Archive | Neighbourhoods

Esplanade

Esplanade back on market
Devonport’s Esplanade Hotel is back on the market, this time with the freehold title and business as a going concern in the one package, but excluding the Grapevine winebar tenancy.

Previous attempts by tenants Gary Inglis and Graeme Watt to sell their pub business were unsuccessful, and the owners of the landmark site on the corner of Victoria Rd and Queen’s Pde were also unsuccessful in their attempt last year to sell the premises, minus the business.

A local syndicate headed by Charles St Clair Brown bought the former DB hotel for $1.9 million in 1994, using a $6 million mortgage to seriously refurbish it. The owners have taken back the lease held by Esplanade Hotel Ltd, which is in receivership. Mr Inglis, a director and shareholder in that company, filed for bankruptcy this week from Whitianga. He was previously publican at the Windsor in Browns Bay (subsequently taken over by a church) and Whangaparaoa Hotel (subject of legal action between troubled owner Philip Fava and The Warehouse, which wants to turn the site into a store).

Gregory Rumpel, of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, says that despite the operators’ problems the hotel’s position gives it great potential. “Auckland still hasn’t got a differentiated boutique hotel market. It’s only seven minutes from the city on the ferry and it has an opportunity of capturing the weekend Auckland market. For people living in the eastern suburbs, Devonport’s a world away. If we can get someone with real vision in there…”

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North Shore snapshot, week to 15 December 2002

Infill review

North Shore City Council will undertake a review of infill housing because of its impact on the city’s stormwater infrastructure, including streams.

The council’s strategy & finance committee approved the review on Tuesday.

Environmental policy advisor Kath Coombes told the committee the increase in impervious surfaces from infill housing can exacerbate existing stormwater problems and decrease groundwater recharge for streams.

The proposal is to collect information through to June 2003, work out options through to December 2003, consult to March 2004 and work through the plan change process until September 2004, or later if the work has to be tied in with other projects.

Albany Centre draft vision endorsed in principle

North Shore City Council’s strategy & finance committee has endorsed in principle the draft vision for the future of the Albany Centre and will hold a workshop in February or March to discuss concept options & actions. The committee said on Tuesday it wanted these finalised by May 2003.

Tracy Ogden, urban designer with the council’s regional growth strategy project team, told the committee in her report the idea of a design competition was raised at a committee workshop on 21 November and would be discussed with major landowners, who have been doing plenty of designing of their own for a long time.

“A design competition could play a positive role in helping deliver the final concept & vision,” she said.

Mall owner/developer Westfield NZ Ltd is close to lodging its application to develop the 1st stage of the Albany town centre and the area’s main landowner, Neil International Ltd, has been struggling for a couple of years with the council’s notions for the expansion zone, on the north side of the town centre facing Oteha Valley Rd.

Shore economic strategy

North Shore City Council’s strategy & finance committee heard a report on developing a comprehensive economic strategy for the city on Wednesday, but held off making any firm decisions until they’ve held a workshop, early in 2003.

Commissioners confirm special purpose 7 zone round Bayswater marina

North Shore commissioners today confirmed a special purpose 7 zone over most of the land next to Bayswater marina.

The zone will enable marine-related activities but doesn’t allow for intensive use or residential buildings. A 6m height limit & 15m foreshore yard will apply, but the decision also recognises that different limits could be accepted on a case-by-case basis in resource consent applications.

Consent applicants will face detailed design criteria.

The hearing panel was chaired by Cllr Tony Barker, with members Cllr Julia Parfitt & independent commissioner Mary Buckland. Hearings were conducted in September & October.

Cllr Barker said in a council press release the decision ensured the land around the marina kept its maritime community feel with a focus on recreation, public transport & boating activities.

The decision was on proposed variation 65 to the district plan. The council will now revisit its draft structure plan, produced before the release of the variation last year, and Cllr Barker said people would have another chance to have their say on the draft structure plan. Charrettes or workshops will be held.

