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194 Hinemoa Street Current Issues Media Coverage

Contractor ‘placing lives at risk’

Residents angered by a 45-bedroom boarding house in Birkenhead claim developers started construction illegally and are “placing people’s lives at risk”.

And Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman has publicly criticised the developers and the Auckland Council, saying the public should have been told.

Around 45 people turned up at Birkenhead Library for a meeting with Mr Coleman, Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh and owner-operator of the Hinemoa St boarding home Brett Cranston.

Concerns have been raised over the council’s process and the potential to attract residents with anti-social behaviour.

A neighbour says permission was never sought to block her driveway and is in breach of her rights.

One Birkenhead resident says he made a complaint to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment because of the nature of construction work at the site.

“The contractor is placing people’s lives at risk.”

Mr Coleman said at the beginning of the meeting he had “no public position” but by the end he slammed the council and Mr Cranston, saying it should have been publicly notified because there was “no upside for residents”.

It was also a lesson in “public relations”, Mr Coleman said, as Mr Cranston admitted the meeting was the first time he had ever consulted with Birkenhead residents.

Mrs Waugh also changed tack on her previous stance, saying construction work and safety on the site must now be investigated.

“The level I’m hearing today I find very disturbing.”

Mr Cranston, who runs two similar establishments in Panmure and Otahuhu, says the Scottys-branded accommodation does not accept those referred by Work and Income or any similar services.

Rumours it will become a brothel are untrue and it is marketed as “adults only” because it is not acceptable living circumstances for those under 18, he says.

Mr Cranston says the boarding home will actually have 48 rooms, despite official council reports saying 45.

He also disputed the size of the rooms, saying council’s 14 square metre size was wrong.

The boarding home has a three car park-shortfall with residents saying time-restricted on-street parking for boarding home tenants is not an option.

The council says impacts on the surrounding area “were not more than minor and therefore concluded that full public notification was not required on this occasion”.

Credits

Written by: Jess Etheridge
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times – 28 May 2013

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194 Hinemoa Street Current Issues Media Coverage

Rumours run rife over brothel

Rumours a 45-bedroom boarding home being built in Birkenhead will become a brothel are “unsubstantiated”.

Residents have contacted the North Shore Times with claims the 194 Hinemoa St “adults’ only” hotel will be used as a brothel.

Two other hotels are run in Panmure and Otahuhu by the same developer.

One resident, Shirley-Ann McCrystal, says she was told by Panmure businesses the hotel in their area was “nothing more or less than a brothel”.

“There is the argument that prostitution is a legalised ‘profession’ but it is the addition of more drunken ne’er do wells that hang about them which our neighbourhood can do with out thank you.”

But Panmure Business Association town manager Chris Sutton says it is “absolutely not” a brothel.

Mrs Sutton says residents raised the same concerns but those living in the Panmure hotel are working and are part of the community.

It was also non-notified which concerned the community, Mrs Sutton says.

Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh also disputes the “unsubstantiated” claim.

“Until there is any evidence that this is intended as a brothel I will not respond to unsubstantiated urban myths. There has been no indication of this development becoming a brothel in the resource consent application.”

Residents have questioned Auckland Council after the three-storey boarding house development was approved.

The council says public input was not needed as the effects of the building on the area were deemed minor.

Rooms range in size between 14 square metres and 22sqm with only 13 car parks for residents and staff.

North Shore’s district plan says a minimum of one car park to three residents is required.

This means the boarding house will have a three-park shortfall but a traffic engineer deemed it would not have significant impact.

Birkenhead Residents Association says the validity of a boarding house not going through a public feedback process is questionable.

The council says impacts on the surrounding area “were not more than minor and therefore concluded that full public notification was not required on this occasion”.

It says the project won’t adversely affect neighbours of the boarding house.

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194 Hinemoa Street Current Issues Media Coverage

Birkenhead boarding house gets up nose of neighbours

Birkenhead residents are up in arms over a boarding house rising in a picturesque boutique shopping street.

Birkenhead residents are up in arms over a boarding house rising in a picturesque boutique shopping street and worry about the “type of people” it might bring.

Birkenhead Residents Association members decried work at 194-198 Hinemoa St where consent has been granted for additions and alterations to an existing commercial building for the establishment and operation of a 62-bed boarding house.

They questioned how Panmure Trust’s project got consent and retailers Jo Sutton and Paul McKenzie, of Bambina International, nearby are worried.

“Our retail store is aimed at mums and babies and small children are in the immediate vicinity. The type of people who typically live at this kind of address are definitely not the type we want permanently in the vicinity of our store. We are concerned for the safety of our staff and customers as well as a potential increase in shoplifting. Birkenhead has more than it’s share of colourful characters already. We agree that a boarding house is most definitely residential. We will be doing all that we can to add our voice to this battle,” they told the association.

Sutton said houses in the street regularly sold for $1 million-plus, the project was near the Birkenhead Library, plunket rooms, a park and the Citizens Advice Bureau and the local board was behind a big push to enhance the area.

Nick Kearney, Kaipataki Local Board deputy chairman, said consent for the boarding house was processed on a non-notified basis because the project complied in almost all aspects. The works planned were a permitted activity, he said, therefore did not need to be notified, although he was aware of feeling in the community against the project.

Auckland Council granted the approval and the board had no active role in it, Mr Kearney said.

The council report on the project said there was no need to call for objections.

“There is no basis for the council to exercise its broad discretion to publicly notify the application because the proposal is conventional in nature and represents no significant deviation from the range of effects anticipated by the plan,” said the report. Hinemoa St is an “edge of town centre street” and providing an active/public use at the street front is not considered to be an absolute necessity, it said.

The provision of a continuous veranda along the street facade would ensure that the appearance of the building is consistent with the expectations of the District Plan and maintained the character and amenity of the town centre, it concluded.

Credits

Written by: Anne Gibson
Photo by: Greg Bowker
Published: The New Zealand Herald – 21 May 2013

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194 Hinemoa Street Current Issues Media Coverage

Concerns over boarding house project

Questions are being asked over a three-storey, 45-room boarding house development in a commercial Birkenhead zone, including whether it was scrutinised enough by Auckland Council.

The council says public input was not needed as the effects of the building on the area were deemed minor.

Rooms in the 194 Hinemoa St development range in size between 14 square metres and 22sqm with only 13 car parks for residents and staff.

North Shore’s district plan says a minimum of one car park to three residents is required.

This means the boarding house will have a three-park shortfall but a traffic engineer deemed it would not have significant impact.

Birkenhead Residents Association chairwoman Gillian Taylor says many are “horrified at what’s happened”.

She says there are concerns for the wellbeing of boarding house residents planning to live in the “small” rooms.

The association is not sure who will be living there.

Parking is already limited for residents, Ms Taylor says.

The association is not opposed to commercial development, she says, but it questions the validity of a boarding house not going through a public feedback process.

Council northern resource consent manager Julie Bevan says the land’s zoning was not the reason why it was able to sidestep public feedback.

The council investigated the effects on the wider environment, Ms Bevan says.

It was decided they “were not more than minor and therefore concluded that full public notification was not required on this occasion”.

The council says the project won’t adversely affect neighbours of the boarding house.

Ms Taylor says residents are now unsure of their options. Delaying the project until it is fully investigated would be ideal, she says.

PROJECT HISTORY

The plans for the boarding house were passed on for approval by one of the North Shore’s most outspoken opponents of intensification.

Vivienne Keohane did not request Auckland Council to publicly notify it.

“I don’t think so because at that stage it didn’t seem out of character for where it was going to be,” Mrs Keohane says.

The “only fault” Mrs Keohane says she could find with the boarding house was parking.

The 194 Hinemoa St boarding home falls three short of the 16 parks required under current council regulations.

Chairwoman Lindsay Waugh says the development report never came back to the board.

Mrs Waugh says she was away on council duties when Mrs Keohane received the report and asked her to consult the Birkenhead Business Association.

But Mrs Keohane says Mrs Waugh didn’t put forward her concerns.

Both “agreed there’s no point” as officers decide if the project goes ahead anyway, Mrs Keohane says.

Mr Whitehead the proposed Unitary Plan there would be no responsibility for developments, such as the boarding house, to be of a high standard.

The questionable process by which the Hinemoa development was approved should be investigated, Mr Whitehead says.

Credits

Written by Jess Etheridge
Photo by: Warwick Jones
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times

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194 Hinemoa Street

194 Hinemoa Street

There are serious questions being asked about the validity of this development.

194-hinemoa

Questions like:

  • Does the planner have the ability to ignore the District Plan rule of one car park for every three beds to one car park for every three rooms. There are 69 beds so that requires 23 car parks plus 2 for the manager and a loading bay = 26 spaces. They have provision for 13 parks of which a number don’t meet Council standards. The shortfall in numbers and standards are considerably more than minor.
  • One also has to question whether the decision “that a boardinghouse is commercial and not residential” is correct!
  • The statement of the transport planner that there is ample after hours parking is based on incorrect information. Most of the surrounding area (except for Enterprise Street) has on-street parking restrictions that apply 24/7 – no after hours relaxation of parking restrictions.
  • The rubbish is to be stored in the front area (which will be visible through the glass windows) and wheeled down to the “rubbish compound” (which doesn’t exist) and will be picked up by a contractor (who can’t access it)
  • The consent was NOT to be granted until the easement over the neighbouring property was provided. Recent correspondence (04th March) suggests that this easement did not occur? So why was consent given without the easement?

Click here for a copy of the Resource Consent Application – Advice Decision (PDF)

This development flew under the radar due to its non notification status. It is clear throughout the reports that this project pushed a number of boundaries particularly with regard to parking and refuse disposal.

It also appears that, for one excuse or another, there was no response by the Kaipatiki Board in the course of the consent application!

An activity that will provide for the social well-being of the local community – Yeah Right!

Many residents have expressed their concern that the development built immediately on the footpath of Hinemoa with little relief, along with the frontage being a communal kitchen and lounge, is very inappropriate and of poor design.

However the expert Planners see the development differently. An extract from the Planners Report, 8.1 – Recommendations and Conditions, states:

“The District Plan envisages business activities within local centres that provide a service to the local community. In this particular instance, the proposed boarding house is considered to be an activity that will provide for the social well-being (accommodation needs) of the local community at an intensity that is not inherently detrimental to the predominantly commercial character of the wider environment.”

 

What are your thoughts?

We know that many of you are unhappy about this development, and it may be too late to stop it – “maybe” to late to stop it – however we need to try. There are three possible outcomes from our collective efforts:

  • The development is paused while its validity is reconsidered
  • How / why did it get through. And is someone accountable?
  • Processes and / or systems put in place to prevent this happening again

Call to action:

Please contact the Kaipātiki Local Board (each and everyone of them) and let them know how you feel. And what you expect to happen next. Ask questions….
Click here for the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of the Kaipātiki Local Board