This report covers my Waitematā Local Board Activities in mid-July to mid-August 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.
- 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
Local Board Chair, Pippa Coom, writes a very comprehensive report on transport in her monthly Chair’s Report. I refer the reader there for detail on the work of the Transport Portfolio.
Portfolio Report: Heritage and Planning
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.
Liquor Licensing Applications
There were no new, off-licence liquor licence applications this month in the Central alcohol licencing area that the Local Board objected to.
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
Mixed-use apartment development, 339-361 Great North Road, Grey Lynn (Arch Hill Caltex site)
There are two consents lodged, one a variation and the other a new consent relating to an application approved in 2016 as R/LUC/2016/4192 under the Special Housing Area rules hence proceeding automatically on a non-notified basis. The approved consent is for a six-level apartment building (plus basement) comprising 90 dwellings, ground floor retail units and communal areas and two-level basement parking, storage and services was in Mixed-use apartment development, comprising two levels of basement carparking, refuse and storage.
Variation (LUC60126238-A WAT60152236-A) Consent is sought: To enable the two approved apartment buildings to be constructed and/or owned separately;
For design changes to the layout of the laneway and podium court yards;
For design changes to the approved car park; to separate the lobby access to the upper floor apartments and the ground floor café/restaurant for Building B. The s92 process is nearing completion with what I believe to be final confirmation on several groundwater matters associated with the proposed staging component. Subject to receiving confirmation on the remaining groundwater matters, officers will be recommending that the decision maker approve the variation on a non-notified basis.
New Consent (LUC60340118): this proposal is substantially similar to the Existing Consent (as per the proposed Variation which is nearing completion), with the only differences being the following changes to Building B: The number of storeys will increase from 6 to 7 storeys, while retaining the approved maximum building height. Note: the height of the upper level balcony will be 500mm higher than the upper level balcony of the Existing Consent (RL84.55m vs RL84.05m). Five additional dwellings will be provided, comprising two x 1-bedroom apartments and three x 2-bedroom apartments. The overall number of dwellings in Building B will increase from 26 to 31. The floor to floor height of the ground floor will be decreased from 4.5m to 3.8m. The floor to floor height of the upper floors will be decreased from 3.7m to 3.2m. The application is currently being reviewed by Council specialists. To date, only a contamination response has been received which, according to the processing planner, confirms there are no changes under this application that warrant further review, assessment or conditions from what has already occurred under the previous consenting processes.
New public space area between Princes Wharf, Pier 2 and the Ferry Building on Quay Street, Auckland Central
BUN60338600. The Local Board opted not to have formal input into the application as we have been part of the process of the development of the proposal have had the opportunity to have input throughout the process.
5-Year Consent for Container/Bar in Aotea Square Granted
Aotea Square, 299 Queen Street, Auckland Central. LUC60333892. Application for the container café/bar that has been consented temporarily in the Square (20 December 2018, LUC60328707), while the Aotea Centre was 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. Cr Lee also wrote to support our view.
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.
Following our input, RFA (Auckland Live) wrote a response including some amendments to the proposal to do with reducing the extent of outside seating when the bar is not being used in conjunction with events and putting up a sign saying that it is a public space. They didn’t bother referring the amended proposal back to us ‘as it is considered that their view of the proposal remains unchanged.’
A duty commissioner granted the consent on a non-notified basis on 10 July 2019.
Large, curved digital billboard on Ports of Auckland land at the corner of Tamaki Drive and Solent Street, facing back toward Parnell
LUC60342251. Application to establish a new curved, digital free-standing billboard measuring 13.9m long by 3.29m high. This would be a hugely visually significant structure and will alter the fabric of an important waterfront junction point as well as being visible – particularly at night from a large number of houses in eastern Parnell. The Local Board has requested public notification.
