Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Alarm at helipad proposal

Neighbours to discuss rich lister plans for landing pad and flight path in quiet bay.

Man 'O War Vineyard.   Photo / Supplied
Man 'O War Vineyard. Photo / Supplied

A proposal for a private helipad on the Spencer estate beside the Waitemata Harbour has drawn protests from neighbours, who say flights will affect a quiet haven for people and birdlife.

Neighbour Felicity Wilson said yesterday that a neighbourhood meeting would be held on Monday night to discuss the application for the helipad's resource consent.

Mrs Wilson lives 63m from the proposed site on Stanley Point Rd, Devonport.

"We have lived here for 18 years and there is nowhere as quiet - all we hear are native birds."

She urged people to express their views on the consent bid to the Auckland Council before submissions closed on December 13.

The application, for non-commercial flights, is from Tokoeka Properties, which lists one of its two directors as Berridge Spencer, director of Man o' War Vineyard, Waiheke Island and managing director of the Spencer Family Group. Mr Spencer is overseas.

His grandfather, Berridge senior, bought a property on the point facing Ngataringa Bay in the early 1930s.

Tokoeka Properties owns all adjacent land except for Mrs Wilson's property. Its eight properties give a total area of 1.54ha and the proposed helipad is in the centre of Nos 76 and 80 Stanley Point Rd on a flat cleared site.

A report from planning consultants Isle Land said the nearest house was 63m from the site and other dwellings were screened from view by trees. A flight track was developed which restricted movement to and from the site via a "less noise-sensitive" part of the coast - over Ngataringa Bay to the north of the property and 20m over the property to the helipad. But another neighbour, Chris Darby, who is chairman of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, said he was affected by the proposal.

He said he could not comment in his official position on the proposal.

"But as a private individual I can say the Spencers have been terrific neighbours for my 15 years here. They have planted hundreds of trees which have helped create a tremendous bird life on this bay.

"But I fear the comings and goings of a helicopter will not only affect this but also my amenity of living in a very quiet place."

He said as an alternative, he would gladly chip in to buy Mr Spencer a 10-trip ticket for the Waiheke Island Ferry.

Helipads are a non-complying activity in the North Shore District Plan. There are believed to be about three private pads on the North Shore - in Takapuna, Milford and Greenhithe.

Isle Land said the district plan policy stated approval was possible where it can be demonstrated that a site adjoining the coastal marine area can be used as a private helipad without adverse effects on the amenities of the locality.

In considering the application, the council shall have regard to the potential disruption to the amenities of adjacent residential sites and coastal recreation areas in terms of noise, public safety, air turbulence and community expectations for maintaining recreational values.

The application was designed in light of advice from an acoustic engineer about noise and vibration.

The council decided the application should be publicly notified despite the applicant's protest this was not necessary.

The application said it would abide by the "Fly Neighbourly Guide" of the Helicopter Association International and the application had safety approval of the Civil Aviation Authority.

- NZ Herald

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