View-blocking complex ruled too tall for Napier

Last updated 05:00 23/07/2014
Napier apartment block
TOO HIGH: How the proposed five-storey apartment block in Napier’s Marine Parade would look. The application to build the block has been declined, though the applicant has been told a shorter building might be acceptable.

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An application to build a five-storey apartment block on Napier's Marine Parade has been declined because of its effects on neighbours' views, but a hearings commissioner says a shorter building may be acceptable.

Commissioner Michael Garland yesterday released his decision on an application by Lotus (Marine Parade) Ltd to build the apartment block at the foot of Bluff Hill, opposite the Ocean Spa complex.

The company has bought four properties at the foot of Bluff Hill, including the historic Soldiers' Club. It planned to remove buildings on the other three properties, restore the historic building, and erect a 46-metre-long and 16.8m-high building containing 21 apartments.

The site is inside the Napier Hill character zone, where buildings must not be higher than 8m.

Napier City Council's reasons for opposing the development included its impact on neighbouring properties, the surrounding area, traffic and footpath users and the failure to provide suitable space for those who would occupy the building.

At a hearing this month submissions by residents of Seaview Terrace said the building would have a dramatic impact on their properties and would block large parts of their sea views.

The applicant's lawyer, John Maassen, argued that interruption of views could not be regarded as an adverse effect and was rarely treated as such where they were not wholly interrupted.

Garland found that, although the application did not meet all requirements of the District Plan, it had beneficial aspects. But he felt the applicant had underestimated the effect on views from Seaview Terrace, which he said would be "significant and very palpable".

"There is no question in my mind that the site lends itself to development for multi-unit residential development at a reasonable scale", Garland said, and there was also no doubt a case could be made for exceeding the 8m height limit.

"While it is difficult to say what level of bulk and height would be acceptable, it seems to me that something of the order of 12m in height would be much more acceptable."

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