Car parking major sticking point with $10m scheme
Court challenges from a Horsham Downs shopping centre owner and Countdown supermarket have put the brakes on a $10 million mixed-use development planned for Rototuna.
Hamilton veterinarian and developer Keith Houston and his company, Horsham Downs Retail Centre (HDRC), which owns the Rototuna Shopping Centre (with the exception of the New World supermarket), and Countdown operator Progressive Enterprises have lodged appeals with the Environment Court against Hamilton City Council's consent for the residential, office, hospitality and retail project planned for the tree-fringed corner of Thomas and Horsham Downs roads.
Proposer Trig Developments said the appeals were "extremely disappointing". They come as Trig's purchase deal went unconditional on the one-hectare corner, opposite an empty site on which a McDonald's and a $6m Palmers superstore are to be built.
Joan Forret, of Harkness Henry Lawyers, said if the appeals proceeded Trig would be lucky to get a hearing before Easter 2013. Dr Forret said it was hoped traffic concerns raised in the Progressive Enterprises appeal could be resolved.
Dr Houston declined to discuss the appeals as they were with the court.
But the Waikato Times understands one of the Houston camp's main concerns is that, because it claims the Trig proposal is being allowed with 35 per cent less car parking than would normally be required for a development its size, visitors to the planned cafe, restaurant and shops would park in the Rototuna Shopping Centre.
The 2004 resource consent for this shopping centre, excluding the BP service station, required a minimum of 568 car spaces.
Enforcing parking time restrictions could mean costs for HDRC, which could have to resort to clamping to keep car parks free for its own tenants.
Dr Forret said the car parking concern was "odd". The wider Rototuna community had shown support for the development and there had been keen demand for cafe and restaurant space.
People coming to the Trig centre for coffee or a meal would be more than likely to go on to the retail outlets at Rototuna, she said. "It would attract people who would come to the [shopping] centre more often."
Dr Houston argues in his court submission that the proposal will delay or prevent other commercial centres the council proposes for city growth.
The HDRC 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.
HDRC said the council in its decision showed an approach to consideration of Trig's application that was "legally incorrect and inappropriate".
Both Houston-associated appeals ask for the resource consent to be declined.
Dr Forret said Trig had invested a lot of time and money in the project and was "totally committed to working through this latest setback".