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North Shore City Council resource consents, September-October 2000

Council as commission:

The Warehouse flagpoles, 26 The Warehouse Way, Northcote Pt, consent granted for two flagpoles and flags bearing The Warehouse and The Warehouse Stationery logos, each side of the existing flagpole bearing the New Zealand flag, after two special meetings of six councillors.

Albany community:

5-11 Parkway Drive, Mairangi Bay, Gaze Commercial, extension to existing commercial building.

189 Bush Rd, Albany, Amjac Trust, new office/warehouse building.

7 Mercari Way, 9-11 Corinthian Drive, Albany, Neil Group, service station, commercial building.

Parkwood Heights subdivision, Guan Thyelteng Co, seven new dwellings on business-zoned area subject to zone change.

30 John Jennings Drive, Albany, Melview Oteha Valley Ltd, unit title development.

12 Wickham Lane, Albany, 10-lot subdivision, JE &OJ Leddy.

11 The Avenue, Albany, Clode Consulting Ltd, subdivision (replacing Taradale Properties).

49-51 Paul Matthews Rd, Albany, Rawson 2000 Ltd, new commercial development.

15 Bundoran Way, Metro Construction Ltd (Brent Linnell), complete stage cross-lease.

18 Airborne Rd, Albany, IRM Investments (Rick Martin, Cornerstone Group), unit title development.

Corinthian Drive, Albany, Neil International Ltd, ASB office building.

159 Schnapper Rock Rd, Albany, Neil Construction Ltd, 159-lot subdivision, decision deferred.

Birkenhead-Northcote:

28 The Warehouse Way, Northcote, Haydn & Rollett ,new office building.

Glenfield:

113 Coronation Rd, Glenfield, Prime Line Ltd (Gary &Janet Cooper), complete stage cross-lease.

3 Hillcrest Ave, 19 & 21 Ocean View Rd, Hillcrest, G Burgess, 14 residential units in residential 6A1 zone.

Takapuna:

85-87 Wairoa Rd, Takapuna, Housing Corp Ltd, establish Korean grocery.

5 Quebec Rd, Milford, Anchorage Development, complete stage cross-lease.

52-56 Anzac St, Takapuna, Les Mills NZ Ltd, health & fitness centre, change of use in residential buffer zone.

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Positive change in Rodney is a “living vision for economy”

Council dissatisfied on 1 hand, planning growth clusters on other

Various Rodney District councillors have expressed dissatisfaction with the role of the regional council in the affairs of the sprawling northern district, which has been subjected to spillover urban growth from Auckland but now wants to put its own stamp on its own development.

It also wants the motorway north to be developed beyond its present stopping point at Orewa — an issue involving the regional land transport committee, Transit and TransFund which has become pointed because the next motorway section to Puhoi has been put so far down the priority list it’s unlikely to happen.

Its completion would dramatically alter the economies of northern Rodney and spread tentacles of development more quickly into the Kaipara District.

The motorway’s extension to Orewa already shows its further extension would be an excellent conduit for economic growth into the Matakana area, Mangawhai, Kaipara and into Northland beyond the Brynderwyns. Conversely, its cancellation or long-term delay is an excellent way of curtailing urban & small-lot growth, and reducing overall economic growth north of Auckland.

In its campaign for more rapid economic growth, determined locally, the district council agreed today to adopt the “Living Vision for Rodney’s Economy” (changed from a strategy after a series of forums bringing the council & local business people together) as the framework for the council’s contribution to economic development in the district.

Under that strategy/vision, groups have set to working on cluster developments and growth prospects for specific industries such as tourism and aquaculture. A proposed high-technology business park — set out campus-style in building clusters between Silverdale & the State Highway 1 extension — has been mapped out and will be unveiled soon.

