Apartment plans draw huge number of submissions

A proposed apartment block has attracted more than twice as many submissions as North Shore City Council’s annual plan.

There were 469 on time and 30 late resource consent submissions about developer Aptus Projects’ plans to build an apartment block in a Birkenhead heritage zone.

Only 203 people made submissions to this year’s council annual plan.

It’s unusual to get so many people interested in a single notified consent, says council specialist planning team leader Robert Andrews.

“It’s a very large number of submissions. About one in 30 or 50 hearings will get over 100 submissions,” he says.

“I guess the issue is how well it has been publicised. We served notice to the immediately affected properties but obviously many hundreds beyond them have submitted.”

Dealing with the volume of submissions could make for a lengthy resource consent process.

Some people will be asked whether they would like to have a group representative summarise their views, says Mr Andrews.

Others haven’t asked to be heard and some may not turn up, he says.

“But in the end it’s a public process and everyone has the right to be heard. It’s their democratic right.”

The proposed 20 apartment block at 83 Hinemoa St has stirred up controversy since it was first proposed in 2005.

Then Aptus Projects owner Richard Beca withdrew his plans after 440 people submitted against them.

He submitted a revised apartment block design in August this year but that has again raised the hackles of Birkenhead Pt residents.

Resource consent submission forms were handed out at public meeting on the apartment plans.

Many people took two, says Birkenhead Residents Association member Warrick Jones.

“I think it’s great. It’s a show of hands that people haven’t lost interest. I had someone ring up and say she wanted six for her workplace.”

Dissatisfaction with the council has motivated many people to make submissions, he says.

“Really you have to ask yourself how you get a modern building like that in an area where the council isgiving loans to people to rebuild their houses as they were 100 years ago. People do get motivated by injustice or perceived injustice.

“I’m hoping it sends a strong message to council.”

No resource consent hearing date has been set.

Mr Beca may be considering ‘tinkering’ with his design before the hearing, says Mr Andrews.

Credits

Reprinted with permission: Auckland Now – North Shore Times

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