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Minister says monitoring report highlights need for further RMA reform

Environment Minister Nick Smith said yesterday release of the Resource Management Act national monitoring system data highlighted the need for reform of the act. The image above is a slice of the monitoring report infographic.

“This monitoring report highlights how slow our planning system is, with the average time for a council plan taking more than 8 years and for a council plan change 4 years. This cumbersome process means councils cannot respond to changing society needs such as the sharp shift in housing demand from the lull of 2010 to the boom of 2015.

“It is crucial to resolving issues like housing that we have a far more responsive planning system. The Government’s second phase of Resource Management Act reform, currently before Parliament, provides the option for councils to adopt a streamlined planning process which will enable councils to achieve plan changes in 6 months.”

Dr Smith said the 2015 national monitoring system data & a new online tool opened up access to Resource Management Act statistics for the first time: “The data will help the Ministry for the Environment see which parts of the act processes are causing delays, where inconsistency in council practices is a problem, and identify best practice. For the first time, the ministry has detailed information on more than 42,000 resource consent applications & 359 plan-making processes.

“This new, open reporting on the Resource Management Act, alongside the Government’s legislative reforms, also helps improve performance. Councils & communities need to compare their performance around environmental compliance & costs of processing this for plans & consents and help drive better practice.”

Dr Smith said changes in the Government’s first phase of Resource Management Act reforms had improved processing: “We’ve seen the number of late consents drop from 16,017 in 2007-08 to 1260 in 2014-15. We still have some issues with the efficiency of consent processing, with 19% requiring time extensions and 32% further information requests. More than 360 consents received a discount on their consent costs of [a total] $457,321 where councils did not meet statutory timeframes for processing.

“I am also encouraged by the increased levels of compliance with resource consent conditions, with 88% of those monitored being compliant. We still have more work to do in ensuring the act delivers good outcomes for the environment while minimising the restrictions & costs on businesses & homeowners.

“There is also work to do to reduce processing costs of $76 million for the 40,000-plus annual resource consents. There are significant savings to be made from reducing the number of notified consents, which cost 5 times those of non-notified. Even the average $1929 bill for a non-notified consent can be excessive when it involves a minor change in boundary or height rules. The proposal to enable councils to waive the requirement for some consents over many minor issues would be a relief to homeowners, where the consent cost can exceed the building cost. There are also significant benefits for the environment and costs of the Resource Management Act with greater use of national standards.”

Links:
NMS Infographic.pdf (pdf 198.29 KB)
Environment Ministry, RMA reporting

Attribution: Ministerial release.

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Variation 8 for Flat Bush special housing area approved

The plan change to rezone 195ha at Flat Bush became operative on Friday 19 February. It will facilitate the development of 2500 sites under the special housing areas legislation.

Under plan variation 8, the land will be rezoned from future urban & countryside living to mixed housing urban, mixed housing suburban & neighbourhood centre.

There were 3 applicants for resource consent for qualifying developments at 64 & 84 Thomas Rd, 125 & 125A Murphy’s Rd and 187 Flat Bush Rd – Hugh Green Ltd (now with the late Mr Green’s daughter, Maryanne Green, in charge), Murphys Development Ltd (Brian Hong Biao Chen, Andrew Guest & Dan Xiao) & Eastfield NZ Ltd (Lin Zi).

Link: Auckland Council, variation 8 decision

Attribution: Decision.

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Judge quashes demolition non-notification

An Auckland Council duty commissioner told council staff an application to demolish a 90-year-old Remuera house should be notified – then, 3 hours later, issued a decision not to notify it.

Other commissioners went on to approve the house’s removal, although it’s in a group identified for demolition control.

But, in a ruling last Friday, Auckland High Court judge Mark Woolford quashed the notification decision, and consequently also quashed the substantive decision.

Marche Ltd (Chris Lord) and a neighbour of the Seaview Rd property, Jocelyn Armstrong, sought judicial review of the 2015 notification & demolition decisions, which were in favour of planning consultant Gary Deeney, in his role as a developer.

