Archive | Heritage

12 years after demolition order scrapped, Hobson St building sells

An office tenancy in the former Canvas City & Wong Doo building at the corner of Hobson & Cook Sts, leased in March, was sold at an auction brought forward at Bayleys yesterday.

The small 2-storey building faced demolition in 2005, when South Korean developer Dae Ju Developments Co Ltd sought council permission to knock it down and extend the Fiore apartment building, already approved, across 2 sites.

Heritage campaigner Allan Matson fought demolition and Auckland City councillors Christine Caughey & Faye Storer led the process to look again at Dae Ju’s application.

Eventually, Fiore was built in 2 stages, with the corner shop refurbished. It was constructed in 1885 with shop space at ground level, living areas behind & bedrooms above. It was sold yesterday by Dae Ju successor KNC Global Management Co Ltd.


Victoria Quarter

166 Hobson St, corner Cook St:
Features: 199m² floor area on 2 levels in refurbished category B historic building, occupied by Global Visas Ltd on new 6-year lease
Rent: $110,000/year net + gst + outgoings, body corp levy $5889/year
Outcome: sold for $1.92 million at a 5.73% yield at auction brought forward
Agents: Sarah Boles & Terry Kim

Earlier stories:
12 March 2017: Fiore corner office space leased
8 September 2013: First use of council heritage fund is for Wong Doo building & Airedale cottages
23 December 2011: Council agrees to compromise allowing development above Wong Doo building
5 April 2011: Council slams demolition bans on Canvas City & Ranchhod buildings
17 May 2009: Dae Ju gets new consent to knock down Canvas City building
17 April 2009: Dae Ju revives Canvas City demolition plan as it puts Elliot Tower on hold & redesigns Star site building
13 December 2006: Dae Ju can knock down Canvas City lean-tos, and escapes hefty bond
21 April 2006: Heritage campaigner battles on to save Canvas City from demolition for new development
5 April 2005: Councillors hold up Hobson St demolition with theme of “heritage capital”

Attribution: Auction.

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Property Council calls Government’s new heritage support fund “underwhelming”

Arts, Culture & Heritage Minister Maggie Barry said on Friday the Government would put $12 million into a contestable new fund over the next 4 years to support retention of built heritage.

The Property Council called it “underwhelming”.

Ms Barry said at the launch in Feilding the heritage earthquake upgrade incentive programme fund (Heritage EQUIP) would support the cost of strengthening privately owned heritage buildings: “We don’t want to see valued buildings empty & deteriorating, or even demolished, because it isn’t economical to strengthen them. This new fund will support owners to preserve our built heritage for future generations.

“Applicants to the fund will need to look to match Heritage EQUIP funding with local government, philanthropic, community & their own contributions. We will be setting up an expert advisory panel to assess applications, which will open in the New Year.”

The fund will be available for all privately owned category 1 Heritage NZ-listed buildings and for category 2 listed heritage buildings in areas of high to medium seismic risk such as Manawatu & Wellington.

Ms Barry said the Ministry for Culture & Heritage and Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment would develop a comprehensive information package in the next few months, providing guidance to heritage building owners on how to manage strengthening projects.

Property Council: “We want a comprehensive scheme, not enough for a handful”

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said: “The fund is a very welcome but underwhelming development. $3 million/year over the next 4 years will only be enough for a handful of buildings. In cities like Dunedin or Whanganui, we have hundreds of earthquake-prone buildings built well over 100 years ago. The economic viability of these cities hinges on either strengthening these buildings or allowing owners to demolish & replace them with modern & safe buildings.”

Mr Townsend said a number of councils understood the issue and were providing leadership: “Wellington City Council provides financial levers & incentives for earthquake strengthening. The approach taken by the council with its rates remission policy & building consent subsidy is helpful in providing some financial relief when strengthening buildings.

“Yet, what we are missing is a joint approach by government & councils in meeting the challenge of earthquake strengthening. A lot more needs to be done in this space. What people tend to forget is that commercial property is a key driver of economic & social prosperity in our towns & cities”.

He said the Property Council had been advocating for years for the Government to provide assistance to all building owners to earthquake-strengthen because of the high risk to public safety and affordability constraints: “We prefer a more comprehensive scheme, such as making earthquake strengthening costs tax deductible. That’s a much fairer system and allows for many more earthquake-prone buildings to be made safe.

