Mission Bay development
We have been fighting a proposal to build a complex of up to 8 storeys and 28m high on the corner of Tamaki Drive and Patteson Ave. This is completely out of line with the Unitary Plan rules which envision 4 storeys or 16 m height, but it is also totally inappropriate for the Mission Bay environment.
We have been advised that the decision to decline the resource consent has been appealed to the Environment Court.
The main thrust of the appeal is that the panel was wrong in its interpretation of the objectives and policies of the Unitary Plan, and that if you interpret them the way Drive Holdings does, then the application should have been approved. Intertwined within this is that the effects are acceptable.
There is no hint anywhere that they are proposing to reduce the scale of the building at this point. It looks as though they will simply proceed with the current application. However, of course that could change if they were wanting to resolve matters at a mediation.
The Appeal is against the Council's decision to decline the application, and so the Council will be responsible in the first instance for defending their decision and opposing the appeal. Of course, since the Council staff initially recommended approval, it is unclear how rigorously the Council will now defend the Hearing Panel decision. Part of our job is to try to ensure the Council takes a firm line on this.
If we want to continue our opposition, and given that nothing has really changed we presumably do, we need to file what is known as a Section 274 which makes us a party to the hearings.
The process typically starts with mediation between the parties to see whether there is a compromise which could be acceptable to all parties. It may be that Drive Holdings will offer design changes such as reducing the height at this point to try to get the Council to support them. We need to try to keep the Council honest and discourage them from caving on the basis of a weak compromise.
The Appeal document can be found here.
The verdict is in and the proposed development has been rejected by the Hearing Commissioners. All of our hard work has paid off, and we have avoided having an inappropriately tall and bulky development undermining Mission Bay's character.
While a big part of our success comes down to the quality of the submissions and presentations by our team led by Barrister Gill Chapell, we cannot underestimate the impact of the sheer weight of numbers of people attending the hearings. This clearly demonstrated that the proposed was not welcomed by the local community, and that so many people felt so strongly about it that they made the effort to come along to the hearings. This is unusual in hearings of this type, and so made a big impression on the Hearing Commissioners. Thanks to everyone who was able to support us in this way; you can be proud that your efforts did make a difference.
We don't know what happens next. The Applicant could file an appeal to the Environment Court, they could just accept the verdict, or they could redesign the project and resubmit it. All will become clear over the coming weeks.
Submissions to Hearings
Gill Chapell - Legal
David Wren - Planning
Don Stock - written evidence
Don Stock - graphics
Support Mission Bay graphics
All evidence - Council website