Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Too cosy for comfort–seven dwellings in place of one!

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Cosy Place residents in Howick are upset and angry that they are yet another casualty of the Unitary Plan.

Residents have been fighting to stop the building of seven two-bedroom dwellings in the place of one.

They have lost the battle.

Cosy Place residents, off Union Rd, were first alarmed when they heard there were plans to build eight dwellings at the 14 Cosy Place property that has access through a shared driveway.

Neighbours were shocked to hear that the owner had sold the property to a developer and not an individual house owner.

In December, the house at 14 Cosy Place was demolished, with major excavation works starting in December and going on in January.

Zan Iqbal, a resident of 16 Cosy Place, was even more upset when her 85-year-old father developed a severe rash, skin irritation and breathing problems allegedly due to asbestos content found during the demolition and stirred soil dust from diggings.

Strong winds that allegedly blew the toxic stuff over to neighbouring properties made things worse for her elderly parents.

“They didn’t take proper safety measures for the disposal of asbestos and left approximately 12 plastic bags of asbestos over the weekend with no warning tape or any formal communication. It was a huge health risk for all of us,” she said.

After doing some spadework Zan discovered that resource consent from Auckland Council had not been approved.

“The right of way just cannot serve eight more families.  Even if they have just two cars per family, there is no question of finding parking considering people living in the cul-de-sac are struggling to find parking for their vehicles.

“The project of multiple units is totally inappropriate. This probably was the reason that the project of eight units was stalled due to objections raised by the residents to Auckland Council staff and contractors.”

At that time Zan was appreciative of council staff including the compliance response specialist, John Manuel-Barbarich, and relationship manager, Manesha Morarji, who was helpful.

“I would advise everyone to know your rights,” she said.

“The positive outcome was that the developer was called by the council and asked to stop work.”

Zan’s father, Mohammed Iqbal who has lived in Cosy Place for 50 years said he was glad the Council put a stop to the building activity.

“I am all for progress but this is ridiculous

“Both 14 and 16 and 16a Cosy Place are served by a long right of way that can only serve a limited number of residences,” he said.

In mid-January a warning letter was sent to the developer.

“The plot of land cannot have more than two small houses, so that it can serve the right of way and not cause traffic problems in the cul-de-sac,” said Iqbal.

The neighbours submitted a petition to the mayor.

Adrian Wilson Team Manager Compliance Investigations said, “On January 15 we instructed the owners of 14 Cosy Place that all works needed to stop until they received the appropriate resource consent. We attended the site again on February 10 and discovered the site was secure and no work was being undertaken, making it clear the property owner was complying and we did not need to issue an abatement notice. We issued a warning letter to the owner instead, reiterating the need to obtain the right resource consent before starting work again. If the owner fails to comply further action will be taken.”

However, at the time of going to press the excavation work at the site has begun again.

Residents are still upset that the developer EA Civil has been given the resource consent for amended plans to build seven, two-bedroom units instead of eight. A report from a Traffic Consultant gives detailed answers to the questions put forth by the council.

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown says he is pleased to see that this development is slightly smaller than what was first proposed.

“However there are still significant issues which are unaddressed such as the impact that significant intensification like this will have on things like the lack of off-street car parking and local infrastructure. Auckland Council continues to believe people moving into these new developments will all take the bus and only own one car.

“The proposed development at Cosy Place is another example of the problems with the Unitary Plan. Instead of intensification being focussed around key transport networks, we are seeing extreme housing intensification is being proposed in suburban communities without any regard for the character of the community, on-street car parking, stormwater and other infrastructure needs.”

The Times is attempting to contact the developer.


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