“It is unclear how the advisory panel will prioritise buildings for strengthening – whether it will be purely on heritage value or if it will also look at life safety, technical feasibility & affordability issues.”

“A number of Property Council members have extensive experience earthquake-strengthening heritage buildings. We would be happy to work on the advisory panel to ensure that the new fund is effective in safely strengthening as many buildings as possible and preserving critical New Zealand heritage.”

Heritage EQUIP
2 Property Council submissions on earthquake-strengthening, July 2015 & April 2014

Attribution: Ministerial & Property Council releases.

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Council backs status quo as its unitary plan mediation position

Auckland Council decided yesterday to reject a staff proposal to abandon or downgrade 10 of the volcanic viewshafts around the region, as a council position in mediation at the unitary plan hearings.

The council’s Auckland development committee had before it a proposal to remove 5 viewshafts under the proposed unitary plan and to downgrade 3 others from regionally significant to a new category of locally significant. Changes to height controls would obscure 2 others.

Landscape architect Stephen Brown, who presented an expert group’s evaluation to the committee, said the evaluation of all 87 viewshafts had taken 4½ months, and the panel of experts was divided at the end of it. He said some wanted another 20 viewshafts removed from the list.

Some submitters on the proposed unitary plan – notably Housing NZ – want almost all viewshafts to go.

Expert conferencing on the viewshafts finished on Monday and the council’s plans & place general manager, John Duguid, said the next mediation stage would be on 5 April. Hearing of submissions on the viewshafts resumes on 9 May, and the panel is scheduled to release its decision in August.

Planning consultant Peter Reaburn said in his report to the committee that, last August, the committee had supported a review of the criteria in the proposed plan for regionally significant views and the development of criteria for locally significant views, and had also supported reviewing the impacts of the viewshafts on development.

Back in the Town Hall to discuss the council mediation position yesterday, there was hardly a murmur in favour of abandoning any of the viewshafts, although some were already compromised.

Instead of supporting the staff recommendations, the committee agreed to reconfirm the council’s current position on volcanic viewshafts & height-sensitive areas, with only Cllr George Wood opposing retention of one viewshaft, of Mt Eden from a point on the Southern Motorway.

The viewshafts have been in council planning documents for 40 years, preventing developments from rising within them. However, Mr Brown said some views had been obliterated, some obscured by vegetation and there was a compelling case for deleting the shaft from the motorway.

Independent Maori Statutory Board member Liane Ngamane tried to get an understanding of how Maori values were assessed – and Mr Brown said it was “a purely technical analysis”, that the expert group hadn’t been asked to “go beyond the visual” and “the focus was not on values which we didn’t have the expertise to assess”.

Ms Ngamane: “Do you accept that that may not be consistent with the Maori relationship?”

Mr Brown: “We didn’t have at that point anybody with expertise on Maori values.”

Albert-Eden Local Board chair Peter Haynes and Orakei Local Board deputy chair & mayoral candidate Mark Thomas gave brief presentations to the committee.

Mr Haynes: “What is the one physical feature that distinguishes Auckland from every other city in the world? It is located on a volcanic field. Auckland in that respect is totally unique. Calling these maunga outstanding natural features is an understatement.”

He said the nature of the evaluation was solely related to the economic value of these maunga in development terms, presenting the shafts only as a cost, and commented: “Undermining volcanic viewshafts is a very quick way of undermining pursuing United Nations natural heritage status.”

He said the new maunga authority (Tupuna Maunga o Tamaki Makaurau Authority) opposed any reduction of the viewshafts.

Mr Haynes questioned the distinction of local significance: “You either protect viewshafts or you don’t. I’ve learnt that restricted discretionary [planning status] doesn’t give you any protection at all. That’s tantamount to no protection at all and it would only be a matter of time before such viewshafts are lost.”

Link: Committee agenda

Attribution: Council committee agenda & debate.

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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 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 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’.  Rule 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”

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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Council offers $15 million towards St James restoration

Auckland Council’s finance & performance committee agreed last week to contribute $15 million toward restoring the St James Theatre.

