Todd Property is today advancing $1.4 billion plans to build up to 1000 new homes on land where that development is now barred.
A new website this morning spells out intentions for its $48 million 130ha North Shore Okura site outside Auckland's metropolitan boundary.
The land is north of Todd's 2000-residence Long Bay project where Todd Property chief executive Evan Davies says around 400 homes are already built.
But Todd wants its Okura land included within city boundaries so it can build a large-scale development.
"On the edge of Auckland city, next to the thriving community of Long Bay, a unique housing development has been proposed," the site says.
The site emphasises how the business will protect the marine reserve, extend the Long Bay Regional Park and provide access to the beach from its land, now subdivided into large lots.
Davies says the scheme will greatly improve public access, development will be undertaken carefully and the marine environment improved.
"The proposal we're advancing deals responsibly with the concerns that some sectors of the community have expressed about risk to the marine and associated environments," Davies said.
Niwa marine ecologists assessed potential affects and concluded the project would cause no "adverse effects on the biodiversity of the Okura Estuary or in the marine reserve", the website says.
Todd put its plans to the Unitary Plan hearings panel, which recommended a plan change. Auckland Council officials then recommended to the governing body that the panel's recommendation be accepted.
But the governing body voted against both recommendations ...
See the site:
To get its plans approved, Todd's Okura Holdings, represented by Sue Simons of Berry Simons, is headed to the Environment Court against the council, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, the Long Bay-Okura Great Park Society, Okura Environmental Group and Weiti Development Limited Partnership.
If the court allows the scheme, Todd plans that 42 per cent of the site, worth $20 million, would be transferred into public ownership, Davies said.
Pete Townend, Great Park society deputy convener, vehemently opposes housing on the land and says a parkland or public access offer is no trade-off.
"The problem is the impact of putting 1000 houses on there. It turns the green-belt area into another urban strip with a grassland above the estuary and it's not an area where the general public will rush down to go swimming.
"It's an area where very rare birds are feeding and reproducing. The regional park goes up to the estuary and most people don't realise the park is already extended, so that area would be heavily impacted by any new development.
"The Okura walkway has up to 70,000 people a year and those people look out onto an estuarine and rural environment. That would be changed and we haven't met anyone who said 'oh, that'll improve the area'. They say the opposite: 'We can't let that happen, that'll ruin it!' As Auckland expands, how do we protect the existing recreational space for Aucklanders?" Townend asked.
Construction could cause major pollution, he said, particularly during and after rain. Dogs and cats and lack of mass permeable areas were other concerns if housing rises, he said, criticising a lack of a national coastline plan and worrying about court costs and the impending legal challenge brought against a community not as well-resourced as Todd.
• Todd Property owns a 130ha rural block outside Auckland's northern city limits
• The Okura block is near Vaughans Rd, North Shore
• $1.4b 750-1000-residence scheme planned
• Environment Court case pending
• Todd website launched today
• Opponents cite environmental/ecological fears
• They are opposing Todd in court