Hamilton man fuming over petrol station next door

Consultation clause 'lost in translation'

DANIEL ADAMS
Last updated 14:56 26/07/2013
 Paul Smart
BEN CURRAN/Fairfax NZ

BOXED IN: Mill St resident Paul Smart says council planning rules meant he had no say over a petrol station destined to be built next door to his home.

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A Hamilton family who lived alongside the V8 races for four years is now resigned to getting a 24-hour service station next door without any say, despite a 1999 agreement that they would be consulted.

Mill St resident Paul Smart said he and his family would have to share side by side access with a planned Z petrol station, but haven't had a say about effects on them because consents were issued without the proposal being notified, meaning there was no call for submissions.

City council staff considered the effects on Mr Smart did not warrant notification.

Mr Smart's home, on one of the city's busiest roads and a stone's throw from Waikato Stadium, sits alongside neighbouring properties which had their zoning changed from residential to commercial in 1999.

The deal at the time guaranteed it would be notified, and confirmed he was affected, he said.

Mr Smart has previously locked horns with authorities, challenging V8s race organisers in court when incoming promoters refused to honour the previous promoter's deal to fly the family to Australia when that event was being held.

He said his issue was not with the service station operators, but the council process that allowed consents to be granted without him having a say as the clauses enabling this had been ''lost in translation,'' as Mr Smart puts it, in effect disappearing between one district plan and the next.

Mr Smart said there was no way he could afford to challenge the outcome, so would have to wear ''the adverse effects of a service station right next door to me with no consultation. I've just rung my lawyer, she said it would cost tens of thousands of dollars [to seek a judicial review of the consent process].''

''I'm just a little guy, I just want to be treated fairly. To them, it's just business.''

City environments general manager Brian Croad said automatic public notification for garages did not carry through to the current district plan. 

When the current district plan was first drafted appeals against the relevant plan change were unresolved, and the eventual outcomes were never included in the new draft plan, or raised by the public in submissions, said Mr Croad.

Councillors who listened to Mr Smart's plight at a committee meeting this week were split over the issue, with some expressing sympathy for him, and others less benevolently suggesting he talk to his lawyers.

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