Construction of a new building to include food and beverage activities to replace the former N. Cole building at 14 Madden Street, Wynyard Quarter
LUC60342653. The application to demolish the original N. Cole building was processed in 2015 as R/LUC/2015/4326. The claim was made that the proposed building would replicate the appearance of the front and side facades of the existing character building with contemporary elements to the rear of the building. The work had already been substantially approved in consents R/LUC/2015/2214 and R/REG/2015/2352, processed in June-July 2015 for the demolition of buildings on site and the partial retention (i.e. of the façade), re-location and reconstruction of the building known as the N. Cole Building which will be relocated approximately 19 metres east of its current location. The building was not scheduled but was identified as character contributing. The proposed new commercial office building will include two below ground basement levels, 85 parking spaces and 8675m² of GFA. The relocated and rebuilt character building will provide a further 295m² of GFA for food and beverage activities. Regional consent matters include groundwater take and diversion in order to facilitate the basement car parking. We asked for public notification of the consent variation. We were comfortable with the partial demolition and retention of the original frontage of the building as decided in the previous consents. However, the variation sought to build a replica instead is not acceptable to the Local Board. This is one of the few heritage buildings that has been kept in the Wynyard Quarter and it is not acceptable to have an ersatz version built in its place. The significance of this application and its effect on the heritage coherence of the Quarter is such that it may plausibly be considered to be a special circumstances matter under s95A(4) RMA requiring notification. The decision was made for the application to proceed on a non-notified basis on 5 November with the following reasoning from the planner responsible:
‘The building is not scheduled under the District Plan, it is only a character building. The District Plan specifically contemplates demolition of character buildings and based on the criteria of the Plan it was considered that a replica replacement of the front façade was appropriate in this instance. It was considered there are no special circumstances … due to the building not being scheduled, that it has been substantially altered over time such that only aspects of the front façade retain the original character and that these details can be fully replicated such that the character of the building currently offers to the streetscape can be maintained and enhanced (through only reinstating the original detailing).’
The new application drawings by Warren Mahoney puport to do this as follows:
which seems like a long way from what would be a plain-language understanding of what is meant by a ‘replica reinstatement of the front façade.’
Carlaw Park Student Accommodation Complex, University of Auckland, at 28-38 Stanley Street, Parnell
LUC60342865. This application infringes the maximum height controls for the area, upper floor setback, wind, and tower dimension. The proposed student accommodation will be maintained and operated by the University of Auckland.
- 72-78 Victoria Street West, Auckland Central. LUC60340844. Additions and alterations to the Skycity casino building, including an addition to Level H6, reconfiguration of levels H5 & H6 and alterations to the H6 roof and façade. An 80m2 addition to level H6 at the eastern portion of the existing building to accommodate the proposed elevator extension;
Alterations to the existing roof, including the following:
A new lift over-run shaft to accommodate the proposed elevator extension to level H6; Six new glazed skylights and two new open roof skylights along the eastern portion of the roof; and a new membrane roof over the proposed addition to level H6; Alterations to the exterior building façade at level H6, including the following:
A new glazed façade along the extent of the proposed addition;
Enclosing the existing semi-closed glazed balustrade along the eastern façade and replacing with a new aluminium balustrade; Enclosing the existing semi-closed balustrade along the western façade with a new glazed façade; and the provision of an extract louvre on the western façade.
- 85-89 Quay St, Auckland Central. LUC60341186. Auckland Transport are proposing to relocate the World War I Memorial Beacon, a Category B Scheduled Heritage Feature. It is also proposed to restore the metal work and lamp on top of the beacon that have been removed in the past. The proposed works are part of AT’s Downtown Infrastructure Development Programme. While not its original location, the proposed location would be reminiscent of its original shoreline setting by restoring its visual connection. I consulted with Cr Mike Lee who is strongly supportive of this proposal and particularly keen to see the metalwork restored on top of the pillar. The Local Board did not ask for notification of this proposal given its historical significance and support from our councillor.
