April 2019 Local Board Report

WLB logo croppedPurpose

This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-March to mid-April 2019 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 in person, along with Local Board Chair Pippa Coom, to the Hearings Panel for the Ferry Terminal and Queens Wharf resource consent on behalf of the Local Board on 28 March. Further details below in the Heritage & Planning portfolio report
  • A project manager has been appointed for the installation of the bollards in Saint Patrick’s Square
  • The liquor licence renewal for Plush karaoke bar at 59 Upper Queen Street has been declined by a panel of commissioners
  • 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’

Portfolio Report: Transport

Saint Patrick’s Square Bollards Re-Installation

Demolition work has begun on the building at the eastern end of the Cathedral.

A project manager has been appointed and they have asked Council CAD designers to check how tracking curves for a fire truck may impact on the plan to install the bollards at the rear of the cathedral. The current tracking design shows that they can re-install the bollards at their original locations. They are uncertain, however, on spacing. The original design shows 6 or more bollards at each location. That is more than necessary if the need for a removable bollard is included at each location. The current proposal works with four bollards at each of the locations; this includes one removable bollard for each location. This would provide a 3.5 metre space/gap if the removable bollard has been used. This uneven spacing may be a concern for our urban designers, so the team have decided to visit the site again on 12 April to discuss this matter and others such as how the placement will match the paving pattern. Once they have decided on the locations of the bollards, they will check if any additional paperwork is required and then install the bollards.

Portfolio Report: Heritage and 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.

Submission at Hearing for Queens Wharf and Ferry Terminal Modifications: 28 March 2019

BUN60327622 (CST60327623, DIS60327717). 85-89 Quay Street, Queens Wharf and water space of the Waitematā Harbour adjacent to the western side of Queens Wharf. To construct, operate and maintain six new ferry berths within the Downtown Ferry Basin (Piers A-F), undertake modifications to the existing ferry terminal building and historic shelter on Pier 1, modify existing areas of outdoor public space to the south and east of the Pier 1 terminal building, undertake modification to the Pier 2 terminal building, and remove existing Piers 3 and 4. The construction, establishment, operation and maintenance of Piers A-F will require the installation of a concrete piled breakwater located immediately adjacent to the west of Queens Wharf, the installation of reverse saw-tooth shaped pontoons, three gangways, three fixed shelter structures, piles, pile guard markers and fenders. Street furniture will be installed along Queens Wharf to demarcate pedestrian-only and vehicle zones between the western edge of Queens Wharf and the Cloud. Overall, the proposal is a discretionary activity.

The Local Board’s written submission on 17 December 2018 was as follows:-

Auckland Transport Notified Resource Consent application for 85-89 Quay Street, Queens Wharf and water space of the Waitematā Harbour adjacent to the western side of Queens Wharf. The views of the full Local Board have been sought of this feedback.

Positive Aspects

  • Spatial efficiency for anticipated increased customer patronage
  • Shelter from rain and sun
  • Lighting, particularly natural light
  • Connections to Queens wharf and city
  • Removal of the gates to the facilities
  • Improved wayfinding

We support the recommendations for conditions of consent in AEE report noting the need for smoothing the project to avoid disruption as much as possible.

Exposure to Elements

The Cloud is consented until 2022. This is a concern because if we are looking for cover and a travellator system for the elderly, frail, those with limited mobility and those laden with luggage and/or dependents then the Cloud does need to be in the frame as an interim existing structure. There is weather-proofing to embark and disembark all ferries but no cover from the elements from the ferry to the terminal. The estimated distance is 400 metres from the last ferry to the edge of Quay Street. That same walkway is deemed sufficient for the two-way foot traffic but for no other operational support for people to cover that 400 metres is the first haul into the downtown termini (it is expected that other walks will be of similar distance to reach connections). Patients and hospital visitors have to travel between the ferry and the bus service to the ADHB hospital bus and Greenlane outpatient centre. The Local Board is concerned that a possible lack of stability of the pontoons in rough weather will make it difficult for people with mobility challenges to negotiate the distance between their ferry and the wharf. We would like to see this dealt with in the approved consent. We understand that the ferry terminal will be one of five disaggregated transport centres: two bus termini, the train station, the airport light rail terminus, and the ferry terminal. None of these will be co-located. We won’t want the RC approved unless the applicant can first demonstrate that this will create seamless connectivity – if it goes ahead without that assurance the capital works may preclude the best operational plan being delivered to our ferry users and vice versa. For those with smaller less frequent ferry services then there will be much further to walk than currently. That’s no issue for most people but it’s a major impediment to the journey for the elderly, frail, disabled and those over-burdened with luggage and/or dependents. We would like to see, as part of the consent conditions, AT-guaranteed ways to move these people and their luggage between the five termini.

Heritage

This Heritage Impact Assessment identifies that the proposed works will affect Queens Wharf, which is a Category B Scheduled historic heritage place in the Auckland Unitary Plan. The relocation works will also take place adjacent to and within the extent of place of the Auckland Harbour Board Fence, which is a Category A scheduled historic heritage place. We request that the heritage aspects be vigorously protected; especially the following scheduled items:

  • Queens Wharf
  • The Ferry Shelter
  • The Ferry Building
  • The Public Shelters
  • The Auckland Harbour Board ‘Blue Fence’ and historic ‘Red Fence’

We support the retention of the double set of rail lines fixed into the proposed walkway for the full length of the adjacent wharf/ walkway access for ferry passengers but ask that their potential as a trip hazard be minimised.

Environmental

The Local Board are concerned about the impact of the piling and mooring dolphins including contaminants discharged into the Coastal Marine Area and request conditions to minimise these impacts.

I said the following at the hearing:

Our starting point is the impact of this and any other projects in this area on Queens Wharf and its surrounds.

This land, the ‘People’s Wharf’, was hard-won as a public space and forms a significant and valued part of the inner city’s open space. It is essential that this be kept as open and welcoming to people on foot as possible. It is not just a part of the city’s infrastructure, it is also the ‘front yard’ for many of our city centre residents.

We are concerned overall that there are numerous large projects on the same piece of real estate with little coordination between them.

We understand that the operation of ferries in the basin need to be streamlined – and that there is nowhere else for them to go outside the basin – but are concerned at the congestion of the surrounding environment and impacts on movement which have been raised with us by numerous constituents.

The Local Board have opposed the mooring dolphin at the north end of Queens Wharf due to its likely impacts on the use, pedestrian flow, and enclosure of public space. The Local Board particularly opposes the provision for cruise buses to drive around the full length of Queens Wharf, and while we are – of course – aware that this is part of another consent, this consent needs to be designed around that potential use.

While provision of adequate shelter is important it needs to be carefully balanced with heritage protection of the historic heritage place: any structures need to be sympathetic in the broader context and we would specifically like to see the protection of the double set of rail lines fixed into the proposed walkway for the full length of the wharf but also ask that their potential as a trip hazard be minimised.

There will be five disaggregated terminals (two bus termini, the train station, the light rail terminus and the ferry terminal): appears that the work will be done before there is an operational plan. We would like to see, as part of the consent conditions, AT-guaranteed ways to move these people and their luggage between the five termini.

Liquor Licensing Applications

New Off-Licence: Units 4-5/2-8 Anzac Avenue, Auckland Central (accessed from Beach Road) – Application Withdrawn

We objected to the application on the following grounds:
This is near Spark Arena, Countdown supermarket, several bars and nightclubs, and many other very close-by bottle shops. Given the high density of bottle shops in the area, it is reasonable to assume that these contribute to the amount of alcohol-related violence in the vicinity. It is clear from the volume of alcohol containers left in the area – including significant amounts of broken glass and damage to parked cars – that the CBD alcohol consumption ban is routinely flouted. It is the view of the Local Board that the effects on amenity and good order are more than minor (s 105(1)(h) Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (“the Act”)). However, the concentration of bottle shops is not yet so high that the committee could reasonably find that, as per s 105(1)(i)(i) of the Act, that the area is so badly affected already by existing outlets that the area would not be affected by another.

The Local Board has received numerous complaints from local residents about the negative effects on amenity and public order in recent times and they are generally opposed to new licences being granted to bottle shops in the area.

This application has been withdrawn.

‘Plush’ Licence Renewal Declined

59 Upper Queen Street, Newton. After years of objections led by the Newton ResidentsBusiness (NRB) group, the liquor licence renewal for the Plush karaoke bar has been declined for renewal. The Local Board was happy to offer its support to the NRB being recognised as a community group with standing in the matter and with assisting them in clarifying the interaction of legislative and bylaw regimes with respect to liquor outlets and the behaviour of patrons outside them.

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 and can also comment on the substantive matters of the application. The input of the Local Board is not binding on the commissioner or hearings panel making the decision but we are able to appear at notified hearings to speak on behalf of the Local Board. This is not treated as a submission for the purposes of the Resource Management Act but it is given weight by a hearings panel or commissioner according to the merit of the arguments made.

Significant Resource Consent Matters

Seismic Strengthening and Tree Removal at University of Auckland Student Union Building

LUC60336361, LUC60336362. Land use consent for stage 2 of seismic strengthening to the Category B-scheduled Student Union Building, internal & external modifications to a scheduled historic heritage extent of place, and associated comprehensive development signage. The application involves removal of building B312B which is an annex to building B312A, forming a part of the original Student Union complex and associated modifications to B312A which is located within a scheduled historic heritage extent of place. The application also includes the removal of six trees (two being street trees in Princes Street). Discretionary activity consent overall is required for modifications to a building located within a heritage extent of place for seismic strengthening; and additions/alterations to a building in the Learning Precinct not otherwise provided for; and the removal of trees within the heritage extent of place overlay. I’ve reviewed the plans and AEE (assessment of environmental effects) and – given the need for the seismic strengthening, the quality of the design work (including its consistency with the original design), and the poor condition and placement of the trees to be removed – don’t see the need for Local Board input on this application.

New 11-Storey, 190-Room Hotel on Corner of Hobson and Nelson Streets

161-169 Hobson Street, City. LUC60335778. Demolition of two existing commercial office and retail buildings occupying the site and redevelopment for hotel use and retail activity. The proposal consists of an 11-storey hotel building with 190 rooms distributed over 10 levels plus a ground level with restaurant/bar, kitchen, reception, meeting room lounge and other ancillary hotel facilities over a single basement providing 4 carparks, 14 bicycle parks and further ancillary hotel facilities. The proposal exceeds the maximum allowable gross floor area of 4,883m2 by a factor of 1.07:1 which is approximately 871m2. Overall resource consent is required for a non-complying activity. No input offered by the Local Board for this application.

New 11-storey Student Accommodation Building Fronting onto Upper Queen Street and Backing onto the Symonds Street Cemetery

6-8 Upper Queen Street, Newton. LUC60335579, DIS60335580. Resource consent is sought to construct a new 11-storey student accommodation building which fronts onto Upper Queen Street and backs onto the Symonds Street Cemetery. The building complies with the site’s maximum height limit of 32.6m and will have a total gross floor area of 8161.41m2 and floor area ratio (FAR) of 6.94:1. It is also noted that the subject site is a non-contributing site located within the Karangahape Road Historic Heritage Area.  Consent is sought for the demolition of the existing building within the site; the construction of a new building; the exceedance of the basic FAR of the site (4:1) where the bonus features provided do not meet the site’s maximum total FAR (6:1); infringements to the site’s maximum total FAR (6:1); infringement to the minimum floor to floor height; infringement to the maximum 14m building frontage height; earthworks within the Historic Heritage Overlay, and earthworks associated with contaminated land and on a site subject to the NESCS. The proposal requires non-complying activity resource consent. No input offered by the Local Board for this application.

Container/Bar in Aotea Square

Aotea Square, 299 Queen Street, Auckland Central.  LUC60333892. Application for the container café/bar that has been consented temporarily in the Square, while the Aotea Centre is being refurbished, to be consented on a permanent basis. Given the significance of this space in the context of the city centre, its centrality to the civic and cultural life of the city, and the clearly expressed concerns of the public that commercialisation and/or enclosure of this space is to be kept to a minimum, the Waitematā Local Board submitted to the Commissioner deciding notification that this application is of high public interest and should be publicly notified.

The special circumstances are:

  • the significance of the space: Aotea Square is the only large plaza space in the central city; it is the premier civic space and the site of any significant protest, rally, etc. held in the city
  • the fact the proposal closes off a part of this significant space
  • the Local Board have heard time and again from the public that they want public space to be maximised and not impinged upon by additional installations or structures unless they are seasonal, temporary and make a contribution to the space, e.g. the Spiegeltent
  • the Local Board are also concerned with commercialisation of public space and generally resist this unless a strong case can be made that the commercial aspect will make a positive contribution to the space by enhancing the public’s enjoyment.

Other Consents

  • 15A Ayr Street, Parnell. LUC60334577. New dwelling in SCA. Earthworks and landscaping. Application for a new (contemporary) dwelling on land already subdivided behind 15 Ayr Street utilising an existing vehicle crossing and access. Reasons for consent relate to a new building within a special character area overlay, height in relation to boundary, building coverage and yard setbacks, earthworks, parking and stormwater. AEE and plans forwarded to Parnell Community Committee for their input.
  • 35 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn. LUC60334955. Removal of existing dwelling, replacement with a 3-storey building to house 4 apartments. Infringements to HIRB and AHIRB, yards and building coverage (over by 1%). The application and plans have been forwarded to the Grey Lynn Residents’ Association for their input: no objections were raised except on the grounds of aesthetic considerations. The Local Board had no further input.
  • 85-89 Quay Street, Auckland Central. CST60335784, DIS60335785, LUC60335786, WAT60335787,  ‘Quay Street Enhancements’ project, comprising streetscape upgrades between Lower Hobson Street and Commerce Street and re-alignment of the Tangihua St Intersection. The proposed streetscape works will reduce general traffic lanes along Quay Street to two (one in an eastern and one in a westerly direction). Two bus lanes will be provided between Lower Hobson Street and Lower Albert Streets (providing a total of four traffic lanes through this section block). A bi-directional cycle lane will be provided along the northern side of Quay Street.  A continuous pedestrian promenade will be provided along the northern edge of Quay Street. This will comprise areas for pedestrian movement, as well as planting/trees, outdoor dining and occupation and street furniture. Likewise, a multiuse pedestrian zone will be provided on the southern side of Quay Street, comprising areas for pedestrian movement, as well as planting/trees, areas for outdoor dining and occupation. Lighting and street furniture will be provided throughout. Lighting will comprise both in ground lighting and street lighting (11m and 12m high poles) with 9m high traffic poles proposed at intersections. Street furniture will comprise a range of bespoke and modular street furniture, including fixed and moveable seats, bike racks, bollards, rubbish bins and way finding signage (among others). Extensive planting will be provided throughout, with planting to incorporate the relocation of existing street trees. New paving will also be laid throughout.
  • 5-7 Albert Street, Auckland Central. LUC60335900. Demolish the existing building. The proposal involves the demolition of the existing three level commercial building on the site comprising ground floor retail, and commercial parking for up to 118 vehicles (with access from Federal Street). The building was altered some years ago to accommodate the vehicle parking and this resulted in a two storey vehicle access ramp being constructed that overhangs the podium level of the adjacent West Plaza building to the north, located at 3 Albert Street. The vehicle access ramp is supported by structural steel beams that are connected to the podium level of the West Plaza building. This building is a Category B-scheduled historic heritage place. As the building is currently subject to a lease, a specific date for demolition has not been determined. Resource consents are required for the demolition of building and modifications of a scheduled historic heritage place. Overall resource consent is required for a restricted discretionary activity. The Local Board did not have input into this consent.
  • 58 Albert Street, Auckland Central. TRE60335848. Removal of three street trees. Consent is ongoing, awaiting asset owner approval.  May require a s127 variation of consent as the trees are subject to conditions of consent relating to the adjacent development (LUC60312611). Negotiation between applicant and landowner is ongoing, once resolved will be forwarded to the DC for a decision.  Officer support depends largely on the outcome of the landowner consent deliberations so this is a watching brief.
  • 89 Saint Marys Road, Ponsonby. TRE60335782. Removal of a mature Pohutukawa tree located within 150 metres of mean high water springs to provide adequate daylight for existing dwelling and future developments. I do not support consent for the removal of this tree, but have yet to determine the best way to proceed. They Council planners do not have delegation to refuse consent. The Local Board has submitted for public notification of this consent.
  • 44-58 Liverpool Street, Auckland Central. LUC60336096. Two new dwellings. The application is for two additional residential units within a currently vacant ground floor space – a one bedroom unit with a floor area of 42m² and a two bedroom unit with a floor area of 61m². The overall design of the building will be maintained with only minor alterations to the windows for each unit, the existing ranch sliders will be replaced by a window. The existing access, parking areas and other levels of the building will remain unchanged. No car park spaces will be allocated to the units.
  • 4 Brown Street, Ponsonby. LUC60336086. Proposed alteration to existing building, amendments to carpark building. This application has two parts, first a new consent to insert a window into the existing building fronting Brown Street. This requires restricted discretionary consent as an external change to a building in a special character area – business. The second part is a variation to the original consent for this building for internal layout changes as well as external changes, including a balcony along the alleyway between  the existing and new building. The building otherwise keeps the same footprint. This requires discretionary consent as a variation. The Local Board did not have input into this application.
  • St Patrick’s Square, Auckland Central. TRE60336185. Removal of one pear tree (over 4m tall). This seven year-old tree stands in front of the development site for the Indigo development at 51-53 Albert Street. The applicant will plant a 5 year-old replacement tree of the same time and undertake its care and maintenance. I have informed Cathedral management and the head of the two local residents’ groups and sought their input. They have responded with the suggestion that the tree be relocated elsewhere in the square and that the new tree be planted in the same spot from which the older one has been moved. I have passed this feedback on to the planner and the local constituents have engaged with them to suggest a solution.

About Vernon Tava

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