Mr Deeney sought to remove the house built in 1926 at 48 Seaview Rd. Justice Woolford didn’t go into the merits of Mr Deeney’s application, but focused on the uncertainty & errors apparent from the notification commissioners’ correspondence, and particularly on the failure to give any reason for non-notification.

The judge’s decision is especially apt this month, as a campaign builds to get the council to withdraw revised zoning maps it provided in December to the independent panel hearing submissions on Auckland’s proposed unitary plan.

Justice Woolford released his decision on the last day of a fortnight of evidence to the unitary plan panel on pre-1940 & heritage housing, which rezoning opponents say is under siege in the council’s drive to enable more intensive development on the isthmus.

The unitary plan hearings panel chair, Judge David Kirkpatrick, declined to reopen submissions on the council’s proposed zoning changes, saying in directions issued in January that accepting new submissions on the recent council proposals would very likely mean the panel would miss its 22 July deadline for delivering recommendations on the unitary plan to the council.

Opponents of more intensive development on the isthmus and of loosening of the ability to demolish houses over 70 years old are likely to have their input more severely curtailed under the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill introduced last November, though there will still be scope for judicial review.

In the Seaview Rd ruling, Justice Woolford said he would express no view on whether the application should be notified, but said the council or independent commissioners would have to make a fresh decision: “The fresh decision should make reference to the evidence considered & the key factors taken into account and explain why the particular decision is made.”

Council planner Harry Halpin had recommended Mr Deeney’s application be refused, but commissioners David Hill (chair) & Richard Knott approved it last August. Duty commissioners Mark Farnsworth & Cherie Lane had approved non-notification in May.

The duty commissioners wrote in their decision: “Having read the application, supporting documents, specialist comments & the council planner’s report & recommendations on the application, I [both commissioners] am satisfied I have sufficient information to consider the matters required by the Resource Management Act and to make a decision under delegated authority on notification. Under sections 95A, 95B & 95C of the RMA, this application shall proceed without public or limited notification because:

  • Rule 4.3.2.6 of the operative district plan enables the application to be considered without the need for public notification or either obtain the written approval of affected persons or notify them
  • There are no protected customary rights groups or marine title groups in the region affected by this proposal
  • Having regard to the general discretion to notify under section 95A(1) and whether there are any special circumstances under section 95A(4), we find that there are no relevant reasons to warrant public notification.”

Justice Woolford said the plaintiffs before him alleged that the commissioners made a number of errors of law, failed to take relevant considerations into account, had regard to irrelevant considerations and failed to have regard to natural justice considerations & the right of members of the public to be heard.

Mr Farnsworth wrote in an email to council staff member Celia Chan hours before issuing the non-notification decision: “All of the houses, with the exception of the [neighbouring] house at 46 Seaview Rd, are well maintained and contribute positively to the special character. We came to an initial viewpoint that the demolition of the house 48 Seaview would incrementally detract from what we consider the obvious special character of the area and therefore should be notified.

“In terms of section 95 we are considering whether ‘special circumstances exist’ which would provide grounds for notification.

“The complicating issue for us is the clause in the Auckland district plan which exempts this type of application (the demolition) of buildings in Residential 2C from notification; does this clause ‘trump’ section 95 special circumstances? We are seeking clarification on the above matters.”

Ms Lane commented in another email exchange that a workshop for commissioners would be helpful: “Was good working with Mark on this one. But it was a bit of a tricky one… We found the rule that such activities (demolition in the residential 2 zone) not be notified, to be particularly vexing!… Hope this sort of forum can be organised soon – would be really appreciated.”

Justice Woolford said the email exchanges showed an element of confusion or misunderstanding on the part of the commissioners. He said clause 4.3.2.6 of the district plan specifically provided: “’Except as provided for in section 95A(4) of the act, [demolition or removal] will be considered without public notification or the need to obtain the written approval of or serve notice on affected persons.’ It is inappropriate to refer to that clause as trumping section 95A(4) special circumstances. The provisions sit side by side. One does not trump the other.

