriting demolition & preservation law began during the first Banks mayoralty, when Grey Lynn residents presented the results of a study and Herne Bay residents presented a petition to the city development committee, then chaired by Cllr Juliet Yates.

 

Cllr Fryer took over the reins in the next council term, getting the rewrite through the council at the end of 2006. At that time, C&R councillor Doug Armstrong argued: “This politically correct waving of the big stick favours non-owners, what I call drive-by heritage shootings. We should be offering people the opportunity to offer their buildings [for acquisition by the council] because there’s a bit of a quid pro quo.”

 

Cllr Armstrong suggested the quid pro quo could include rates relief & tradeable building rights on other sites. He was “for the fact these buildings end up on the heritage list, but I’m dead against the process”. Critics said it would diminish the value of their buildings, he said.

 

Mr Banks was returned to office in 2007 and, in 2008, interceded in the dispute between preservationists & opponents, trying to negotiate an outcome which has continued through to the Environment Court consent order.

 

Describing this outcome in February as a victory for common sense, Mr Banks said: “The dual effect of the changes is to clearly identify properties that should retain demolition controls, while recognising that owners should not be committed to live in a tumble-down property before being allowed to demolish & rebuild with something sympathetic to the neighbourhood.

 

“I believe this compromise is a win-win for owners & the character suburbs of our city. The original rules for residential 2 were well-meaning but too open to legal challenge, and neither sound nor sensible.”

 

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Mayor continues workshops to resolve heritage housing dispute

Published 16 September 2008

Auckland City Council’s heritage residential property plan change debate isn’t resolved yet, but it’s heading that way.

 

In addition, criticism of the way the mayor interceded in the issue may be turned round to a proposal for improving how the council deals with opposed plan changes.

 

Plan change 163’s inclusion of an anti-demolition clause for pre-1940 houses in the residential 1 & 2 zones, approved in the previous council term, brought some high-powered legal opposition and, this term, the council began a climb-down to keep itself from what mayor John Banks regarded as certain defeat in the Environment Court.

 

Mr Banks called a workshop for interested parties in August, with another meeting of that group set down for Monday 29 September. The outcome from the workshops, plus a summary of feedback, will be reported to the city development committee in October.

 

At the committee’s September meeting, last Thursday, Cllr Glenda Fryer criticised resolution being handled by unelected representatives (although Mr Banks’ resumption of the mayoralty had to be one of the higher-profile events of the 2007 local body elections), and outside the council’s normal system for dealing with plan changes & opposition to them.

 

Cllr Fryer wondered if the mayor might set up a workshop every time somebody took the council to the Environment Court over a plan change. Later, however, she changed tack: “There is a process. If that isn’t working we need to have a look at it. We do have complaints that people are not being properly listened to, but if there are better ways we need to look at them. If there is a good outcome from it (this workshop), there will be many other people looking for this sort of treatment from the mayor.”

 

Cllr Noeline Raffills commented that negotiation was never off the table, citing talks to resolve construction & heritage issues over the Bank of New Zealand’s new headquarters on Queen St and through into the former Jean Batten building as an example.

 

Council website, residential 2 maps

 

Earlier stories:

15 August 2008: Spotlight stays on heritage demolition rules

10 August 2008: Lotu-Iiga says strongest heritage zone support appears to be for blanket approach

15 July 2008: Council issues maps showing what old houses can be demolished

11 July 2008: Heritage plan change revisions out for consultation

11 April 2008: Council holds line on residential 1, takes closer look at residential 2 character areas

19 February 2007: Residential 1 & 2 recommendations back in April-May

31 December 2006: Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 1

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 2

Council votes in residential 1 & 2 protection, plus recommendations for staff to investigate, part 3

4 September 2005: Council moves to stop pre-40s demolition

29 May 2005: Plan change 163 stops residential 1 & 2 zone demolition

 

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Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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