Priorities 'wrong' on garage rule - expert
A planning change which means Nelson garages have to be built back from the street is prioritising the streetscape over private amenity, security and efficient land use, a resource management consultant says.
The Nelson City Council agreed yesterday to bring in the residential fencing and front-yard rules from September 9. Under the changed fencing rules people can either build a solid 1.2 metre-high fence in front of their property, or a 1.8m see-through fence on local streets or adjoining public spaces.
The original rule had the height limited to 1.2m.
On busier roads people have the choice of see-through or part solid fencing.
The controversial "front-yard rule" stays as proposed, requiring garages to be set back at least 1m from the dwelling, if people are building a garage within the first 4m of their home.
The decision follows an agreement in an Environment Court appeal made by resource management consultant Mark Lile, of Landmark Lile Ltd.
He had appealed both the fencing and front-yard rules, and said while he would have preferred the council to allow solid fences up to 1.8m high, in the event a compromise had been reached.
On the front-yard rule, the council had remained steadfast in its view, and he had withdrawn his appeal, which had been disappointing, he said.
Now he hoped when a resource consent application was made, the applicant's individual circumstances were considered, and the rule was administered fairly.
"Fundamentally, I don't agree with the rule, I understand what the council is trying to achieve, but I think individual private property amenity and security and efficient land use, all those things in my opinion probably have to play second fiddle to the streetscape factors."
The priorities were the wrong way round, he said.
"I'm a resource management consultant; people's frustrations with particular rules are what we experience on a regular basis. We would prefer not to have to deal with those frustrations with such a minor issue."
But policy and planning portfolio holder, councillor Kate Fulton said low or open fencing could itself help to deter crime and keep neighbourhoods safer, and the planning change was about retaining the character and appeal of neighbourhood streets.
"There are very good reasons for ensuring fences and garages don't block your home out from your neighbourhood - over the fence is your community," she said.
There was scope in the regulations for designing fences and positioning garages where they still gave a level of security and privacy while keeping the streetscape attractive, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News