“Secondly, it is difficult to understand Mr Farnsworth’s reference in his email of 2:11 pm to proceeding on a non-notified basis ‘as long as the application is amended as per rule 4.3.2.6’.  Rule 4.3.2.6 does not deal with the amendment of applications.

“Ms Lane filed an affidavit setting out her qualifications & experience and the documents she had before her when making the notification decision. She also confirms that she visited the site the day before with Mr Farnsworth and discussed her initial impressions with him, but does not elucidate her reasons for making the decision not to publicly notify the application. We are left then with the decision itself.

“However, the notification decision itself presents further difficulties. It states that the commissioners had regard ‘to the general discretion to notify under section 95A(1)’. Section 95A(1) is, however, not applicable to the current application. It enables a consent authority, in its discretion, to decide whether to publicly notify an application for a resource consent. The application was, however, to be dealt with under sections 95A(3) & (4).

“In this case there was a rule which precluded public notification of the application, that being rule 4.3.2.6.”

Summing up, Justice Woolford said: “I am unfortunately unable to discern the reasons for the decision. The finding of ‘no relevant reasons’ raises more questions than it answers: What factors were considered by the commissioners? What weight was given to the factors considered by the commissioners? How was the decision on relevance reached?”

Justice Woolford was curious about the reference to marine title groups – given Seaview Rd is well uphill from the harbour in the middle of Remuera – and found “almost exactly the same wording was used in non-notification decisions by commissioners on 31 October 2014 & 23 December 2014 in relation to applications by Ports of Auckland Limited to extend Bledisloe Wharf, where a reference to marine title groups may have more relevance.

“A template can be beneficial to good decision-making, but care must be taken to ensure that it is appropriate to the case at issue.”

Earlier stories:
10 February 2016: Petition heads to Parliament over late recommended changes to unitary plan
1 February 2016: Haynes wants council to turn out-of-scope changes into post-unitary plan proposal
15 January 2016: Unitary plan chair says panel would miss deadline by opening proposed changes to new submissions18 December 2015: Filipaina says zone maps show Auckland housing to stay mostly 1-2 storeys
27 November 2015: RMA reform introduced

Attribution: Judgment, RMA, Council hearing decisions.

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Hamlet that doesn’t fit the rules heads to appeal

Auckland Council’s hearings committee has an unusually difficult consent appeal to consider on Tuesday, the application for a rural hamlet 3km down the coast from Beachlands, the Pine Harbour marina & Formosa golfcourse in the east of the region.

Difficult, because the hearing panel that declined the application in October actually liked the concept, but said it didn’t fit the planning rules.

As is customary, the council committee will consider the position the council should take on the appeal in the confidential section of its agenda.

The development application for Ahuareka Village, at 650-680 Whitford-Maraetai Rd, Whitford, was made by Ahuareka Trustee (No 2) Ltd (Rob Bassett & Brett Russell). The proposal was for a 160-lot village of 186 household units & apartments, a country pub with 10 guest rooms, a 300m² community building, 2 retail lots & 3 commercial service or office lots to be built in a cluster occupying about 5% of what is a 92.8ha cattle farm. The farm would be transformed, with public walkways created, forest regenerated and waterways upgraded.

The hearing ran for 2 days in August and was closed on 7 October, with the decision issued on 29 October. The commissioners were Rebecca Macky (chair), David Hill, Mark Farnsworth & Stephen Udy.

One essential question at the hearing was whether it should be considered as rural or urban in a rural setting. And if it’s urban-rural, how does that fit into the rules of development?

During the hearing, council planning consultant Peter Reaburn, a director of Cato Bolam Ltd, suggested a better course than the resource consent application might be for the proposal to go through a private plan change.

The commissioners raised that prospect again in their conclusion to decline the application for land use consent for concept subdivision plan approval, which would be followed by staged subdivision consents. The commissioners decided this failed to promote the sustainable management framework required by the Whitford rural zone.

