Curtis St development controversy settled

AMY JACKMAN
Last updated 05:00 16/01/2014
curtis st

NEW HOUSES: Twenty-seven town houses and a playground are planned for Curtis St. Looking from Curtis St down the valley towards Ian Galloway Park.

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The dust is settling on a controversial strip of land on the city side of Karori.

At the last Wellington City Council meeting the undeveloped land at 55-85 Curtis St was rezoned as Curtis St Business Zone under the District Plan.

It was previously a mix of Outer Residential and Open Space.

The council's buildings portfolio leader, Iona Pannett, said the public could appeal the decision, but she hoped no-one would.

"The commissioners have done a good job. We have a very extensive report. They have clearly gone through the issues and tried to make it work," she said.

"People may not agree with all of the conclusions, as is their right, but I haven't heard that any parties are wanting to appeal."

The special zone comes after the Creswick Valley Residents' Association won a High Court case against the council, which had changed the zoning to Business 2 to open the way for a Mitre 10 Mega store to be built there.

The Mitre 10 will no longer go ahead because of the delays in rezoning the land and the new limitations of the site.

The new plan change has provisions for height control on buildings and earthworks, consent controls on activities, and a requirement for urban design assessments.

Any commercial activity would also require an economic impact assessment to ensure there would be no ill effects on Northland or Karori town centres.

The plan change will be notified over the next few days.

Parties have 15 working days to appeal it. If there is no appeal, the change becomes operative.

Creswick Valley Residents' Association secretary Paul Barker said the new zone was an improvement, but still not what the association preferred.

"The existing residential and open space zoning more appropriately reflect the characteristics of the area in Curtis St," he said.

"The new zoning is a marked improvement on the Business 2 zoning that the council had originally proposed. [It] is a genuine attempt by council to provide a customised solution to development on the site.

"However, it remains to be seen if what is proposed will actually protect values of the valley."

The owner of the land, Prime Property, was more positive about the change.

Chief executive Eyal Aharoni said it was a long time coming. "We have been working with council on the rezoning and consenting on the site for about seven years," he said.

"We are pleased that there is some certainty. It's a bit frustrating because the council has commercial zoning, but because of the neighbours' opposition they have put a special zoning on the site.

"You wouldn't want that happening all over the city. It's not right, but it is what it is. There is now commercial zoning and we are pleased that we can move forward and do something." 

THE REZONING HISTORY

Creswick Valley Residents' Association believed the city council had not properly consulted the public about planning changes to 55-85 Curtis St.

The council rezoned the address to Business 2, which meant that it was able to be developed for heavy industrial use.

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When the case went to court, a developer was applying for consent to build a Mitre 10 Mega store on the site.

The judge ruled in April 2012 that the council material about the change was misleading, that the rezoning of the site did not meet the council requirements, and that the council did not identify who was directly affected.

The council consulted on a new zone change later in 2012.

The submissions and report into the zone were overseen by an independent commissioner.

The council agreed to adopt the commissioner's recommendations in December 2013.

WHAT'S PLANNED FOR CURTIS ST

Creswick Valley Residents' Association believed the city council had not properly consulted the public about planning changes to 55-85 Curtis St.

The council rezoned the address to Business 2, which meant that it was able to be developed for heavy industrial use.

When the case went to court, a developer was applying for consent to build a Mitre 10 Mega store on the site.

The judge ruled in April 2012 that the council material about the change was misleading, that the rezoning of the site did not meet the council requirements, and that the council did not identify who was directly affected.

The council consulted on a new zone change later in 2012.

The submissions and report into the zone were overseen by an independent commissioner.

The council agreed to adopt the commissioner's recommendations in December 2013.

- The Wellingtonian

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