Resource Consent Hearings
Mission Bay Development
30 July - 6 August
Update on Mission Bay 8 storey development
We are now just days away from the start of the hearings. Our Planner, David Wren, has prepared and submitted his evidence, and has reached a strong conclusion that this development is inappropriate for Mission Bay. He has also coordinated with the Planner and Urban Designer for the Support Mission Bay group, a separate group of neighbours directly affected by the proposal. All these experts have done a great job of tying their conclusions back to the specific requirements of the Unitary Plan and the Resource Management Act. In their minds, the case is very clear cut, and the resource consent application cannot be approved. This gives us cause for optimism, but we have seen strong positions disappear before, so the outcome is certainly not assured.
You can view David's evidence here. You can also see the evidence from the Support Mission Bay group here. Note that at this stage, just the expert evidence has been filed. The legal arguments from the barristers does not have to be filed until just prior to the hearings. Those presentations will tie the expert evidence into clear legal arguments, and make it very clear that approval of the development is not a viable outcome.
Our Chair, Don Stock, will be giving evidence as a witness on behalf of the Residents Association. His evidence has also been submitted and can be read here.
For those of you who will be presenting at the hearings, please remember that arguments ultimately need to be based on legal requirements, not emotions. The key in this case will be demonstrating that the proposed development is not consistent with the objectives and policies of the Unitary Plan. Just because it is over-height does not mean it cannot be approved. Instead, it just triggers a more careful check against the intent of the Unitary Plan. In this case, that means it has to demonstrate that would fit comfortably into the Mission Bay environment in line with the expectations of the unitary Plan, and that it will not materially reduce residents' and visitors' "amenity values".
The Unitary Plan clearly envisaged a typically four storey development, and it is hard to argue that an 8 storey development is consistent with this, but that is what the Applicant has successfully argued so far to the Council staff. You might point out that 8 storeys is very different from the envisioned 4 storeys, that it's bulk is quite different to anything else in the area, and that it will visually dominate from virtually everywhere. That will have a big impact on the character of Mission Bay. Give lots of personal examples.
You might also argue that the design does not fit with Mission Bay's heritage or future, and appears to be more like an office block from the central city plonked into a seaside village environment. The bulk of the building, and particularly the over-height portions are inward looking with no balconies and largely sheer walls, and do not open out to the beach, reserve or even the street. As such it becomes a stand-alone structure, completely independent of and unrelated to the core elements of Mission Bay.
Just a few thoughts for those of you not presenting. You can still help enormously by attending the hearings in large numbers, particularly when we and the Support Mission Bay group present on Tuesday 6 August. A large attendance would demonstrate strong community concern over the proposal. The Support Mission Bay group is presenting at 10 am, and the Residents Association at approximately 2pm. Times have not yet be finally confirmed.
We hope to see you there.