Karori site fenced in by plan change

KATIE CHAPMAN
Last updated 15:01 13/09/2012
aharoni-std
FIGHTING BACK: Developer Eyal Aharoni is considering lodging a private district plan change for a Karori site where he plans to build a Mitre 10 Mega store.

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The Karori site where residents successfully fought a Mitre 10 Mega development could still become the home of a commercial development - but with limitations on the size and scale.

Wellington City Council's strategy and policy committee today agreed to put together a district plan change allowing business development on the site.

It follows a previous plan change which would have allowed a Mitre 10 Mega development at the site being overturned by the High Court, after the Creswick Valley Residents Association successfully argued there was a lack of notification to residents, as reported by the Dominion Post.

The developer, Eyal Aharoni, is considering an appeal against that decision, and is also considering lodging a private plan change for the site.

On Tuesday principal planning advisor Andrew Macleod told councillors Mr Aharoni's company Terrace Heights Holdings (THH) could lodge a private plan change if it found the council's suggested plan too limiting.

If the council got in first with its own plan change it would ensure residents were adequately consulted, and that limitations could be put on the size and scale of any development, he said.

Ahead of today's debate THH representative Andrew Monahan told councillors that a more restrictive approach to the site would not be welcomed by the company.

''We don't want to have a whole lot of restrictions on it that we didn't have [before].''

Sarah Holden from the residents association said they were ''sympathetic'' to the need for a development, but the council had to ensure that it was in keeping with the area.

Green MP Gareth Hughes spoke as a resident of the area, and said he supported the council taking a plan change.

''This way you're designing what works for this site, instead of what works for a particular company.''

Built environment portfolio leader Iona Pannett moved the council proceed with a plan change.

The residents and the company had been ''gracious'' with their involvement in the process so far, and the council would be able to ''strike a balance'' between the competing visions for the site.

''This is the right approach. It is our job to lead on land changes because we need to balance the competing views about the use of this land.''

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Other councillors agreed, saying it was vital that the council learnt from the mistakes of the previous process and kept the community involved throughout.

Jo Coughlan said it was highly likely that either the residents or the developer would be disappointed by the outcome of the process, but ''ultimately someone's probably going to be disappointed ... but hopefully they will feel they've been through a fair, transparent and robust process''.

Councillors voted unanimously to move ahead with the plan change, which will see the site at 55-85 Curtis St rezoned for business specific to that site, with provisions for height control on buildings and earthworks, consent controls on activities, and a requirement for urban design assessments.

The plan change could take until November to be finalised.

- The Dominion Post

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