Developer's plan sparks local board worries

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2013
REZONE
SIMON MAUDE

VACANT BLOCKS: Zoning rules for 9.2 hectares close to North Harbour Stadium and Westfield Mall need changing to kick-start development, developers say.

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A proposed major re-zoning is ringing alarm bells at the Upper Harbour Local Board and its members want the Auckland Council to listen.

Christine Rankin-MacIntyre challenged the board to assert itself.

"We should be making this decision. This is our area, this is our community."

Albany City Development Corporation has lodged a private plan change request with the Auckland Council seeking to build residential housing on Albany land zoned for business use.

Its application was brought to the board last Tuesday by council planner Ewen Patience.

The developers say the current rules waste the potential for their four blocks of land around Corban and Elliot Rose avenues and Don McKinnon Drive.

John Duthie, a planning consultant for the corporation, says the current rules get in the way of turning the land into a "genuine mixed-use precinct which helps support Albany's metropolitan area."

Councillor Margaret Miles says residents who move in next to businesses quickly forget who was there first.

"I have grave concerns about this. If you have residents living next to businesses it's a recipe for disaster, just like the Mon Desir in Takapuna," she says.

Once residential units, "gain a foothold in the area, they'll just grow like topsy," she says.

Albany's roading, transport and recreational infrastructure cannot accommodate extra residents, board members say.

Board chairman Brian Neeson says existing minimum parking requirements "are not good enough" to cope with the proposed changes.

But Mr Duthie says an extensive traffic study conducted by the company shows more housing will not clog-up local roads.

But the board worries that the Auckland Unitary Plan, the over-arching blueprint for greater Auckland development, will trump local boards' wishes.

"People think they're currently in heaven.

"They see the unitary plan as a descent into hell," Mr Neeson says.

However, sending a council planner to brief the board was a welcome gesture, signalling a more consultative approach, Mr Neeson says.

"They're taking us on their journey which is quite a nice change."

The board voted to lobby the Auckland Council for a greater say.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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