This business park has required a complete rewrite of the previously prepared Silverdale North structure plan, which provided mainly for a switch of farmland to housing, into a new concept plan containing the high-tech park, education (the Auckland Catholic diocese plans a big school) and a diversity of housing which includes Universal Homes Ltd’s 294-lot subdivision of individual dwellings but adds medium- & high-density housing on the eastern side, includes lifestyle-sized blocks and amounts to a completely different version of a business park from the tight brownfields versions created in Auckland so far.

Other stories on this issue: Council waters down proposal to withdraw from regional planning

Territorial councils have responsibility to set agenda

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North Shore consent activity, July 2001

Spencer hotel gets unit titles, Neil proposal deferred

North Shore City commissioners ruled in favour of unit titles on the Spencer on Byron hotel’s 248 rooms. It was only done in June, but was always part of the sales programme for the hotel.

But the council is moving more slowly on Neil Developments Ltd’s desire for a hotel on its Albany land. On the Takapuna beachfront, Bill & Diane Foreman of the Emerald group have won consent for their aged-care development.

Outline of new page

North Shore City Council delegates less than most councils to its officers, employs independent hearings commissioners less frequently, but also differs from many councils in that there is a tradition of commissioners deliberating in public and ruling immediately, with the wording of conditions sorted out later.

Reports of hearings are made monthly to meetings of the full council. As with my reports on other councils, I have omitted references to hearings on issues such as tree-pruning (a major issue on the Shore) and residential hearings which seem to have no wider consequence.

Until this June 2001 report, I have written about North Shore consent applications as they have arisen, but not reported the monthly summary.

The council’s regulatory & hearings committee, chaired by Cllr Wyn Hoadley, also hears some consent issues at its monthly meetings.

Other property-related matters come before council committees as information packages, to update councillors on a range of issues.

Infrastructure inadequacy — and the council’s efforts to upgrade that infrastructure, at huge cost — has a major bearing on property activity on the North Shore. I’ve written a certain amount about resource consent impacts and zoning, and plan to run references to the various impacts through this consent activity page in future, with links to articles from here.

Headlines will also appear on Snapshot of the Week, which could be a little tricky as this North Shore consent activity report swill be a monthly compilation unless it gets too long.

Resource consent hearings

Council commissioners:

Takapuna, Spencer on Byron, 9-17 Byron Ave, application for hotel unit title subdivision granted on 21 June. Conditions included $93,201 plus gst wastewater treatment plant upgrade contribution and reserve contribution of 10% of average land value component for each of the 248 hotel units, and 57% of that value minus $151,329.38 (already paid).

Proposed variation 62, stormwater management & stream protection, commissioners resolved after hearings on 22& 25 June to decline some submissions, amend the proposed variation, circulate it among themselves and to delegate authority to hearing chairman Cllr Gary Holmes to approve final wording.

Albany ward:

Land use

Albany, 360 Main Highway, application by Kristin School for new technology wing infringing maximum height, approved.

Albany, 47 William Pickering Drive, application by Argyle Estates Ltd (Graeme Edwards & Nigel Powell) to cancel condition of previous consent, approved.

Albany, 71 McClymonts Rd/Don McKinnon Drive, application by Neil Developments Ltd (Dick White for Tiong family) for a hotel and associated activities, deferred for revised site plan showing better pedestrian linkage round hotel.

Greenhithe, 102 Greenhithe Rd, application by Stableford Developments Ltd (Paul & Gillian Henderson) for 12-unit residential development, approved.

Subdivisions

Albany, 6 Twin Court, application by Siddons Family Trust for eight-lot subdivision plus accessway, approved.

Albany, 15 Lovell Court, application by Origin Properties Ltd (Paul Rae & Christian Penrice; the company is shown as struck off the Companies Register on 5 May) to cancel consent condition, approved.

Albany, 5, 21, 25 Kewa Rd, consent time extensions, approved.

Birkenhead-Northcote ward:

Land use

Northcote, 25 Deuxberry Ave, application by Spiers Investments Ltd (Dennis & Shona Spiers) for 12 residential units, deferred. Subsequent application to establish two units, also deferred. 12-unit application approved with conditions 22 June.

Subdivisions

Glenfield, 8 & 14 Glenfield Rd, application by Rutherford & Lowe to extend subdivision , consent for four lots approved with conditions.

Birkenhead, 27 Mokoia Rd, application by Rawson Developments Ltd (Martin & Diana Kells) deferred.

East Coast Bays ward:

Mairangi Bay, 2-4 Ramsgate Terrace, application by Ramsgate Properties Ltd (four locals — Christopher & Mike Wilkinson, Michael Lee & Terry Mackey) for nine-unit intensive housing development was declined at a notified hearing on 7 June.

Land use

Mairangi Bay, 419 Beach Rd, application by Brichris Holdings Ltd (Brian & Christine Davis) for residential unit in business zone, approved.

Browns Bay, 3/36 Clyde Rd, application by H Seihai for takeaway with parking shortfall, deferred. Subsequent application to change use from retail to takeaway approved.

Torbay, 1/987 Beach Rd, application by Kaihuia Medical Properties Ltd (Paul & Lynley Hunter) for medical centre, approved; subsequent application to change use from residential to doctor’s surgery approved.

Glenfield ward:

Glenfield, 279 Glenfield Rd, application by Jeni & Paul Gorst for 44-child childcare centre, declined consent at a notified hearing on 10 & 28 May, 8 June.

Land use

Glenfield, 100 Wairau Rd, application by Wairau 100 Ltd (Michael Becker & Gregory Brady) to continue consent for storage facility approved.

Glenfield, 102 Hillside Rd, outline plan of works to extend staffroom at Wairau Valley Special School deferred.

Takapuna ward:

16 The Promenade, 3-5 Alison Ave, 5 Earnoch Ave, application by Emerald Inn on Takapuna Beach Ltd (Bill & Diane Foreman) for 60-unit aged-care development, hearing on 18 & 20 December 2000, 7 & 23 May 2001, granted.

Land use

Takapuna, 1B Clifton Rd, application by P Hutchinson to extend resource consent for two years, approved.

Regulatory & hearings committee:

Birkenhead, 176-178 Mokoia Rd, objection by BP Oil NZ Ltd to condition relating to signage on new service station upheld.

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Rodney consent activity, September 2003

Notification

Hearings

Matakana, 15 Takatu Rd, application by Horseworld Ltd (John Baker of McLeod Group Ltd) to establish farmers’ market for 50-80 stallholders on Saturday or Sunday mornings, at Horseworld Equestrian Centre. Horseworld applied to have the application heard by an independent commissioner, which development planner Rachel Helme recommended be declined. Decision on who’s to hear it will be made on Monday 15 September.

Warkworth, corner State Highway 1 & 7 Toovey Rd, just south of Warkworth, non-complying application by CNN Ltd (Nick Weyland & Carolyn Lovett) to erect a heritage-style barn & office plus storage area for Totalspan Rodney display site for far buildings & barns. Totalspan is a franchised business, part of Totalspan Steel Buildings (formerly Budget Buildings), part of the Versatile group. The 8659m² site is zoned rural, has been used by transport operator Transcon Warkworth Ltd and has Kiwi Welldrillers Ltd next to it. Planners’ recommendation is that it be non-notified and that consent be granted.
Website: Totalspan

Notification

Kumeu, 27 Koraha Rd, retrospective application by Leslie Corner for 9300m³ of earthworks & a further 7000m³ of earthworks as part of a cleanfill operation. Submissions close with the Rodney District Council on Thursday 2 October.

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Britomart decision moves back to November

3 councillors & planning manager off to waterfront conference

Auckland City Council’s decision on which of 2 candidates will win the Britomart above-ground development contract has been put back to November.

The council had anticipated reaching a decision for its 25 October meeting but it’s now likely to be made at the 27 November meeting.

3 councillors and city planning manager John Duthie will be absent from the October council meeting, all attending the Waterfront Expo in London’s Docklands.

