Councillor offside over relocatable buildings

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013
 ohn Roil property
EVA BRADLEY/FAIRFAX NZ
CONTROVERSIAL BUILDINGS: The scene at Councillor John Roil’s site in Maraekakaho Rd, Hastings, yesterday.

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A Hastings district councillor is back in hot water with his own council after being issued an abatement notice for running a non-complying business.

Second-term councillor John Roil was given an abatement notice on December 2 for operating a commercial activity with a floor area five times greater than allowed.

The notice was issued two days after the council's swearing-in, at which Mr Roil made the tongue-in-cheek remark that he intended to comply with the Building Act as well as the Local Government Act.

He was referring to another prosecution taken against his company Cottages NZ by the council last year.

In December, he was convicted of breaching the Building Act and fined $6500 for constructing a building before a consent had been issued.

After the sentencing, Mr Roil said the council's building consent department needed to be scrutinised because simple applications were taking up to 20 days to process, which was having a dramatic impact on the local construction sector.

The abatement notice, hand-delivered to Mr Roil, told him he had to stop storing and selling relocatable buildings from a site in Maraekakaho Rd.

The council told him commercial activities on the "plains" zone were permitted if they had a maximum floor space of 125 square metres but when staff visited the property last month they found 13 buildings with a total floor space of 700sqm.

Mr Roil has been given until January 6 to comply with the notice. If he does not, he will be prosecuted under the Resource Management Act.

Mr Roil told The Dominion Post that he felt the council's actions were "quite pathetic" and he would appeal to the Environment Court.

"We believe their interpretation is wrong. Our advice is that we're compliant because we're just storing buildings on site.

"We're not advertising them or constructing them on site.

"I don't know how they got to 13. We've got a couple of containers on the site. They may be counting them."

He said there were now only three buildings on the site: one 10sqm one, that was about to be moved, and two classrooms.

But Mr Roil hoped to move more buildings to the site early next year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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