Transferrable title rights would create five dwelling sites behind dunes
Rodney planning commissioners Ken Graham and Suzanne Sinclair reserved their decision yesterday on an application by farmer John Matheson to increase a Pakiri beachfront subdivision to six lots by transferring development rights from two more prominent titles.
The proposal was opposed by the Auckland Regional Council, whose representatives talked of the area’s national significance. But they accepted there would be less visual impact from a subdivision behind the sand dunes than from as-of-right construction high up on the hill above the beach.
Three different Taumata B hapu representatives gave mixtures of support and opposition to aspects of the proposal.
Opposition also came from a woman who bought a house in the Arrigato subdivision at the top of the hill at the south end of Pakiri Beach, where developer Ian Gillespie is now seeking leave to go to the Court of Appeal over a High Court ruling against his proposal to subdivide six into 14 lots.
Mr Gillespie has about 150ha stretching from Pakiri Rd down to the southern tip of the beach. Hilary Russell, who bought an existing house there then opposed Mr Gillespie’s further subdivision programme, objected to the transfer of titles in the Matheson proposal and expressed concern at Rodney District Council’s ability to enforce covenants on bush retention.
The Matheson family trust’s proposal would tie two titles covering 2.6ha into a 91ha block south of Mr Gillespie’s land, transferring the rights to develop on them to the 16.8ha of beachfront land north of the Gillespie property.
Apart from various aspects of noncompliance, the proposal was confusing, especially as one lot in the beachfront subdivision didn’t seem to be changing at all.
Tradeoff for forfeiting more obtrusive development
Council planner Barry MacDonell said the proposal was a tradeoff with net environmental benefits. Without the amalgamation of the donor sites and transfer of rights, six more dwellings could be added to the existing Matheson home on the hillside.
In February, the 16.8ha site was cut into two titles of 9999mÂ² and 15.8ha. This proposal would be replaced by one that leaves the 9999mÂ² and creates three more titles of 8.7ha, 6.1ha and another of 9999mÂ². Adjoining them, a 34.2ha lot would have 1.8ha sliced out as a covenanted bush site.
The subdivision was originally considered as a boundary relocation, but the donor and recipient sites are 3km apart and separated by the Gillespie land. Transferrable title rights are allowed under the countryside living 2 (town) activity area provisions of Rodney’s proposed plan change 55, which could come into operation next year as the new district plan is to be notified on 28 November (minus its financial contributions section, plan change 62, which is heading back to the Environment Court for the formula to be set).
Mr MacDonell said the transferrable rights provision did not apply to the Mangawhai-Pakiri special character area, where the recipient land is. Under plan change 55, a rural residential site in that area may be divided if there is at least 2ha of significant bush to be protected.
Because two extra sites were sought and not enough bush would be protected, the application did not comply with the plan.
Although Mr Justice Chambers made it clear in his Arrigato decision last month that a subdivision proposal should stand or fall on compliance with basic planning dictates, such as having to be within a countryside living area or outside a special character area, Mr MacDonell recommended that consent be granted after taking into account the net environmental benefits.
The nub of the regional council argument, presented by John Burns, was that “there should be no increase in the number of lots available for residential development” in the Mangawhai-Pakiri special character area, in accordance with the regional policy statement and district plan, and new residential development should be visually unobtrusive.