The council is paying for recreation & events committee chairman Cllr Scott Milne to attend the conference, but not for finance & corporate business committee chairman Cllr Douglas Armstrong or city development committee chairman Cllr Juliet Yates.

“They’re so keen on it they’re paying their own way,” Mr Duthie said.

“We’re not going up there because of the Britomart stuff, and it won’t make a difference on who is chosen as the proponent we want to work with. But we certainly want to build in all the learning, from New Zealand & overseas. We certainly will be using it in the future.

“There’s a whole lot of case studies at the conference, and it will help as we move forward and develop the city, but it’s not a criterion on which the 2 applicants will be judged.”

The Britomart contest is now between the Bluewater consortium – 40% Peter Cooper of Bluewater Group Holdings Ltd, 40% Multiplex Developments NZ Ltd & 20% Phillimore Properties Ltd (Kelvyn, Ken & Ross Healy) – and Nigel McKenna of Melview Developments Ltd.

The Waterfront Expo website is among several waterfront websites placed on the Bob Dey Property Report external links page after the Urbanism downunder conference in Auckland in March.

Website: Waterfront Expo

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CBD snapshot

CBD liquor ban starts tonight

Auckland City Council’s ban on drinking alcohol in public places in the downtown area begins tonight, and will be extended to Viaduct Harbour by the end of October. Law & order committee chairman Cllr Noelene Raffills said private Viaduct property owners had, “on the council’s advice, agreed to give the police the authority to issue trespass notices to people who are in the possession of, or drinking alcohol on their land. Obviously the pavement seating areas attached to licensed premises and private apartments are excluded from the ban.”

23 September 2002

Free downtown buses

Free red “City Circuit” buses will be introduced to downtown Auckland for the America’s Cup season, run by Stagecoach and subsidised by the Auckland Regional Council. They will follow a clockwise route with 11 stops, from the Edge entertainment area, Queen St, Viaduct Basin and up to Auckland University every 10 minutes, 8am-6pm 7 days.

Question on commmercial street banners

Auckland City Council ‘s city development committee wants community board input before deciding in November whether to allow more commercial content in banners across the streets of shopping strips.
Current policy is to approve banners if they display a community message. Options in a report to the committee included allowing for some local commercial advertising, and protecting access for local not-for-profit organisations and the council.

The council’s contract with its approved event branding supplier, NetWork Visuals, protects access for events the council deems of significant importance, through a first option to use any site and a right to require that installed banners be cleared.

Council approves airspace leases for Sky bridges over Federal St

Auckland City Council’s city development committee has approved 2 airspace leases for the development of overbridges across Federal St linking the Sky City casino to its new convention centre. Conditions cover height & transparency and require light construction material & no commercial advertising. Council policy requires that public benefits need to be clearly established before consent is granted. The committee found that links to a privately funded large conference facility of international standards at no cost to ratepayers would be a significant benefit to the public.

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Britomart above-ground closing date now 16 May

1st train due into station 23 June

2 of the 4 companies shortlisted to get the above-ground Britomart project have joined forces. The closing date for stage 2 proposals has also been extended from 30 April to 16 May.

Auckland City Council project manager Doug Alexander & consultancy services manager Peter Beckerleg said, in their report to the council’s finance & corporate business committee on Wednesday, 1 candidate for the project wanted the closing date pushed back to 26 May “on the basis that this will result in a vastly improved proposal being submitted,” while the other 2 were ready to meet the original closing date but were prepared to accept a compromise.

The redevelopment exercise will give the winning contender freehold title to properties around the Britomart perimeter and leasehold on the central block above the rail tunnel into the new Britomart station.

4 openings for station

The transport interchange project will have 4 separate opening functions – a Ngati Whatua site blessing on Friday 20 June at 6.30am, celebration of the 1st train in on Monday 23 June at 6am, the official opening on Friday 25 July from 2-4pm, and a public open day on Saturday 26 July from 11am-5pm.

