Hundreds Advised to Reapply for Resource Consents

Auckland Council recently announced that about 420 property owners to reapply for already issued resource consents to protect them from possible legal challenges. And the council says some of those who reapply may not get a resource consent after seeking a new one!

It may be that as many as 130 of the affected property owners have already obtained building consents for work on their dwellings.

The re-applications will be fee-free and expedited as quickly as possible. Council have done this so that issued consents are not vulnerable to being overturned by judicial review after building has been completed – which would be far more expensive and inconvenient.

The issue arose when the Auckland Unitary Plan became operative in part in November 2016. The final wording of the rules for Special Character Overlay Areas and the underlying Single House Zones were, in places, inconsistent and created uncertainly about which should take precedence.

It is important to note that Auckland Council obtained external legal advice to determine the correct interpretation of the rules. They adopted an approach that was consistent with this advice when processing resource consents between December 2016 and December 2017. This approach was that the Special Character Areas Overlay rules took precedence over the underlying zone rules.

Because there was still some uncertainty, Auckland Council sought clarification on the rules from the Environment Court. On 19 December 2017 the Court agreed that the relevant Unitary Plan rules were not clear and thanked the Council for seeking clarification. The Environment Court did not agree with Council’s existing interpretation of the rules and declared that both sets of rules – the Special Character Areas Overlay and the underlying zoning rules – should apply when considering resource consent applications.    Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Auckland Council, Heritage, Resource Consents, Waitemata Local Board | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

September 2018 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-August to September 2018 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • I attended a meeting of the Parnell Plan reference group on 27 August 2018 and the Principal Planner leading the project came to the Local Board workshop on 28 August. More detail on the latest on the project below
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

Continue reading

Posted in Local Board Reports, Waitemata Local Board | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Emerging Auckland

Emerging Auckland is a Development Tracker & ‘Urban Showcase’ recording and tracking significant private developments and civic infrastructure projects across Auckland City Centre and within the City Fringe, or ‘inner Auckland’ isthmus area – that are proposed, under construction, or recently completed. N.B.: This is not my work, I’m just sharing it.

 

Posted in Resource Consents, Urbanism, Waitemata | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

My Commentary on NZME Herald Focus: 2017 General Election

nzme-logo-1In the lead-up to the 2017 General Election I was a commentator on the Herald Focus video segments. This culminated in being on the live panel for NZME’s election night coverage. I thought it would be worth putting all these posts in one place.

The Herald’s media writer, John Drinnan, said of the 1 August segment, ‘Has Jacinda got what it takes?’ [if you were only going to watch one of the links below, I’d recommend that one]:

I don’t normally give plugs to presenters, but Tava and Curtin are impressive. Herald Focus presenter Tristram Clayton confirms that they have been signed for election coverage, among other things.

In my opinion, their performance after the Labour leadership change suggests the pair should play a central role, avoiding a widespread trend towards partisan commentary.

Curtin is an associate professor of politics at Auckland University and has frequently appeared on TVNZ’s Sunday morning politics show Q+A. Tava is a businessman and former candidate for the Greens’ co-leadership. He has been a political commentator for Paul Henry and on RadioLive. More please, Herald Focus.

19 July 2017: Election survey surprise

1 August 2017: Has Jacinda Arden got what it takes?

4 August 2017: No Minister Turei

10 August 2017: What now for imploding Greens and soaring Jacinda?

18 August 2017: Greens, National in trouble

25 August 2017: A week in politics with Fran O’Sullivan [and me]

1 September 2017: How Jacinda overtook the PM [First Leader’s Debate]

5 September 2017: Who topped the Bill & Jacinda debate? [Second Leader’s Debate]

8 September 2017: English struggles in face of fiery Ardern [Third Leader’s Debate]

25 October 2017: Ardern’s cabinet surprises

Posted in media, New Zealand Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

August 2018 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-July to mid-August 2018 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • I attended the official opening of the Teed Street renovation and sculpture
  • I attended a Parnell Plan meeting on 30 July
  • I have attended Parnell Business Association committee meetings for July and August as well as the PBA’s presentation to the local board on 9 August
  • I met with Warren Wilson of the Newton Business and Residents Association on 16 August to discuss liquor licensing issues in the area
  • Auckland Domain has picked up a bronze award in the World Urban Parks 2018 International Large Urban Parks Award. The Domain is the only NZ urban park amongst the winners
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

Continue reading

Posted in Local Board Reports, Waitemata Local Board | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Goodman Integrated Development Plan 2015 – Wynyard Quarter Area 2

Decision: Integrated Development Plan (IDP) QA2 for 121-127 and 129-135 Beaumont Street; 184 and 200 Pakenham Street; and 61- 69 Daldy Street

