Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Residents out to block townhouse developers

People of Samuels Lane in Albany are worried that if The Grove goes ahead traffic through the subdivision and a lack of parking will put their children at risk, says one resident. Photo / Greg Bowker
People of Samuels Lane in Albany are worried that if The Grove goes ahead traffic through the subdivision and a lack of parking will put their children at risk, says one resident. Photo / Greg Bowker

Well before Auckland's intensification plans are enacted, residents are in revolt against two big residential estates proposed under existing rules.

Developers trying to build 424 apartments and townhouses at Mt Wellington and 65 units at Albany have hit strong resistance from neighbours and thrice-bankrupt developer Peter Chevin says this has become a battle of the haves and have-nots.

"The local community tends to be the haves and they don't want the change necessary that will give the have-nots a chance to get into their own home," said Chevin who is a consultant on the Albany scheme, The Grove Estate. Springpark and The Grove are proposed under the existing, less intensive district plan but yesterday, the final draft of the new unitary plan was notified and the submission period will run until February 28. Developers will be able to build far more on land once that new plan is enacted.

Chevin said Albany residents were being selfish and depriving the next generation of home ownership aspirations.

"It is pure nimby, nothing else. The existing locals are stopping young couples from owning their first home," said Chevin, who some years ago developed Wyndham St's Columbard, Auckland's skinniest apartment tower, and has now been discharged from bankruptcy.

Chevin is the resource management consultant on The Grove, proposed for a site of just under a hectare. Developer Hillman White's proposal was rejected by independent planning commissioners but is now heading for the Environment Court in a move that has enraged locals. Neighbour Paul Powney, who lives in Samuels Lane, said the developer was "being greedy, trying to maximise the return by building low-cost dwellings and shoehorn as many apartments as possible on the site" and he described tense situations at the site where abuse had been hurled.

Residents where delighted that independent commissioners rejected the units, he said, because the now-quiet Samuels Lane would be an entry to The Grove if it goes ahead.

"The proposed development comprising 65 three-storey high units would have overshadowed neighbouring houses and access was promoted through the narrow cul-de-sac of Samuels Lane," Powney said.

"Residents are worried the extra traffic through the subdivision and lack of parking in the development will place the children at risk of being run over and clog the narrow streets with resident and visitor vehicles to the development."

But Chevin dismissed the opposition and said the abuse was going both ways, sometimes becoming physical.

"The locals dress up concerns with all sorts of things but the reality is they just don't want change," Chevin said.

At Mt Wellington, Tony Gapes has been waiting to hear if his Springpark can go ahead after limited notification that drew strong objections from neighbours on the grounds of noise, traffic, overcrowding, contamination, dust, grime, smells and calls to eliminate rats from the area.

Neighbours at Mt Wellington and Albany say the developments are out of keeping with the areas' stand-alone houses with gardens and space.

- NZ Herald

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