Shared flats trigger consent fears

Bonita Bingham is concerned about building works going ahead without consent.
Bonita Bingham is concerned about building works going ahead without consent.

South Taranaki district councillor Bonita Bigham is concerned property owners could make a "mockery" of the resource consent process by starting building work before gaining approval.

The council's environment and hearings committee has heard an unusual case of an Ohawe Beach cross-lease subdivision - where two flats with a common or shared yard separating them will be built.

Both independent flats would be connected to the same septic tank system.

Council planning manager Blair Sutherland said it was a rare case - only the second time in nine years it had received a cross-lease subdivision request.

Ms Bigham said she was concerned the construction had already started before they made their decision.

Mr Sutherland and environment services group manager John McKenzie said they were "embarrassed" because the owner had already received building consent from the council and had gone ahead before the resource consent.

Committee chairman Ian Wards said the system still worked because owners would be taking a "severe risk" raising a building before getting resource consent to use it.

Councillors were worried two independent properties under the same title were a recipe for disaster and Mr McKenzie said it would have to be a case of "buyer beware".

For example, if the people in one flat played loud music those in the other flat could not make a noise complaint because they were technically the same property, he said.

Likewise, a person from one flat could even go and sit in the living room of the other, or use their deck for a barbecue, and they would not be trespassing.

The committee voted to grant the resource consent with several conditions, including separate water connections and a limit of 10 people in both flats combined.

Taranaki Daily News