GRANTED with conditions: R/LUC/2015/2098. Application made by Goodman (Paihia) Limited. The IDP is to enable the future integrated development of 9,793m2 of land in Quarter Area 2 (QA2) of Wynyard Quarter to provide a framework of permissible built form, massing, open space, traffic and parking effects and activities across the block of land. In addition, the proposal seeks to modify development controls relating to the maximum height, site intensity, office GFA, maximum parking rates, reduction in exclusive marine and fishing activity, removal of the required north-south lane, and various other traffic related matters. The application proceeded on a non-notified basis. Continue reading

Posted in Auckland Council, Local Board, Resource Consents, RMA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bledisloe Wharf ‘Car Handling Facility’

Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) have lodged a resource consent application (LUC60323081: Plans and AEE) for earthworks at 1-19 Quay Street (on the Bledisloe Terminal) required to facilitate the construction of a new, 5-storey car handling facility building.

The consent matters are limited to earthworks and National Environmental Standard (NES) only – new buildings within the Port Precinct which comply with the relevant standards are a permitted activity.

The works will involve 3000 sqm and 2000 cum of earthworks, which primarily relate to the construction of the footings and foundations required to support the proposed building. Consent matters include the undertaking a proposed volume of earthworks exceeding  2500 sqm and undertaking a proposed volume of earthworks exceeding  2500 sqm within the Sediment Control Protection Area (i.e. within 100 m of the coastal area). The works also trigger consent matters under Section 9(1) of the Resource Management (National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health) Regulations 2011 (NES) as a controlled activity, as the works exceed the permitted earthworks volume. No discharge consents are being applied for, as the applicant (Ports of Auckland) is the holder of a permit to discharge contaminants from an industrial or trade activity (Discharge Consent 25179). 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It should be borne in mind that this approach by POAL is in direct response to widespread public pressure, opposing expanding the POAL land area by reclamation of the harbour for cargo storage, including cars, (especially for cars). I strongly oppose further reclamation so I find it difficult to object to intensification of the use of Port land. However, given the strong public interest in the port and the environmental sensitivity of the area, I think that public notification is appropriate.

My formal input on behalf of the Local Board is below:​

The Local Board recommends PUBLIC NOTIFICATION of this consent on the basis that ‘special circumstances’ exist as per s 95A(9) RMA 1991.

The special circumstances are the very high level of public interest in development of the port land and the consistently expressed expectation of our constituents that they will have the opportunity to have input on such works​. It is understood that this consent is for earthworks and NES matters only, not the building (as it is a permitted activity if complying with the relevant standards); nonetheless, there are likely adverse effects from the earthworks which exceed the permitted earthworks volume particularly given the proximity of these works to the water (within the Sediment Control Protection Area), and it is the Local Board’s view that the external expertise on these matters that can only be accessed by way of a public notification process is important for the matter to be adequately considered.

This facility is included in the POAL Masterplan, covered in detail by Simon Wilson at The Spinoff here.

The building is the first part of the proposal pictured below. Only the consent application relevant to the car building (the green covered building to the left) has been lodged. We have no indication of when the other buildings will be built although it has to be assumed that this is some years away given the current operational use of the land.

Carpark Hotel

Pictured: The POAL plan for a ‘green’ carpark building with proposed hotel in front. NB: Council’s plans for Quay Street with a bus station, single lanes for cars are not represented in the image. Image: POAL

UPDATE: As at 28 August 2018, I was informed that the applicant has reduced the volume of earthworks proposed to comply with the Auckland Unitary Plan’s standards. The only consenting matter is now in relation to the NES, where the proposal involves soil disturbance that doesn’t comply with Clause 8(3) of the NES. This removes the possible grounds on which the Local Board can request notification.

Posted in Resource Consents, Waitemata Local Board | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

July 2018 Local Board Member Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-June to July 2018 as Lead of the Planning and Heritage portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • I submitted to the hearings panel for the 144 Parnell Road resource consent on behalf of the Local Board on 9 July. More detail below under ‘Significant Resource Consent Matters’
  • I keep track of resource consent applications as they are received by Council, requesting further information, plans and Assessments of Environmental Effects for applications of interest. Significant applications are referred to the relevant residents’ associations for their input which I then relay to planners as part of the Local Board’s input. Reporting of resource consent applications, planning portfolio input, hearings and decisions in the Local Board area for this month is detailed in the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning section of this report under the headings ‘Planning’: ‘Resource Consents’

Continue reading

Posted in Local Board, Local Board Reports, Waitemata Local Board | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auckland City Mission Redevelopment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the main issues that inner-city constituents ask me about is what can be done to improve the situation of the city’s homeless. I am very pleased to see that the City Mission have lodged a resource consent application for a dramatically expanded facility on their re-developed site.