The committee made the decision on a 16-3 vote in the confidential section of its agenda on Thursday 19 November. The result was released in the committee minutes, but the report & documents remained confidential.

The contribution is in principle, and up to $15 million from the council’s built heritage acquisition fund, and will be made alongside contributions from theatre owner ReliaNZ Holdings LP, the Government, philanthropic organisations & other potential funders.

Council conditions include an appropriate legal structure for ownership & control, and operational management that ensures continued public access.

Earlier story:
8 November 2014: 39-storey apartment tower to rise on St James site, theatre to be restored

Attribution: Committee minutes.

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Propbd on Q Th26Nov15 – Council on demolition dogs & the north; auctions, Goodman settles, PFI pleased

Council action on heritage demolition, dog access, northern breakaway, Kaipara Harbour
5 apartments sell at Ray White auction
14 “intensive living” units, 2 sections & a showroom sell at Barfoots
4 apartments & a farm sell at Bayleys
All 4 sell at City Sales auction
Goodman settles 2 Addington sales
PFI pleased to exit Cavendish Drive property

Council action on heritage demolition, dog access, northern breakaway, Kaipara Harbour

Auckland Council’s governing body:

  • Will get a report back in February on a proposal from Orakei board member Troy Churton seeking amendment to governing body resolution regarding the process for determining notifications for demolition of pre-1944 buildings
  • Agreed today to change the dog access rules in the Albert-Eden ward (since 2013, local boards have been able to use different summer times or seasons from the standard bylaws, which required governing body approval), and
  • Endorsed a response to the Local Government Commission on a proposal from the Northern Action Group for a North Rodney unitary council (the commission sought views on impacts, not a view on the action group’s proposal); Cllr George Wood added a number of extra difficulties the proposed unitary council might encounter.

The council also considered a memorandum of understanding on establishing a joint working party on the Kaipara Harbour in the confidential section of its agenda because of some confidential information from the Government, but expected to release its resolutions publicly.

5 apartments sell at Ray White auction

5 of the 8 apartments auctioned at Ray White City Apartments today were sold under the hammer. Auction results:

Chatham, 70 Pitt St, unit 502, sold for $260,000 + gst, Aileen Wu
Waldorf Bankside, 8 Bankside St, unit 10E, sold for $261,500, Judi & Michelle Yurak
Tetra House, 85 Wakefield St, unit 508, sold for $265,000, James Mairs
Focus on Anzac, 99 Anzac Avenue, unit 3H, passed in at $460,000, Ryan Bridgman & Mitch Agnew
Grey Lynn, Méditerranée, 10 Crummer Rd, unit 1A, sold for $400,500, Leo Zhu
Westmount, 23 Upper Queen St, unit 1A, passed in at $350,000, Damian Piggin, Daniel Horrobin & Simon Harrison
Eden Terrace, Memphis, 9 Charlotte St, unit GA, sold for $210,000, James Mairs
Uptown Apartments, 14 Upper Queen St, unit 6A, passed in after one bid at $380,000, vendor indication at $400,000, Krister Samuel

14 “intensive living” units, 2 sections & a showroom sell at Barfoots

Of the 32 “intensive living” properties on yesterday’s auction list, 12 were sold at the auction, one prior and one post.

2 sections targeted for their land were sold, one on Point View Drive above Flat Bush and the other in Mt Roskilll, and a showroom/warehouse property in New Lynn was sold. Auction results:

Tower Hill, 1 Emily Place, unit 11D, one-bedroom apartment, sold for $623,000, Livia Li & Alan Guo
Remuera, 16 Belmont Terrace, unit 5, one-bedroom apartment, sold for $434,000, Sarah Garlick & Estee Zeng
Lorne St Lofts, 4 Lorne St, unit 2G, one-bedroom apartment, sold for $442,500, Rita Herceg & Alastair Brown
207 Federal St, unit 406, passed in, 2-bedroom apartment, Stephen Shin & Yasu Ka
Parnell, 26B Takutai St, sold for $1.4 million, Silvia Poletti
Harbour Green, 11 Union St, unit 807, 2-bedroom apartment, no bid, Livia Li & Alan Guo
Glendowie, 43 Karaka Park Place, cross-lease, passed in, Grant Marshall
Glendowie, 123 Riddell Rd, unit 3, cross-lease unit, sold for $710,000, Margot Torrance
St Heliers, 91 Long Drive, unit 2, cross-lease unit, no bid, Helen Clelland
Parnell, 22 Windsor St, cross-lease, passed in, Jill Jackson
Hobson Gardens, 205 Hobson St, unit 8H, apartment, auction postponed, Stephen Shin & Yasu Ka
Meridian, 11 Howe St, unit 1F, studio, no bid, Stephen & Leo Shin
Waldorf Celestion, 19 Anzac Avenue, unit 1305, apartment, no bid, Jason Buckwell
Silo Apartments, 23 Emily Place, unit 9J, studio, no bid, Annie Xu & Sean Zhang
Fiore, 152 Hobson St, unit 408, apartment, sold prior, Stephen Shin & Yasu Ka
St Johns, 6 Lush Avenue, unit 5, cross-lease unit, passed in, Mike Dolan
Mt Wellington, 11 Burt Rd, unit 2, cross-lease unit, no bid, Jane Wang & Dragon Zhou
Grey Lynn, 199 Surrey Crescent, unit 504, apartment, sold for $910,000, Mike Dolan
Meadowbank, 44 Hawkins St, cross-lease, sold for $900,000, Maree Church
Mt Albert, 55 Sainsbury Rd, unit 5, withdrawn from auction, Duane Mullooly
St Heliers, 20B McArthur Avenue, cross-lease, no bid, Sharlene Huang
Mt Wellington, 172 Ireland Rd, cross-lease, no bid, Mike Dolan
Mt Wellington, 12 Motu Place, unit 1, sold for $610,000, Alex Wu & Ben Feng
Avondale, 316 Blockhouse Bay Rd, 9 units, sold for $2.32 million, Sue Allan & Aken Yuan
Mt Eden, 22 Normanby Rd, unit 44, apartment, sold for $662,000, Ryan Harding & Matt O’Rourke
Grey Lynn, 29 Scanlan St, unit M2, apartment, sold for $615,000, Neil Dayal & Louise Stringer
Onehunga, 10 Inkerman St, unit 2, sold for $635,000, Dennis Law
Mt Eden, 101 Balmoral Rd, unit 3, passed in, Alex Yang
Grey Lynn, Turing building, 2 Ariki St, unit GO7, apartment, no bid, Thornton & Felicity Scott
Epsom, 116 The Drive or 41 Empire Rd, unit 2 either way, withdrawn from auction, Robert Thompson
Remuera, 90 Remuera Rd, unit 18, apartment, sold post-auction, Rick Thevenard & Leonie Stabler
Remuera, 90 Remuera Rd, unit 16, apartment, passed in, Rick Thevenard & Leonie Stabler

Land sales:

East Tamaki, 67 Point View Drive, lot 1, 800m² section sold for $1.005 million, Robben Li & Peter Young
Mt Roskill, 14 Invermay Avenue, 1930s bungalow on 828m² section, sold for $1.54 million, Repeka Lelaulu


New Lynn, 26 Portage Rd, unit 1, sold for $975,000, Neil Wooldridge & Peter Jeromson

4 apartments & a farm sell at Bayleys

4 of the 7 apartments auctioned at Bayleys yesterday were sold under the hammer.

A Kaukapakapa farm with a range of potential conversions, including subdivision, was also sold. Auction results:

Grey Lynn, 45 Millais St, 3 flats in bungalow, sold for $1.5 million, Blair Haddow
Hillsborough, 80 Carlton St, cross-lease, passed in, Chris Reeves
Ellerslie, 32 Michaels Avenue, flat 2, cross-lease, sold for $495,000, Lisa Smyth & Helen Byford
Stamford Residences, 26 Albert St, unit 1209, apartment, no bid, Blair Haddow
Matakatia, 64A Matakatia Parade, cross-lease, passed in at $1.01 million, Sue & Charles Donoghue
Parnell, Stonemasons, 27 Falcon St, unit 2B, apartment, sold for $565,000, Chris Reeves
Scene 1, 2 Beach Rd, unit 611, leasehold apartment, sold for $95,000 at mortgagee auction, Tony Bayley


Kaukapakapa, 158 Hellyer Rd, 400ha farm, passed in at $4.2 million, Karen Asquith & Graeme Mann

All 4 sell at City Sales auction

All 4 apartments auctioned at City Sales yesterday were sold under the hammer. Auction results:

Takapuna, Spencer on Byron, 9-17 Byron Avenue, unit 312, sold for $216,000 at mortgagee auction, Gabrielle Hoffmann
Sapphire, 76 Wakefield St, unit 303, sold for $271,500, Chris Bell
The Quadrant, 10 Waterloo Quadrant, unit 1112, sold for $425,000, Maryanne Wong
Eden Terrace, 3 Ngahura St, unit 15, sold for $445,000, Jake Hayward & Iona Rodrigues

Goodman settles 2 Addington sales

Goodman Property Trust’s manager, Goodman (NZ) Ltd, confirmed yesterday that the $33.2 million sale of the amenity & IAG buildings at 12 & 14 Show Place in Addington, Christchurch, to local investors has been settled.

PFI pleased to exit Cavendish Drive property

Property For Industry Ltd said yesterday its sale of a non-core property at 85 Cavendish Drive, Manukau, for a gross $10 million was due to settle on 31 March 2016. General manager Simon Woodhams said the sale, to a neighbouring investor at a Colliers auction last week, concluded a long-term strategy to sell this property, and it was above the December 2014 book value of $8.65 million.

Earlier story:
18 November 2015: Cavendish Drive property sells $750,000 above June book value

Attribution: Council, auctions, company releases.

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Orakei proposal to change heritage demolition process

Orakei Local Board member Troy Churton has proposed a way to overcome a conflict in considering demolition of heritage buildings.

He has proposed a motion for the board to consider on Thursday, to change some process requirements in the determination of notifications of resource consent applications relating to demolition of pre-1944 buildings. If approved, it would go to the governing body for its support.

In an outline of his proposal, Mr Churton said: “The incidence of applications to demolish character pre-1944 buildings, particularly in Remuera & other Orakei Local Board suburbs, has increased and will likely continue. Examples range from iconic institutional buildings such as the Hannah Block at King’s Prep to character large bungalows within a consistent streetscape context such as 48 Seaview Rd, Remuera.

“There is little evidence of due regard or ability in the planning process to assert the effect of cumulative effects of these sorts of demolition as ‘adverse’ & ‘more than minor’ on the overall values & amenity of a suburb either.

“Where a board planning spokesperson has submitted relevant localised comment about the application and about notification, and backed up with objective & professional support from an established local heritage society as we are fortunate to have in Remuera & St Heliers, and the board member comment is not adopted by a council planner, the resulting conflict should therefore be dealt with enabling the board member to elect advocacy before a duty commissioner and not on papers alone. Alternatively those cases should default to limited notification.

Attribution: Agenda.

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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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Update – panel change: Panels appointed to hear Queens Wharf artwork & Takapuna boating hub applications, plus others

Published 3 June 2015, updated 4 June
As often occurs, membership of one hearing panel appointed on Tuesday had an immediate change.

The panel to hear the Takapuna application for a marine activity hub had Lisa Whyte (Hibiscus Bays) named as local board member on the panel, however she declined the role. No replacement has been named yet.

Committee chair Linda Cooper told me & Ms Whyte in an email today: “It seems that a reporter who was at the meeting has legitimately posted this on social media before our hearings staff were able to confirm availability in person with the commissioners. It is very common for proposed commissioners to be unavailable or occasionally have a conflict therefore frequently I am asked to approve an alternate commissioner. This means resolutions on the day are sometimes not accurate by the time the hearing occurs.”

Almost like an accident, except I was sitting at the media table in plain view at an open meeting. It used to be normal for council staff to ensure before the meeting that proposed commissioners were going to be available for a hearing – in which case they also learned of conflicts.

Auckland Council’s hearings committee appointed commissioners on Tuesday to hear 5 resource consent applications, including the council application to place a public artwork on Queens Wharf and the proposal to establish a boating hub on the Takapuna camping ground.

The committee also:

  • designated 12 independent hearing commissioners as duty commissioners
  • resolved to recruit more commissioners, and
  • began a review of the process for determining demolition resource consent applications in the isthmus residential 1 zone.

