Plan change 260 for Orakei Point – now Orakei Bay Village – won its final approval to be made operative on Tuesday, completing an often acrimonious regulatory journey that began in 2006.
The plan change was originally sought from Auckland City Council by Tony Gapes (Redwood Group Ltd) to develop 5.9ha around the Orakei railway station, at the foot of Remuera, for an upmarket community of up to 1600 people.
Well placed Remuera locals fought the proposal and, in 2009, then-mayor John Banks took the masterplan to a community meeting, then made it a council-sponsored plan change. The plan change rezones 4.7ha to a site-specific mixed-use zone and the remaining 1.2ha to open space 2, enabling a masterplanned “seaside village”. Provisions were structured so the site would be developed as a comprehensive whole – except that, when it was publicly notified in January 2010, Mr Gapes didn’t control the whole site.
The new Auckland Council approved the plan change with conditions in April 2011, but 3 appellants took it to the Environment Court. The council’s Auckland development committee approved the plan change on Tuesday after the court resolved the appeals.
Under the plan change, a development lid will be placed over the railway corridor at Orakei Point, and the covered area will be used for roads, plazas, commercial & residential use, with open space & walkways around the periphery. Key features of the notified plan change were:
- provision of up to 84,000m2 gross floor area of mixed-use development, comprising 64,000m2 of residential (about 700 apartments), a maximum of 10,000m2 each for retail & office activities, and a maximum of 1750 parking spaces
- maximum building heights, public open space areas & special tree protection areas
- assessment criteria particularly focused on high quality urban design, connections with public transport, open space & sustainability
- a comprehensive package of development controls to limit the overall height & bulk of the built form to within defined envelopes, and to ensure specific features on the masterplan are achieved
- a staging table to secure certain public amenities & infrastructure before development of each precinct, and
- 4 overlay plans applying development controls to the land – maximum heights, site intensity & staging, veranda cover and traffic & pedestrian links.
Resolution of the appeals has resulted in a number of changes to the council’s decision, including:
- a revised masterplan with smaller buildings, a secondary road network added to the main link road, larger shared spaces & plazas and increased veranda cover along key pedestrian connections
- an amended order of staging of the development precincts, bringing forward a new railway station building & plaza in the first stage of development; these changes don’t trigger the need for additional traffic & road improvements
- a requirement to vest an esplanade reserve with a minimum depth of 20m in the council
- reverse sensitivity covenants, and new internal noise standards for buildings to mitigate the adverse effects of rail noise
- greater protection for trees within the special tree protection areas by way of resource consent for works which will result in removal of more than 5% of the canopy of any tree, or the removal of 3 or more trees, or significant adverse effects on 3 or more trees.
In a report for this week’s committee meeting, council principal planner David Wong said there would be ongoing briefings of the council, and staff would seek local board views on how the plan change would be implemented.
The development project has been taken over by the Equinox Group, which had been involved initially as a financier for Mr Gapes, and a Barfoot & Thompson project team has been marketing the development for some months before a formal launch.
Attribution: Council committee agenda.