A proposal to use Special Housing Area legislation to fast-track development of a townhouse and apartment development on the Golden Grove Holiday Park at Omanu has run into a wall of objections.
The Tauranga City Council today considers an application by SNG Investments for the holiday park and an adjoining house on Paterson St to become a Special Housing Area.
SNG plans to build 66 two and three-level townhouses and apartments as well as a cafe and childcare centre on the 10,000 sq m site. It intends to exceed the 9m residential height limit for the three-level apartments by up to two metres.
In this instance, I think the effects of such an ad-hoc development within this residential zone need much greater scrutiny.
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Council policy planner Janine Speedy and strategic planner Andrew Mead have recommended that the request for a Special Housing Area could be put to the Minister of Housing for approval.
The council and the minister need to be satisfied that enough infrastructure exists to service the development and that there was evidence of demand for houses in the proposed Special Housing Area.
However 33 of the 42 submitters have opposed the proposal, with five supporting, three neutral and one offering conditional support.
Registered architect Stephen Bird said the council had so far approved 1978 sections under the Housing Accord, with a further 246 under consideration.
"This more than meets the targets under the Accord and there is still nine months left to run on the agreement."
Based on this, Mr Bird could not see any urgent need to develop the land which was already zoned for 31 dwellings.
"Given that the central thrust of the proposal is to develop high density living in the midst of the lowest density residential zoning, the proposal is really an attempt to rezone this land under the City Plan."
Mr Bird said the Resource Management Act set out specific requirements for undertaking a private plan change. "I don't believe that using the provisions of the SHA to bypass the already agreed City Plan is good practice."
He said a huge amount of effort and community involvement went into developing the City Plan and it should not be ignored for such small gains in housing supply. The proposal was adding 35 dwellings to the 31 that could be build as of right on the land.
Mr Bird noted that the Bayfair/Arataki area had already been mooted as a medium density intensification node. "It may be time to revisit this idea and look at the area as a whole rather than taking a site-by-site ad hoc approach as seems to be the case under the Housing Accord."
He believed this area of of the city and land of this scale were better suited to higher density living than currently planned.
Mr Bird said the Special Housing Area legislation significantly reduced the ability of the community and affected parties to make submissions on a proposal.
"In this instance, I think the effects of such an ad-hoc development within this residential zone need much greater scrutiny."
He said the community also needed to be provided with accurate and concise information that clearly identified the issues that may arise from such a development and how it may impact on them and their community.