The developer of the Orakei Point apartment & mixed use precinct beside the Orakei railway station has been turned down – sort of – in an 11-10 council committee vote over a proposed 15.75m shift in position of the Peninsula apartment building.
The “sort of” above arises because the majority vote was against accepting the private plan change application for notification. Without a follow-up recommendation, the proposal was left in abeyance, and there was no subsequent proposal to adopt the plan change request (which would require the council to take it forward), or to reject it, or to deal with it as if it was a resource consent application.
Instead, committee chair Chris Darby resolved that the committee should defer a decision on the application to its next meeting.
Orakei Point Trustee Ltd (headed by Kerry Knight) has 5.9ha of partially redeveloped land on the Hobson Bay side of the small peninsula between Hobson Bay & the Orakei Basin, and in earlier development proposals it was this company’s & previous developer Tony Gapes’ intention to take development over the railway tracks, incorporating a station in the new structure, but neither Auckland Transport nor KiwiRail wanted that, citing maintenance as their major obstacle.
The development masterplan has been put in place with the section of it over the tracks eliminated, although it could be revived. KiwiRail was also keen to get a 5m gap between the tracks & development, but was turned down on that score when the masterplan was signed off.
Orakei Point Trustee Ltd’s new proposal is to rezone 413m² from open space–informal recreation to business–mixed use, enabling the 32-apartment Peninsula building to be moved 15.75m westward. The building would have up to 9 floors as stage 1 of a larger development.
But members of Auckland Council’s planning committee focused on encroachment by the repositioned building on open space – which is privately owned – around the edge of the Orakei Point peninsula.
The outcome of the 11-10 committee vote was not to reject the application for a private plan change enabling the repositioning, but not to accept it.
Aftera half-hour lunch break, committee chair Chris Darby opted to defer a decision until the committee’s next meeting instead of pursuing his immediate post-vote intention to move the plan change be rejected.
The open space belt around the peninsula’s edge was set aside to provide public access to the Hobson Bay walkway & cycleway, and to landscape the edge. However, principal planner Bruce Young said in his report to the committee the council’s parks & recreation policy staff no longer supported acquiring that land for access to the walkway, preferring a route along Orakei & Ngapipi Rds.
Council central south planning manager Celia Davison said the new area for the building was privately owned open space: “They want to move the zoning because they believe it would give a better outcome. Our open space team are not interested in that piece of land… The designation is quite a long way from rail. They want to move the building to give better distance between rail & their building.”
On the basis of the building occupying that open space, the Orakei Local Board opposed the change. The board’s former chair, Desley Simpson, in her second term as Orakei ward councillor, was concerned that the development could detrimentally affect rail in future, and told staff a lot of information was missing from their report.
Cllr Wayne Walker raised his regular concern about climate change impacts, although principal planner Mr Young said the new site was “not significantly lower” than the previous one. Cllr Walker, like Cllr Simpson, said he had “real concerns about the futureproofing of our transport network”.
Cllr Mike Lee commented: “The unitary plan & the masterplan, I was under the impression settled the controversy and a sound planning decision was made to protect that coastal edge, and that was part of the delay. Now after all that expense the owner has decided they want to encroach on that public open space [as above, it’s not public]. Obviously the owner wasn’t required to make a reserve contribution. Can we have some background into the idea of this requirement that the edge be open space?”
Ms Davison said she’d find out.
There was a lot more debate on both this plan change & one for Warkworth North around the politicians’ role. I’ll return to that in a further story.
1 September 2018: Equinox wins consent for Peninsula at Orakei Bay Village
Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda.