March 2017 Local Board Member Report

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This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities during March 2017 as Lead of the Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio; co-holder of the Transport portfolio; Local Board representative on the Parnell Business Association; and member of the Auckland Domain Committee.

Executive Summary

  • Facilitator selected for Reimagining Great North Road community-led plan.
  • Formulating a consistent approach to digital billboards – see Consents section below for more detail
  • 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’

Comments

Reimagining Great North Road Community-Led Plan

On May 10 2016, the Waitematā Local Board resolved unanimously to approve my motion to allocate $10,000 from its Community Empowerment Fund to the Grey Lynn Residents Association (GLRA) to lead a community-led precinct vision for the area of Great North Road between Newton Road and Surrey Crescent (Resolution WTM/2016/67). The GLRA will work together with the Grey Lynn Business Association, Arch Hill Residents Association and Grey Lynn 2030 to deliver the plan.

This project has its origin in a fraught public meeting held at Trades Hall on Great North Road in late-2014.  A packed hall of local residents, already incensed by the controversial Bunnings development, expressed their dismay that buildings in the area were being approved at six storeys when the District Plan envelope is set at four storeys (this is due to the operation of the Resource Management Act rather than any particular Council Policy) and a strong concern about the effect of shading on the general area that would be posed by taller buildings.

It was abundantly clear at the Trades Hall meeting that in absence of good information, people will generally assume the worst. For development of any scale to fulfil its potential and contribute to the area, community consensus needs to be reached. Despite the obvious potential of this area for intensive urban residential development, Council planners have not nominated it as a strategic priority beyond supporting it being made a Special Housing Area.

In this planning vacuum, I decided that it was time for the Local Board and the community to show some leadership. The Heritage, Urban Design and Planning portfolio of the Local Board, at my direction, used hours allocated from the Built Environment Unit (BEU), a now defunct part of Council’s Design Office, to carry out an urban planning and design study on the area that is now defined as the area of the study. The study defined the area of the project and was entitled ‘Re-Imagining Great North Road’.

Local architect, Daniel Marshall – who fortuitously had a european intern who was highly trained in urban computer-aided modeling – provided a comprehensive urban and shading study, building on the work of the BEU. The two documents will form the foundation of the community-led project and provide a strong evidential basis for its work.

The nature of urban development under the Resource Management Act is that resource consent applications are approved on a case-by-case basis without a consideration of the larger area if there is no precinct plan. Furthermore, applicants have a first-mover advantage and local residents (and the Local Board for that matter) have a largely reactive role. In any event, the Local Board can only provide non-binding input on whether an application should be notified to the public. We are eager to create a document that is the genuine, widely-consulted and coherent view of the community. This will be of great assistance to elected members, developers, planners and residents.

I am excited about the next stage, which is creating the scoping and terms of the project, and look forward to seeing a genuinely community-led process. From there, the Local Board’s Strategic Broker will work with the Council departments and CCOs, particularly Auckland Transport and Panuku Development Auckland, to discuss with the community group what Council has planned for the area and will form the basis of an extensive community-led consultation. It is my hope that this process will form a template for future community-led planning throughout the Auckland region and, perhaps, beyond.

This year I have been joined by Member Davey on this project, whose training and experience in urban planning disciplines will be very useful. Following the lack of response to the call last year for a facilitator for the research phase, the organising group published a new request on 7 March 2017 with much more success this time. They have whittled the list of applicants down to 3 and interviewed them. They will be confirmed shortly.

Portfolio Report: Heritage, Urban Design & Planning

Portfolio Responsibilities

Heritage, Urban Design and Planning covers a mix of regulatory and non-regulatory activities including city planning and growth, heritage protection, urban design requirements, Local Board resource consent application input, and bylaw development, including advocacy to achieve local priorities relating to heritage preservation, good urban design and spatial planning. Regulatory and policy oversight of local liquor licensing, signs & billboards, and brothels.

Resource Consents

The portfolio request information on resource consent applications of interest as a matter of course. The Local Board can have input into the decision on public notification of a resource consent application but not into the substantive matters of the application. The input of the Local Board is not binding on the commissioner making the decision. Nonetheless, on some significant applications we will include substantive comments along with our views on notification.

Digital Billboards

The recent proliferation of digital billboards in the city has met some resistance from residents of the city centre and inner suburbs. Digital billboards are relatively new technology and were not anticipated by the current bylaw. As such,  the current bylaw illumination threshold (800cds/m2) is based on the illumination of a static billboard generally during the hours of darkness when surrounding ambient lighting level is relatively low. However, for images on an LED billboard to be visible during normal day light hours the only option is to increase the intensity of the image above 800 cds/m2. The Unitary Plan does acknowledge and provide for digital billboards and enables (among other things) a maximum luminance of 5000cds/m2. However, the consent conditions generally include a review clause whereby the Bylaws team can ask for the luminance to be lowered if it is found to be causing a nuisance to residents, businesses or traffic. I request such clauses to be added to all new consents. This will be a watching brief for me this term.

  • R/LUC/2017/742, ROAD Khyber Pass Road Newmarket. Application to convert the existing static billboard to LED with changeable images. The size of the billboard will remain unchanged. The applicant proposes to comply with all lighting, transition time and image standards.
  • R/LUC/2017/703, 290 Parnell Road, Parnell. Application to convert the existing static billboard to LED with changeable images. Proposal to replace the existing 2-sided static billboard with a single sided LED billboard facing north (down) Parnell Rise. The site is utilised as a Wilson Parking area, and is zoned Business – Town Centre Zone with a Special Character Areas Overlay. Overall the signage area will decrease as it is going from 2-sided to single sided, however the signage area facing north will increase. Current: 6m x 3m (x2 faces). Proposed: 7.7m x 2.6m (x1 face).
  • R/LUC/2017/679, ROAD Remuera Road, Newmarket. Application to convert the existing static billboard to LED with changeable images. Proposal to replace the existing back lit static billboard with a LED billboard. The proposal will utilise the existing structure and will reduce the overall display area by 4m2(from 39m2 to 34m2). The site is part of the Railway Corridor and is owned by Kiwi Rail, being zoned Strategic Transport Corridor Zone with a rail designation over the site.

General Consents

  • R/LUC/2017/861, 1 Burton Street, Grafton. Application for a parking shortfall of more than 6 parking spaces at 1 Burton Road. Consent is to operate a small commercial car park of 27 spaces, making use of an existing businesses parking. No comment from Local Board.
  • R/LUC/2017/741, 24 Kingsley St, Westmere. GRANTED on 29 March 2017. The proposal involves removal of an existing dwelling on the site to enable construction of a new two-storey dwelling with associated swimming pool and fencing within the Residential-Mixed Housing Urban Zone. The proposal infringes the height in relation to boundary infringements along the eastern and western boundaries (written approval from affected persons were obtained), fencing over permitted height, maximum width of vehicle crossing above permitted width and gradient of vehicle access.
  • R/LUC/2017/51/1, 9 Waitoa Street, Parnell. Proposed works for this site include a new extension to the existing living and kitchen area, over the existing deck, and the conversion of a carport into a garage in the front yard. Heritage has had a look at the application and is supportive of all the works except for the garage in the front yard. The applicants are currently amending their plans regarding the garage.
  • R/LUC/2017/868, 125 John Street, Ponsonby. Proposal to construct a minor dwelling at the rear of the site. The minor dwelling will be 2-storeys high and will have a gross floor area of 73sqm. It infringes the standards for minor dwelling, yards and height to boundary. Written approval has been sought from the school at the rear. It has been sent to Heritage for review and we are currently waiting for comments.
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About Vernon Tava

Business broker, elected member of Auckland Council. Focused on sustainability. Lives in Auckland, New Zealand.
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