Bluewater Group Holdings Ltd and Phillimore Properties Ltd have joined forces.

The other 2 contenders are Melview Developments Ltd and Trans Tasman Properties Ltd.

Councillors were told in February that Phillimore had concentrated on the heritage buildings around Britomart in its stage 1 proposal and would need to enter into a joint venture to present a credible stage 2 proposal.

Bluewater was previously a joint venture between the interests of Peter Cooper and Multiplex Constructions NZ Ltd.

Bluewater Group (Tom Murray, a director of numerous Oceania & Eastern group companies) is part of the Oceania & Eastern group headed by Geoff Ricketts, Chris Mace & Robin Congreve. Dr Congreve’s other directorships include Symphony Group Ltd and Paramount Property Trust Management Ltd.

Melview Developments (Nigel McKenna) is developing the Beaumont Quarter on the former Auckland Gas Co site on Beaumont St, and the 29-apartment Lighter Quay project, the 1st project in former America’s Cup territory.

Trans Tasman, controlled by Jesse Lu of SEA Holdings Ltd, Hong Kong, is a listed property investor turning increasingly to development, with a large block on Viaduct Harbour, 1 building completed & sold in the Maritime Square office development on Fanshawe St, and an industrial subdivision under way near Auckland International Airport.

Previous story: Council shortlists 4 Britomart contenders

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Second new site nearer town centre proposed for Papakura station

Review proposes O’Shannessey St station and intensification link across tracks

Papakura’s railway station will be moved about 200m north towards the town’s main business area under the structure plan adopted in February — but might be moved another 300m if the district council adopts an alternative proposal put together over the past month.

The alternative would place the station beside O’Shannessey St, one of Papakura’s main commercial and retail streets. Across the tracks, it would be between Margaret and Vernon Sts, an area now accommodating light industrial uses and some housing, which the structure plan shows would be turned over to medium-density housing.

Under the alternative proposal, this area on the west side of the tracks would get park-and-ride space. There would also be a business band between the tracks and the higher-density housing. Better linkage between east and west is proposed.

The proposal incorporated in the structure plan in February was put together by Chris van Tonder of Urban Initiatives, who has conducted charrettes for the council on possible neighbourhood changes in central Papakura, Takanini to the north and the Hingaia peninsula, across the southern motorway.

The alternative came in a review of the central area structure plan by international planning and engineering firm URS Ltd (in New Zealand, previously known as Woodward-Clyde), which the council had asked to produce a development plan for the central railway area so land could be designated for public works.

Two designation area circles

The council’s planning and regulation committee decided on Monday to stick with a station just south of the Broadway-Clevedon Rd overpass so the designation process can be undertaken quickly, but that the structure plan area used to delineate the radius for 5 and 10-minute walks to the station be enlarged to incorporate both station proposals.

URS has set out a more detailed evaluation programme which it proposes completing by Christmas. Meanwhile, Mr van Tonder and Vancouver transport planning director Bill Lambert have come back to the council expressing their continued support for the southern station, and as many doubts as they can muster in short order about the URS alternative, which was put up by URS’ Minneapolis-based vice-president for planning & urban design, Arijs Pakalns.

Part of a wider scheme

Proposals to change Papakura’s central area are part of its district plan review, but also form part of the regional growth forum’s strategy to create transport/business/residential nodes around the Auckland region and to increase residential densities in the immediate vicinity of these nodes.

The Papakura council has organised charrettes for its two main urban districts and for Hingaia, where greenfields urban development is proposed, but has yet to arrange consultation on its wider rural district.

Intensification proposals at the moment would see 440 new households on 53ha at the former Papakura military camp, on the southern edge of Takanini, 300 households on 24ha between Clevedon and Settlement Rd north of Red Hill, and 210 households on 17ha between Great South Rd and the motorway north of Drury Creek.

The regional council is hoping for a slower start to the Hingaia greenfields development, but the district council wants to see an early start and 5000 more people there in a variety of housing in the next 20 years (at present 1ha lifestyle lots dominate Hingaia; they are to remain, but no more would be created). Takanini would also get 5000 more people over 20 years.

The question: which end to liven up

The central area proposals would both see a more vibrant “downtown” Papakura. The question is, which end is to be developed.

Both proposals allot unfortunately large spaces to park-and-ride all-day parking lots, an excellent way of killing the neighbourhood unless it’s camouflaged in a useful way. That means more expensive under-cover parking for commuters with commercial space above — fine for the camouflage but no good for the commercial tenants above — or finding some other way of getting commuters to the station.

Mr Pakalns, in his general review comments, noted that the business district proposed in the structure plan might be too large, “resulting in a thinly developed and possibly lifeless downtown.” He raised the question of horizontal versus vertical development, and suggested raising the density in Papakura’s core from the present 1-2 to 4-6 storeys.

The structure plan proposes expanding the business zone east across the railway tracks, but Mr Pakalns found it hard to imagine those businesses would function as an integral part of the core. A deck over the rail corridor, with development on top, would overcome this obstacle, but he suspected that would be too expensive and hard to accomplish.

The structure plan suggests moving primary traffic one block, from Great South Rd to East St, but Mr Pakalns suggested moving it one more block west to Wood St to make a larger pedestrian-friendly zone.

The URS report said the strip of land between Broadway and the existing station was too narrow and stretched to become a viable extension of the commercial core, with too many parks and public facilities around it to allow any viable development related to the station and supporting new passenger transport.

Mr Pakalns said the northern station option would generate more traffic by being closer to higher-density residential and commercial areas. It would probably be harder to achieve, but the long-term benefits should be far greater.

Development harder at new site, says charrette leader

One of the key faults which Urban Initiatives’ Chris van Tonder found with moving closer to the town centre was that it would make new development harder.

“Experience indicates that new developments tend to seek out the easiest areas to build… Nodes with the large parcels of land that are vacant, or with land grossly under-utilised, are favoured by developers and have short-term potential for new-transit-supportive development. In contrast, nodes that comprise many small land holdings with reasonable quality development are unlikely to see significant redevelopment.”

In a comparison of the two sites, Mr van Tonder found the southern option had “excellent, attractive long– and short-term intensification possibilities” and was “possibly a more lucrative market for developers”.

The site beside the business district core “could prove difficult to find investors initially to develop apartments in the run-down area [west of the tracks],” traffic congestion could worsen on Broadway and O’Shannessey St, and it would draw all-day commuters into streets with no ready connection to arterial routes, further exacerbating congestion.

Blinkered rebuttal

It doesn’t take much imagination to work out how good traffic access to the northern site could be created, but Mr Lambert stuck with the present in his comparison and, not surprisingly, therefore found the southern option better.

For a site which seems a long walk from anywhere, he found the southern site was closer to existing community facilities. For development, he found the southern site could be developed in stages (land around it is vacant), whereas the northern site “requires control of the whole site to make it happen.”

He suggested that for the northern site to become attractive, unattractive land use on the western side would have to change, which could take a long time and great commitment from a large developer.

Panelbeating and transport firms occupy some of the land immediately west of the rail tracks — users who like low rent. Integration across the tracks would change the land value, the rent and the users, demonstrating Mr Lambert’s unnecessarily negative view of the northern alternative.

The quality of rebuttal means the district council should go outside parties already close to the project for a more objective analysis of all three sites (including the existing station), but the urge for getting designations done quickly may counter that proposition.

Judging on summaries can be entirely unfair, but what was set out before the councillors this week did not show a comparison of where existing train users go (I suspect the centre of Papakura is not their primary destination), what proportion might stay in the town centre if it becomes a higher-density residential area, what changes might occur to a station area if commuter connections are improved and commuter parking reduced, or what passenger increase into Papakura at the morning peak instead of out of it might be engendered by raising the profile of the town centre as a business hub.

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