136 Hobson Street, Auckland Central. Consent bundle BUN60319224. Overall, a Restricted Discretionary activity. The re-developed building would include a medical centre (including general practitioners, dentists and social workers) and pharmacy, a medical detox facility with 30 beds, 80 residential apartments – 40 of which will be used for permanent housing for ‘chronically homeless’ people and 40 for people on the social housing register. Of the 80 apartments, 70 will be studio apartments and 10 will be one-bedroom. The design has been structurally future-proofed so that an additional accommodation tower could be constructed at the Federal Street end of the site.

img_3014

The townhouses at 201-203 Federal Street. To be demolished. (photo credit: Vernon Tava)

A previous approved resource consent for the redevelopment of the site (R/LUC/2008/6866) provided for the demolition of the existing buildings on the site with the exception of the scheduled parts of the Prince of Wales building and the Federal Street ‘halves’ of the two townhouse buildings (pictured, built in 1908) at 201-203 Federal Street. In 2015 consent was obtained to completely demolish the two  Federal Street buildings (R/LUC/2015/3925: reported on in my October 2015 Report to the Local Board). These buildings are not scheduled and are not identified in the Character Overlay. Despite my great personal disappointment in the demolition of these elegant buildings, we were not able to have input into that notification decision as there were no planning grounds on which to do so. I have been informed that they will be used as a night shelter for homeless women until they are demolished.

The Urban Design Assessment by Boffa Miskell concludes that:

‘The high quality building facades in general at all levels of the building and on all elevations that are well-articulated, with high-quality building materials that will result in the building perceived in the round with a desirable sense of depth, texture, variation and relief and an overall distinctive architectural form and character that will become associated with the aspirations and activities of the Auckland City Mission and the social roles the Mission fulfils in Auckland … The built form and massing of the proposal does result in some ‘overs and unders’ in relation to the building envelope controls of the Unitary Plan, but in so doing represents a highly site-specific response to context including the retention of the scheduled heritage building on site, and establishment of quality building frontages to Hobson and Federal Streets of contrasting height and presence appropriate to the differentiated width and streetscape qualities and character of these streets.’

I am particularly concerned about the protection and enhancement of The Prince of Wales Hotel, built in 1882, which is a Category B scheduled building in the Unitary Plan. Early design options considered for the redevelopment included a more comprehensive restoration of the Hobson Street façade of the building, including removal of plaster render and repair or replacement of the timber weatherboard cladding, as well as the reinstatement of ground floor window opening. Due to budget constraints, this option for the façade can no longer be delivered as part of the project. The existing façade is to be retained, made good and repaired.

The heritage assessment is positive and said that [italics added for emphasis]:

‘The proposed retention and ongoing use of the former Prince of Wales hotel as part of the Auckland City Mission development will have a positive effect on the heritage values of the place. The scheduled building, which is currently in a deteriorated condition, will be retained, and repair and maintenance work will enhance its appearance and durability … The proposed new development adjacent has been carefully designed to allow the historic building to be retained and appreciated three dimensionally. By creating a separation to the north and east of the historic building and the upper levels of the new building, the historic building can be read as a separate entity, and there is a transition in scale from the old to the new that reduces the potential dominance of a new taller building adjacent. The detail, form and pattern of the proposed new elevations relates appropriately to the level of detail evident on the historic Italianate façade. The proposal will generally have a positive effect on the heritage values of the place and will support and enhance its ongoing use.’

Posted in Resource Consents, Waitemata | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Valuation of Trees in Auckland

800px-PohutukawaCornwallis

Pōhutukawa at Cornwallis Beach. Photo credit: Ed323, Wikimedia Commons

In the course of reading a resource consent application for a tree removal recently, I came across the standard accepted method for assessing the value of trees in order to work out the cost of mitigation (i.e. what new trees or other plantings will be planted) in dollar terms. Having a professional interest in such things – I am a business broker as well as an elected member of Council – I am setting out the approach in this post.

Removal Costs are based on the current costs of tree removal incurred by Council including the physical removal of the tree and stump.

Amenity Costs

The following formula is used to assist with calculating the monetary amenity value of a tree.

Value (V) = Basic Value ($) x Species (S) x Aesthetics (A) x Locality (L) x Condition (C)

When young trees with less than a 6cm trunk diameter or less will be replaced by another tree, there will be no amenity value charge. The Auckland method is based on the method used by the City of Melbourne which was derived from the formula (by Dr. Peter Yau, 1990) of the Maurer-Hoffman Formula.

The basic monetary value of a tree is taken from the internationally accepted table of values devised by the American Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers and the International Society of Arboriculture, which in the base year 1988 was US$27 per square inch basal trunk area. When converted to a value corresponding to centimetres in trunk diameter at breast height (DBH) the Basic Monetary Value table has been updated to reflect more current monetary values.

Basic Value ($) is determined by matching the trunk diameter at breast height (DBH) with its corresponding base value:

Screen Shot 2018-07-05 at 19.00.01 Continue reading

Posted in Urbanism | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment