A council that granted resource consent for a residential care facility for the mentally ill failed to properly consult neighbours, a High Court judicial review was told.
The development, which would be accessed from Chaucer Rd and Paradise Rd, Napier, was opposed by some residents, who say it failed to address traffic and design requirements set out in the Napier City Council's own district plan.
In the High Court at Napier yesterday the residents' lawyer, Martin Williams, told Justice Ailsa Duffy the council had wrongly considered the proposal a "controlled activity", meaning it was required to grant consent.
The application by Whatever It Takes Trust Inc was lodged in late February. An altered application was lodged on March 7 last year.
The trust planned to build seven units on land accessible by both roads. Neighbours say they knew nothing of the proposal until earthworks started.
Compounding matters was the council's decision on March 3 to notify a Napier Hill Character Zone plan change that would mean multi-unit developments in the area were no longer controlled activities.
Mr Williams said this plan change had been signalled two years earlier and council failed to take this into consideration when it granted consent to the proposal.
Residents felt the design of the proposed buildings and the effects on parking meant the application should have made it a restricted discretionary activity.
Council lawyer Matthew Lawson said the council had been correct to treat it as a controlled activity.
The difference between the applications lodged in February and March was minor.
WIT's lawyer Michael Wenley said even if the application had been considered restricted discretionary it would still have been up to the council to decide whether it should be notified.
In the circumstances the effects of the proposal were considered minor so notification was not required, he said. The proposal was "a residential development in a known and established residential area . . . It's been a residential area since the end of the 19th century."
The proposal met housing density requirements and would have no impact on parking or traffic, Mr Wenley said.
If anything, the wide entrance to the proposed development would improve the traffic situation on the narrow Paradise Rd.
The hearing continues.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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