Manukau City Council created the rural zone’s rules through plan change 8, notified in 2005, made partly operative in 2010 and fully operative in 2012. The plan change area was divided into 3 zones based on landscape type & the ability for the landscape to visually accommodate development. Each zone had a maximum carrying capacity and the plan change also introduced 4 policy overlays – road corridor, scenic amenity, catchment management & coastal – that would further constrain development density.

Ms Macky wrote in the hearing panel’s decision that the plan change, which became chapter 12A of the new Auckland Council’s district plan, had been carried forward into the notified proposed unitary plan virtually unchanged: “While decisions on submissions on that plan are not due for release until 2016, the objectives & policies have legal effect (albeit with little weight). Furthermore, the fact that public policy regarding this zone/precinct has undergone minimal shift is a relevant matter about which we must take note, as it increases the weight to be given to those provisions.

“While the applicant suggested that the provisions are redundant in the current Auckland growth context, we do not agree. Over the past 10 years the provisions have actually been extensively reviewed, and sealed by the court as recently as 2012. We cannot so lightly set those provisions aside for a non-complying activity of the scale proposed.”

In the panel’s 29 October decision on the Ahuareka proposal, Ms Macky said: “The actual & potential effects on the environment of allowing the activity are minor or less than minor, and the applicant has proposed relevant & effective conditions of consent. In most respects, the proposal will have better environmental outcomes than a complying subdivision.”

However, when it came to assessing the development against the zone requirements, she said: “In respect of the zone, we accept that the application satisfies many of the plan’s objectives & policies when those are read in a site-specific manner but, while the application may have clear merit on a number of attributes, not all the enhancement mitigation required by the policy structure is offered. Nor was any alternative to that mitigation suggested.

“To consent to this application would be to undermine the bonus enhancement policy settled through the Environment Court and would likely result in a precedent effect for later applications also to provide for development without the enhancement planting. We conclude that the proposal is not consistent with a sustainable management framework required by the Whitford rural zone.”

Ms Macky went into some detail about what the plan change was intended to achieve, the carrying capacity, and what that capacity meant for Ahuareka: “As plan change 8 emerged in Its final form, subzones A & C were combined, totalling 2777ha; subzone B remained the same at 957ha; the capacity cap increased to 925; and the subdivided lot:parent lot ratio for the new combined Whitford rural A altered from the plan change 8 range of 1:4-1:6ha (between A & C) to 1:3.5ha (with B remaining constant throughout at 1:5ha).

“The total area of the Whitford rural zone also seems to have remained constant throughout, with Whitford B retaining a land area ratio relative to the remainder of the zone of approximately 1:3.

“If the lot sizes across the whole Whitford rural zone as currently limited are averaged, 3734ha subdivided by 925 = 4.04ha. In other words, for every countryside living lot created, the plan expects there will be in the order of 4ha of unbuilt-on land – whether that is native bush, riparian margin, pastoral farm, planted or replanted vegetation.

“That means that with the 186 lots proposed, minus the 18 lots permitted ‘as of right’ under the 1:5ha rule for the (approximately) 92ha property, 168 lots of compensatory ‘undeveloped’ land is required.

“At its average, this represents 168 x 4ha = 672ha, which is both the average across the zone and also in terms of the bonus lot requirement. Even with the crediting of the 32ha of protected remnant forest & new planting and 41.4ha of open rural landscape that is proposed, a shortfall of about 600ha enhancement potential in the Whitford rural zone remains.

“If approved, the development would leave a shortfall expectation of 3734/600ha = 16% that cannot be recovered underneath the cap. This is even more significant under the Whitford B subzone, representing 957/600ha = 63%.

“The question in front of us is: Does this matter and, if so, can it be cured?”

The panel’s answer was that, in its submitted form, the application couldn’t be cured.

Earlier stories:
12 February 2014: Vote split on Beachlands rural village direct referral
18 September 2005: Regional policy decision could stop Whitford development plans
9 July 2005: Manukau notifies Whitford rural catchment

Attribution: Plan change, hearing decision.

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Committee concludes St Lukes mall expansion effects minor, so hearing non-notified

Scentre (NZ) Ltd’s resource consent application to double the size of its Westfield St Lukes mall will be determined non-notified, which excludes other parties from the process.

Auckland Council’s hearings committee heard the company’s application for non-notification last week, deliberated behind closed doors and issued its decision yesterday.

Committee chair Linda Cooper said in a release yesterday the company had an existing consent to extend the mall, granted in 2011, and the latest application made some amendments & additions to it, including the replacement of rooftop parking above the consented mall and expanding retail areas.

She said the effects in the application were considered less than minor: “The proposal is in line with the St Lukes concept plan, which was developed following extensive public consultation.

“The proposal will have a height & separation distance to neighbouring properties that will avoid dominance, amenity or shadowing effects for neighbours. It also considers all traffic aspects and does not anticipate additional parking demands on surrounding roads.”

The committee has appointed independent commissioners to decide the outcome of the resource consent application.

Scentre Group New Zealand development executive David Drew said the concept plan was originally recommended by independent commissioners, subsequently approved by the council and the St Lukes Residents Association, and was now part of the operative district plan.

One thing not decided is the start of development: “We are still masterplanning and no decisions have been made as to the timing of any development at St Lukes.”

Committee conclusions

The hearings committee said it determined overall effects would be minor on the basis that they would be within the envelope expected by the concept plan introduced by plan change 34, and the mitigation works & assessment criteria.

Onsite parking will be increased by 1479 spaces to 3497 spaces.

The committee said staged construction & staged opening of new tenancies would reduce offsite parking effects.

On requests for public input, the committee said: “The concept plan reflects that past input by setting out the expectations around the level & location of the expansion, roading improvements and mitigation & urban design considerations. In following the broad direction of the concept plan, the application does not introduce unforeseen adverse effects or raise any other matter not contemplated by the concept plan.

“Therefore it is unlikely further information or debate from possible submitters that could like improve the quality of decision-making necessary at the section 104 (Resource Management Act) stage will be elicited.”

Westfield (the Scentre predecessor) got a plan change in 2012 to rezone land adjoining the shopping centre & owned by it to business 8, and enabling the company to double the maximum gross floor area to 92,500m², including 15,000m² for offices.

Earlier stories:
17 November 2015: Council closes doors to decide on St Lukes notification
17 February 2012: Plan change to double St Lukes mall goes through final council hoop
13 January 2012: Court issues consent order for St Lukes rezoning & expansion
19 December 2010: St Lukes: the debate
18 November 2010: Westfield gets St Lukes plan change approval as mayor talks mediation

Attribution: Council decision & release.

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Three Kings development protest continues

Three Kings United Group president Garry Bryant said yesterday the land swap agreement between Auckland Council & Fletcher Residential Ltd around the Three Kings volcanic cone & quarry “is not yet a done deal”.

The council’s Auckland development committee voted 15-5 on 12 November to approve the land exchange

Local community groups say they are likely to appeal to the Environment Court on the plan change.

Fletcher wants to fill in part of the crater and develop up to 1500 homes, including terrace homes of 2 & 3 storeys, apartment blocks of 3 & 4 storeys and 10-storey cascading apartment buildings set against the quarry slope.

The full proposal provides for rezoning of 112ha of the quarry & adjoining land. Under Fletcher’s preferred proposal for 21.6ha, open spaces would include 2 sports fields, recreational parkland & a wetland terrace.

Mr Bryant said local groups were likely to appeal against the land swap to the Environment Court, but would decide on their next move at a public meeting in the Three Kings Primary School Hall on Tuesday 1 December at 7.30pm.

He said: “The community is not against development of the site but are objecting to a number of issues, including lack of sensitivity to the local environment, especially the Big King volcanic cone and poor access & connectivity.”

