The property developer seeking to construct 71 apartments on land zoned for nine single houses on Sandspit Road has now appealed to the Environment Court against the decision to refuse his application for building consent.
His original application was opposed by 14 local residents, and by the Howick Local Board. Many more local residents opposed the Sandspit Road development but were not permitted to be included in the Hearings. The original application by Box Limited was for a so-called Integrated Residential Development.. Using this definition, the apartments could be constructed in a single house zone.
Hearings on the application took place over two days and were followed by an opportunity for the developer to respond to the issues raised by the residents. Key statements in the judgment now being challenged was that the application was non-compliant with the definition of an Integrated Residential Development; that it was contrary to the objectives and policies of the Auckland Unitary Plan; and that there were impacts on amenity value because of its bulk, length and scale.
Traffic and environmental concerns were also considered. Selwyn Pratt, one of the concerned residents, said: “The developer quotes no less than 34 objections to the Independent Hearings Commissioners decisions. Our view is that the original decisions by the expert Commissioners were entirely correct. We cannot believe they made this number of errors in their judgement. “But Auckland Council, and therefore ratepayers, will now have to invest significant funds to cover the cost of the appeal, as will local residents.” Another resident, Fiona Moran, said: “It is disappointing that having presented our detailed and evidence-based submissions at the hearings and having our conclusions accepted, we now have all the uncertainty, stress and additional costs that will be necessary to support council to defend the very well-argued decisions made by the independent hearings commissioners.”
Laurie Slee, chairperson of the Cockle Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association, said they would be keenly awaiting the outcome of the appeal.
“The development application, the decision, and the appeal should be of interest to all Auckland residents. If the appeal is successful it will remove protection from all Single House Zones throughout Auckland from intensification disguised as Integrated Residential Developments.
“The Hearings Commissioners have raised this concern and the importance of retaining public confidence in the safeguards provided by the Auckland Unitary Plan. “These safeguards risk being lost if the appeal is successful.
The appeal means additional costs and workloads for the small number of local residents permitted to be part of the original action.” The Times has contacted developer Box Property’s David Jans for comment.