Key Points:

Sky gardens and huge solar panels for water heating are some of the eco-friendly design features of Dae Ju Housing's proposed 67-level Elliott Tower.

Auckland City Council hearing commissioners, who this week approved the tower's resource consent, emphasised these design features in their written decision.

"Solar panels in the shape of large fins to be placed on the top of the tower will heat all of the water required for the whole building, including the retail outlets, for 65 per cent of each year," they said.

"The residential tower will include two sky gardens to break up the facade of the building, to assist with wind mitigation particularly at the podium and street level and also to provide common areas for the occupiers of the apartments," said the decision of the panel chaired by Leigh McGregor.

"The retail podium will include landscaped areas as will the tower which will contribute both to the streetscape and to the outlook gained from a number of surrounding buildings.

"The building avoids having apartments that are only south-facing and many apartments have both an eastern and western outlook," they said.

Dae Ju's plans were publicly notified on January 14 and 20 submissions were received, the panel said.

The commissioners summed up the main issues in contention as:

* The porte cochere entrance on the Albert St frontage of the building, including urban design concerns and the difficulties with footpath access.

* The impact of construction traffic on buildings in the narrow Elliott St and on Kiwi Income Property's twin-tower office National Bank Centre between Queen St and Elliott St.

* The height of the approved tower, its urban design and visual impact aspects.

* Impairment on signal, telecommunication and broadcast equipment in the Sky Tower.

The porte cochere would be a key access for people and vehicles to the tower but there were concerns about the interaction between the public footpath and traffic, the commissioners found. A porte cochere management plan was needed and should be approved by the council. They raised safety issues about pedestrians crossing Albert St and Victoria St and said there were serious concerns about the existing situation at the major intersection.

Kiwi and Colwall Property Investment said they reached an agreement with the neighbours about construction traffic access. Vehicles would use Victoria St and not Elliott St.

The commissioners said they did not agree with SkyCity about the effects on telecommunications and broadcast facilities in the Sky Tower.

Submissions on huge shadows cast by Elliott Tower were made by Dae Ju, which emphasised the tower's slim profile.

"It appeared from these diagrams that there would be no adverse shadow effects on Aotea Square or Albert Park and further that as a result of the narrowness of the residential tower, any shadow effects would be short-lived," the commissioners said.