Earlier stories:
12 November 2015: Propbd on Q Th12Nov15 – 4 sell at B&T Commercial auction, 4 units sell at Ray White auction, 3 Kings exchange approved, Maori sites list cut
11 June 2015: Propbd on Q Th11Jun15 – Auction result, 3 Kings land exchange, decisions on plan changes, council model for elderly housing
14 November 2014: Three Kings debate goes to & fro, council to continue negotiating just with Fletcher
22 September 2014: Fletcher adds detail to 3 Kings plan change proposals
12 September 2014: 3 Kings plan changes approved for notification

Attribution: Three Kings United release.

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“Loopy rules” taskforce lists its top 10

The Government released its “loopy rules” report today, a combination of much whingeing, some clearly unhelpful rules & practices, but also some questionable responses.

The first example from the report’s Top 10: “The rule is not practical: The owners of a bus depot structure that has no walls are forced to install 4 exit signs, just in case people can’t find their way out if there is a fire.”

In the realm of resource management: “The proliferation of policies & criteria add up to a potent brew: A section 42a report done for a subdivision had to be assessed against 59 objectives & policies.”

Under Unnecessary bureaucracy: “Some rules are there ‘just in case’ a problem might arise in future, with little evidence that it will.”

And among the many complaints about building consents, led by the most frequent frustration of a council letter seeking further information being sent on day 18 or 19 of a 20-day legislated timeframe: “Average building consent fee is 1% (including BRANZ fees). This is $5000 on a $500,000 house. How can it cost so much?”

Local Government Minister Paula Bennett proposed a rules reduction taskforce in July last year, selected a 9-member panel in February, and said today their findings showed real opportunities for both central & local government to make life easier for New Zealanders.

The taskforce wrote: “We did hear of rules that protect people, the environment, infrastructure & our heritage but which still enable individuals, businesses & our economy to prosper & grow. But we are struck by the number of instances where the good intentions of the rulemakers are somehow lost in the translation to the real world.”

The taskforce held 50 public meetings and received nearly 2000 submissions. Mrs Bennett said: “We have listened to New Zealanders and the message is clear: there are too many frustrating rules & regulations, and too many are being applied inconsistently, and it is holding our communities back.

“The report outlines practical opportunities for government departments & local councils to improve the level of customer service they offer, and give that clarity people need. We will be embracing these opportunities finding practical solutions.”

The submissions covered 11 ministers’ portfolios, the majority relating to the Resource Management Act & the Building Act.

“Over the next few weeks, ministers will be working with their departments & agencies to progress the quick fixes and what will take a bit longer to tackle. We’ll continue to update www.rulesreduction.govt.nz and make announcements as this work progresses.

“The Government will also be working with local government to ensure they are providing the right advice to their residents about what rules & regulations mean and how they apply in their communities.

“The members of the taskforce also heard loud & clear that there are several myths about rules & regulations that don’t actually exist. This includes the misconception that lolly scrambles have been banned, and that people can’t use 3-step ladders.

“By breaking through this misinformation, New Zealanders will be better placed to focus on the serious rules designed to keep people safe and our economy growing.”

The main gripe in the taskforce’s top 10 list was, “”Make it easier!” But between doing that for building consents and for resource consents, submitters also told the workforce that regulators needed to lift the building sector’s skills. Question: If a sector can’t lift its skills itself, how can it be trusted to do a job properly without constant monitoring & supervision?

The top 10:

  1. Make it easier to get building consents
  2. Get serious about lifting the skills of building sector
  3. Make it easier to get resource consents
  4. Reduce the cost of consenting fees
  5. Sort out what “work safety” means and how to do it
  6. Make it clear what the rules are
  7. Establish a new customer focus for the public sector
  8. Departments should introduce a stakeholder engagement approach to developing local government policies & regulations
  9. Reform the Local Government Act 1974 & the Reserves Act 1977
  10. Stop making loopy rules.

