Dispute over Rototuna development

ANDREA FOX
Last updated 11:13 04/09/2012

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Hopes are high that a  meeting of traffic specialists involved with a $10 million mixed use development proposal for Rototuna could resolve at least one Environment Court challenge against it - but another appellant, the owner of the Rototuna Shopping Centre will not commit to joining the discussion.

Hamilton veterinarian and property investor Keith Houston, whose company Horsham Downs Retail Centres owns the shopping centre, has appealed to the Environment Court against the plan by Trig Developments for a residential, office, hospitality and retail project on the tree-fringed corner of Thomas and Horsham Downs.

Progressive Enteprises, owner of the nearby Countdown supermarket and land on which a McDonalds and mega Palmers store is planned, has also appealed, but has agreed for its traffic expert to meet with traffic specialists representing Trig and the Hamilton City Council, which consented the Trig project.

Houston would only say "we'll see what happens, I haven't decided" when contacted by the Waikato Times.

One of the Houston camp's major concerns about the Trig development is that, because it claims the proposla is being allowed with 35 per cent less car parking than would normally be required for a construction its size, visitors to the planned café, restaurant and shops will park in the Rototuna Shopping Centre.

Lawyer for Trig Developments, Joan Forret of Harkness Henry, who has called this concern "odd" because visitors to the Trig precinct would likely go on to shop at the Rototuna centre, says there is a strong hope  the upcoming meeting of traffic experts will resolve Progressive's traffic flow concerns.

Houston told the Waikato Times he had no concerns that overflow from the Palmers Planet superstore and McDonalds would park in his car parks.

"No, because there are allocated car parks (in the Progressive parking area) which meet the rules. They do not get get a discount like Trig."

Progressive's successful application last year to the city council for an integrated commercial development including its Countdown supermarket, drive-through services (McDonalds) a garden centre (Palmers) and other retail and offices provided for 370 car parks.

The 2004 resource consent for the Rototuna Shopping Centre, excluding the BP service station, required a minium of 568 car parks.  Houston's company does not own the land hosting the New World supermarket.

His company's appeal says the Trig development will cause adverse effects on traffic safety and efficiency that cannot be remedied by conditions attached to the resource consent. Houston argues in his court submission that the proposal will delay or prevent other commercial centres the council proposes for city growth.

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Forret said Trig will be lucky to get a court hearing before Easter next year if the appeals proceed.

She says the wider Rototuna community has shown support for the Trig plan and there is keen demand for café and restaurant leases.

- Waikato Times

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