On May 10, 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.
“It’s not something that’s been done before and it’s a fairly novel approach to have a community work together to lead a precinct vision.”
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.
Bernard Orsman of the New Zealand Herald, reported on the 2014 meeting and wrote an in-depth piece. I was quoted as supporting intensification but also saying that resource consent applications that significantly exceed the development envelope set out in the District Plan should be publicly notified:
Waitematā Local Board member Vernon Tava says the extra height and density being granted for Great North Rd apartment buildings is a concern to the board.
“We have a contract with the community [for four storeys],” says Mr Tava, “and if [an apartment building] is outside of that it should be notified.”
He believes it’s still not too late to bring the parties together and come up with a “whole of area approach” for Great North Rd.