Links: Loopy rules taskforce
Executive summary
Top 10 fixes
Loopy rules final report

Earlier stories:
2 June 2015: ‘Loopy rules’ submissions open for another fortnight
11 February 2015: Bennett names her taskforce against loopy rules
23 July 2014: Bennett says Begone! to “loopy” rules

Attribution: Ministerial release & taskforce report.

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Tikanga expert added to Wairau Valley hearing panel after debate

An expert in Maori tikanga (the Maori way) was appointed yesterday to the panel to hear a Wairau Valley plan change, but not without a debate over its relevance.

Auckland Council’s hearings committee used to add a commissioner if particular expertise was required, but nowadays states the main expertise of all commissioners when they’re appointed.

For Atlas Concrete Ltd’s application through plan change 39 to rezone 0.6ha at 7-11 Wairau Rd & 8-12 Thornton Rd, Takapuna, from residential 7 & 4A zones to business 9, Independent Maori Statutory Board member Glenn Wilcox wanted “Bill Kapea or another with tikanga Maori expertise” appointed.

However, Cllr Chris Darby said unless there was a case for tikanga Maori this extra appointment shouldn’t be made, and he saw no evidence supporting it.

Mr Wilcox said the Wairau Valley had a long history of stormwater issues and it was an area of high value to Maori.

Mr Kapea was added to the hearing panel after a split vote. The panel will be chaired by Janine Bell, with Ian Munro & neighbouring local board member Janet Fitzgerald as the other commissioners.

[In the early days of this website, Joel Cayford – then a North Shore City councillor – raised a question about the culverting of the Shore’s longest river, the Wairau Creek, saying it should be opened to the elements. Tikanga expertise was absent in those days, the point was overridden and the creek remains largely concreted in.]

Mr Wilcox also raised a question about the organisations whose views were sought on appointments, saying most on the long list had either changed or were defunct.

Maori board member Liane Ngamane added: “There are some organisations that need to be taken off but there are also some that need to be added.”

On another consent application, for the Half Moon Bay ferry terminal, Cllrs Darby & Wayne Walker suggested knowledge of transport issues would be important, and Cllr Darby asked if the committee could recommend that Auckland Transport take its proposal to the urban design panel, “given the scale of the development & prominence of the site”.

However, resource consents general manager Ian Smallburn said it may already have been through the urban design panel, which was generally done before applications were processed.

Cllr Penny Webster, in the chair, warned against putting applications through too many hoops: “We put the best people on these panels and all issues will be looked at. They have the expertise to listen to the experts when the application comes up.”

The committee also heard an objection by the owners of 63A Arawa St, New Lynn, to Housing NZ Ltd being granted access through their property for stormwater drains to service a 6-dwelling redevelopment of social housing at the adjoining 3216 Great North Rd.

Ting Li & Zhi Zheng bought the property in July 2014, the month before the stormwater application was made. Counsel for Housing NZ, Dr Claire Kirman, said Housing NZ had been negotiating with the previous owners.

The hearings committee took the matter into confidential to make its decision.

Other appointments by the hearings committee yesterday:

Northern Interceptor & Greenhithe Bridge, watermain duplication & causeway resource consent applications: Leigh McGregor (chair), Jan Heijs & Mark Farnsworth

Browns Bay, 2 & 6 Valley Rd, resource consent application by Oceania Healthcare Ltd to demolish buildings and construct 4-5-storey retirement living facility containing 64 independent living units, 40 care suites, resident facilities & basement parking: David Hill (chair), Richard Knott & local board member Margaret Miles

Half Moon Bay ferry terminal, Auckland Transport resource consent application for new terminal: Cherie Lane (chair), Gavin Lister & Sheena Tepania.

Attribution: Council committee meeting.

