Published 15 February 2010
Drive Holdings Ltd (a company in the Retail Holdings Ltd group, directors Darryl Henry & Haydn Staples) faces new council opposition to a proposal to demolish a large part of the Mission Bay business centre to enable new development.
Drive Holdings’ proposal will go to a hearing on Monday 1 March with a recommendation from council planner Todd Webb that the application be declined, though he said demolition could occur without a resource consent.
The company made a similar application in 2008 and went to a hearing, but withdrew that application after striking another council planning obstacle. That one concerned the interpretation of the business 8 zone rules & the Mission Bay East concept plan – the question that arose was whether the council should issue a certificate of compliance for demolition.
However, the company withdrew that application and has lodged a slightly different version under the amended Resource Management Act, which came into force on 1 October 2009. It proposes to remove 30,000m3 of soil and excavate down 6m on the 4884m² site, which Mr Webb said had the potential to generate effects that would disrupt the character & amenity of the Mission Bay town centre & the surrounding residential area on Marau Crescent.
The site is L-shaped, wrapping around the 2 lots on the eastern corner of Tamaki Drive & Patteson Avenue. Drive Holdings’ site establishment layout shows a 2.4m-high solid hoarding along the length of the site’s boundary with Tamaki Drive, a 3m-high acoustic fence or wall along the site’s eastern boundary and a 1.8m-high chain-link mesh fence with wind shade cloth along the site’s remaining boundaries with Patteson Avenue & Marau Crescent.
Mr Webb said in his hearing report: “The company has indicated that the excavation is temporary and, to support this contention, they have stated that no earthworks will commence until a resource consent has been granted for the buildings which will occupy the site. The applicant has agreed to the imposition of a condition to this effect.”
However, he added: “I consider that if there is a prolonged delay in the development of the site, the excavation would effectively make the site unuseable. Given the size of the site in the context of the Mission Bay town centre, it is my opinion that this would generate a significant adverse effect on the character of the area and potentially affect its social & economic viability.”
Given those concerns, the council asked for Drive Holdings’ agreement to a condition requiring it to lodge a bond with the council or a guaranteed bond agreement with a registered trading bank as the surety: “The purpose of the bond would be to enable the council to return the ground level of the site to existing levels after a fixed period of time had lapsed, should the development not be able to proceed.”
But Drive Holdings’ agent, Peter Neeve, told the council this was an unreasonable imposition: “If council is going to start requiring bonds for the cost of filling in holes &/or potentially completing developments, then this is going to impose such a cost on future development projects that developers will not be able to proceed. They will essentially have to pre-fund projects twice at commencement. This would have significant adverse implications for the funding of the project and be highly prejudicial.”
Mr Neeve said characteristics of the development would ensure the large excavation was unlikely to remain for a prolonged period: “It is important to note that the development is to be undertaken in such a way that the possibility of a Soho-type situation arising, where a large excavation is left exposed for a prolonged period of time, will not arise. The primary reason for this is the construction methodology, in that the basement building works will generally be undertaken in conjunction with the ground works.
“In addition, the application site is significantly smaller that the Soho site (in Ponsonby), it is located on level land and the hoardings to be erected around the perimeter of the site will effectively screen views into the site from Tamaki Drive, Patteson Avenue & Marau Crescent & the Mission Bay Reserve.”
Despite a regional council consent to carry out the excavation, Mr Webb maintained his recommendation to decline city council consent: “It is my opinion that while the temporary visual amenity effects from the development on the wider environment would be minor, the potential character effects on the Mission Bay town centre would be more than minor.”
Want to comment? Go to the forum.
Attribution: Council hearing report, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.