Knox Church neighbour 'ticked off'
YVETTE BATTEN - NORTH TARANAKI MIDWEEK
As building plans for the new Knox church complex in Waitara turn into reality some residents are concerned over the height of the building.
Raewyn Lehndorf's property, where she's lived for 25 years, backs onto the site of the new building.
When she perused the plans during the consent process, she didn't understand exactly how high the new church walls would be. Now, particularly during winter, much of her morning sun is blocked and her back deck looks straight into the wall.
"I know there's nothing I can do about it but I'm really ticked off because it's not what I thought it was going to be."
Church spokesman Graham Armstrong was surprised to hear about Ms Lehndorf's complaint.
"We have a strong desire to be good neighbours and are disappointed if some neighbours think the height will have a negative impact for them.
"We are very aware that there is one wall, on the south-east side, that could have a negative visual impact.
"For that reason we have planned to have a variety of cladding used on that wall. Also, we are using a variety of colours on that wall so that it does not appear boring."
Ms Lehndorf is not alone. Lorraine Ward owned the property next door and her mother Rona lived there.
"It's pretty high," Ms Ward said about the church building's wall. "It would be blocking out a lot of sun in the morning."
They have since sold the property and say that difficulties with the church and its plans weren't the sole reason but did contribute to the decision.
Ralph Broad, New Plymouth District Council consents manager, said the maximum height of walls on the church's plans was seven metres.
"The maximum permitted building height for residential is nine metres and this was not exceeded."
Mr Armstrong said the church visited 30 neighbours and land owners before proceeding with the build.
Resource consent was only needed for parking, traffic generation and the amount of land covered by the building.
"The resource consent process did not require any approval on the height of the building therefore neighbours should not feel they signed something they shouldn't have."
He feels the church was transparent enough with land owners.
Copies of the floor plan, elevations from different sides and other information were given out.
"I would also point out that the new building is lower than the old church that was demolished last year," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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