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Commissioners appointed for 7 hearings

Auckland Council’s hearings committee made a number of commissioner appointments last Wednesday, at a meeting which I was unable to attend:

Auckland University Tamaki campus, St Johns, 231 & 261 Morrin Rd, private plan change 375 to rezone, commissioners appointed: Janine Bell (chair), Gavin Lister, Sheena Tepania & local board member Nigel Turnbull

Queen Elizabeth 2 Square, Lower Queen St, plan change 79 to rezone, commissioners appointed: David Hill (chair), David Mead & Basil Morrison

10, Britomart transport centre, notice of requirement to alter designation 314, plan amendment 80, commissioners appointed: Alan Watson (chair), Rebecca Macky, David Mead & Basil Morrison

11, Newmarket Viaduct, notice of requirement to alter designation D09-32, plan amendment 377, commissioners appointed: Les Simmons (chair) & Richard Blakey

12, Mt Albert, St Lukes mall & 80 St Lukes Rd, application for resource consent for proposed stage 4/5 mall expansion, the committee deferred appointments until it receives a section 95 report, but went on to name the commissioners: Leigh McGregor (chair), Dave Serjeant, Rebecca Skidmore, Janine Bell & local board member Chris Dempsey

13, Waiheke Island, 72 Onetangi Rd, application for resource consent to establish a helipad, commissioners appointed: David Hill to make decisions on notification and, if non-notified, on the substantive application; if notified, Mr Hill will be joined by Craig Shearer & local board member Troy Churton

14, Firth of Thames, Westpac Mussels Distributors Ltd, determination of resource consent application for coastal permits for 2 mussel spat collection activities, commissioners appointed: Dave Serjeant (chair) & Sheena Tepania to make notification determinations and, if non-notified, to decide the substantive application; if notified, to be joined by Hugh Leersnyder

Hillcrest Creek widening & drainage works, the committee endorsed proposed works to mitigate extensive flooding

Links: Committee agenda
Committee minutes

Attribution: Council minutes.

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Propbd on Q Th11Jun15 – Auction result, 3 Kings land exchange, decisions on plan changes, council model for elderly housing

Aura unit sells
Council supports 3 Kings land exchange process proceeding
Plan changes
Elderly housing model progresses

1.36pm:
Aura unit sells

A unit in the Aura apartments on Cook St was sold under the hammer at Ray White City Apartments’ auction today. A leasehold unit in Viaduct Point, overlooking the Lighter Basin, was passed in. Auction results:

Aura, 53 Cook St, unit 1307, sold for $380,000, sales agent Dominic Worthington
Viaduct Point, 125 Customs St West, unit 310, leasehold, passed in at $250,000, Aled Luffman & James Mairs

Council supports 3 Kings land exchange process proceeding

Auckland Council’s Auckland development committee agreed today to start the process for a land exchange with Fletcher Residential Ltd at Three Kings, improving the area for Fletcher to subdivide and providing sportsfields for the council.

The exchange would see 2 areas of the Three Kings quarry totalling 2.67ha being vested as open space and 2.26ha being transferred for development, requiring a decision by the Minister for Conservation under the Reserves Act.

Cllr Cathy Casey unsuccessfully proposed deferring a decision on progressing the exchange until commissioners released their decision on Fletcher’s plan change applications enabling the quarry housing subdivision, and giving time for alternative options sought by the Puketapapa Local Board to come from landscape consultant Richard Reid.

Plan changes

The council committee dealt with 3 plan changes today. It:

  • approved plan change 28 for Kingseat to be made operative
  • agreed to the request for Puhinui Gateway plan change 28 to have the application timeframe extended by 2 years, and
  • agreed to publicly notify Precinct Properties NZ Ltd’s private plan change 79 to rezone Queen Elizabeth II Square, so most of the square can be converted to use in the company’s Downtown Centre redevelopment. Precinct Properties said yesterday Auckland Council had advised it that its application to redevelop the Downtown Shopping Centre site could proceed on a non-notified basis.

Earlier stories, 8 June 2015:
Kingseat village plan change up for final approval
Puhinui private plan to get 2-year extension
Precinct QEII Square plan change up for notification

Elderly housing model progresses

The committee also approved a partnership approach with community housing providers to deliver housing for the elderly. Auckland Council Property Ltd will provide more detail on providers and how the model might work later this year.

Attribution: Auction, council meeting.

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