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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