Commissioner appointments:

Queens Wharf, public artwork at wharf end (application already publicly notified, submissions closing Monday 8 June): Leigh McGregor (chair), Robert Scott & Bill Kapea

Takapuna Beach, 22 The Promenade, Takapuna Beach Holiday Park site, application by Harbour Access Trust for resource consents for community marine activity hub: Karyn Sinclair (chair), Rebecca Macky, Melean Absolum & local board member Lisa Whyte (from Hibiscus Bays)

, appointment of 3 independent hearing commissioners; the 1032 submissions were split 528 for the marine centre, 499 against, 5 neutral

Remuera, 14 Rangitoto Avenue & 19 Ara St, application by BeGroup NZ Ltd for retirement village in 3 wings of 1-3 storeys containing 27 independent living units, 68 aged-care suites, basement parking, on the former Rawhiti Bowling Club site: Robert Blakey to decide on notification and, if notified, to hear the application along with Pamela Peters, Rebecca Skidmore & local board member Graeme Easte (from Albert-Eden)

Waiheke Island, Sandy Bay, 92 Coromandel Rd, application for resource consent for a single-storey house straddling a wetland area: Barry Kaye to decide on notification and, if notified, to hear the application along with Bill Kapea

Te Atatu Peninsula, 543 Te Atatu Rd, former BP Oil (NZ) Ltd service station site, application by Vaco Investments (Te Atatu) Ltd (Antony Arnerich) to vary conditions of consent to allow 24/7 drive-through McDonald’s fast-food restaurant: Les Simmons to decide on notification and, if notified, to hear the application along with Ian Munro, Philip Brown & local board member Catherine Farmer (from Whau)

The list of duty commissioners includes 3 who are new to that role – Richard Blakey, Robert Scott & Dave Serjeant.

Council resolutions team manager Rob Andrews said the council reduced its pool of hearing commissioners from 65 to 49 a year ago and there was now a need to supplement the pool in certain skill areas.

Along with changing the faces on hearing panels, the council has produced a performance development framework for commissioners, including reviews of performance, supporting development and dealing with under-performance.

Earlier stories:
11 August 2014: Pencarrow enters upmarket retirement village development with Rawhiti site
25 May 2009: 8-storey Te Atatu building turned down
3 August 2008: Malaysian group plans 10-storey Te Atatu Peninsula development

Committee agenda, including item details
Online petition opposing Te Atatu 24/7 outlet

Attribution: Committee meeting.

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Judge tells council not to notify removal of old church villa

Justice Kit Toogood ruled in the Auckland High Court on Monday that a church trust doesn’t have to publicly notify its proposed removal of a Pt Chevalier villa.

Auckland Council’s hearings committee had decided by a majority that the resource consent application by the Associated Churches of Christ Church Extension & Property Trust Board to remove the Old Homestead at 92 Pt Chevalier Rd should be notified because it would have a more than minor adverse effect on the environment.

The late Victorian villa was said to be one of only 2 houses constructed before 1900 which remained in Pt Chevalier. The trust board decided it was so badly run down that it was no longer fit for its intended use and that renovation wasn’t an economic prospect.

The board wants to replace it with a new building having the same footprint & exterior appearance.

Justice Toogood found after a judicial review hearing the requirement to notify the removal was unreasonable. He said there was no reasonable basis on which the council could have concluded that removal of the building would have a more than minor adverse effect on the environment, so as to engage section 95A(2)(a) of the Resource Management Act and require notification, and there was no evidence the committee asked itself the essential question, whether notification would be likely to result in the council receiving further information relevant to the issues for determination on the substantive application to remove the building.

He said public notification of the application was unlikely to produce any significant additional material on the issue of the age & heritage status of the building, or on any of the other issues relevant to the resource consent decision.

Justice Toogood said the committee’s decision to require notification was also contrary to one of the purposes of the 2009 amendments to the notification regime, which was to increase efficiency in the consent process.

The judge decided not to send the application back to the council for further consideration because it would inevitably reach the same conclusion he did if it considered the question on a proper basis, and he ordered the council to process the application forthwith on a non-notified basis.

Link: The Associated Churches of Christ Church Extension & Property Trust Board v Auckland Council [2014] NZHC 3405 

Attribution: Judgment.

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