- 42 Sunny Brae Crescent, Westmere. TRE60341081. Removal of a Taiwanese street tree for a new vehicle crossing.
- 38 Albany Road, Herne Bay. LUC60341311. Renovation and alterations to existing character dwelling. Including the excavation of side path and addition of windows to northern side of dwelling, addition of new privacy screen to northern side of dwelling, new swimming pool and associated timber decking to rear of site and removal of low planter adjacent to driveway replaced with new garden on grade.
- 124 Halsey Street, Auckland Central. LUC60341399, WAT60341640. This proposal involves development of the subject site with new commercial buildings with Precinct being the applicant and a s127 variation to the underlying Integrated Development Plan resource consent (R-VCC-2013-4343-4 and LUC60107815-E) to be progressed with Panuku Development Auckland Limited as the applicant.
- 82 Gladstone Road, Parnell. LUC60341696. The applicant proposes a new 77m2 office addition to the existing three-storey building.
- 52/210-218 Victoria Street West, Auckland Central. LUC60341698. Resource consent required for modifications of a scheduled historic heritage place.
- 4 Partridge Street, Grey Lynn. LUC60341633. Exterior alterations to building in residential zoned area with Special Character Areas – Residential Isthmus A Overlay.
- 141-177 Halsey Street, Auckland Central. CST60341916. Establish a temporary tower crane for the Emirates New Zealand Team during the America’s Cup. The Local Board requested public notification on the basis of special circumstances: our view is that any significant structure in the coastal area – even a temporary one and, yes, even one to do with the America’s Cup – should be publicly notified.
- 1 Parliament Street, City. LUC60342840. Application to carry out internal modification to combine two existing apartments on level 16 into one apartment, as well as carrying out external alteration to enclose the existing balcony space, which will exceed the MTFAR by an additional 57.7sqm, as well as exceeding the maximum building height of 50m by 2.6m (however, please note that the existing building has exceeded the maximum building height already). The Local Board did not have input into this application.
- 131 Queen Street, Auckland Central. LUC60342651. To undertake alterations and additions including signage to the existing historic heritage building. The proposal is to undertake external and internal alterations to the existing heritage building at 131 Queen Street in Auckland Central to enable the building to be utilised by new commercial tenants. The building is the former Milne & Choyce Department Store with which many Aucklanders will remember. The basement and ground floors are proposed to be upgraded to provide a number of retail tenancies. The final configuration of these will be determined once leases with tenants have been confirmed. The building elevations will be refurbished as addressed below, and a new lift will be installed for the upper floors. The existing carparking area on Level 1 will be removed, however servicing access will be retained from the Mills Lane frontage of the site. Levels 1-8 will be tenanted by ‘WeWork’ to open their first New Zealand co-working space. WeWork currently operate 280 locations in 86 cities across 32 countries since its founding in 2010 in New York, and many of their operations are within character and historic buildings. The main external alterations comprise new shop frontages and works to the canopy, including the removal of the existing barrel vault marking the entry to the building. This is not an original feature. The Council’s built heritage team and Heritage New Zealand (HNZ) have been closely involved in design development. HNZ has given its written approval to the proposal.
- 171 Hobson Street Auckland Central. LUC60342867. Install two portrait-orientated wall-mounted digital billboards to the front façade. The Local Board requested limited notification to the apartments opposite as we have know that these signs are very bright and have caused issues for residents in close proximity to them.
- 81 Remuera Road, Remuera. LUC60343069. Construction of new 7 level building containing commercial unit and 39 new dwellings (may also be used as visitor accommodation units). Given that this application was on the border of the Waitematā and Orakei Local Board areas, I took the unusual step of seeking input from the Chair of the Orakei Local Board and asking them to solicit input from their local heritage group. We requested public notification and questioned whether the consent should be approved at all. In the process I also passed on the input of Remuera Heritage, Parnell Heritage and the Reverend of the neighbouring church.