Independent planners have recommended to the Whangārei District Council to give a controversial state housing project in the city the green light.

However, independent commissioners who will hear the application by Housing NZ for a 37 house subdivision at Pururi Park Rd, Maunu, do not have to accept the recommendation.

The recommendation precedes a planned three-day meeting from September 18 to 20 in Whangārei where independent commissioners will hear oral submissions from people who oppose or support the Puriri Park Rd housing development.

Housing New Zealand has applied for resource consents to build 37 mostly one- and two-bedroom houses on a section of bare land on Puriri Park Rd zoned for residential housing.

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The applications, lodged with WDC and NRC in May, includes construction of 15 one-bedroom duplexes, four two-bedroom duplexes, one three-bedroom standalone house, six three-bedroom duplexes, eight four-bedroom duplexes and three five-bedroom standalone homes.

Of the 346 written submissions WDC received, 340 opposed the proposed development while eight out of 10 submitters to NRC are against Housing New Zealand's plan.

Eighty-five submitters will speak before the hearing commissioners at next month's meeting.

Dianne Reader, spokeswoman for lobby group Puriri Park and Maunu Residents Society, said she would need to see the planners' recommendation before commenting.

The society has raised $45,000 to hire a town planner, lawyer and urban designer to fight Housing New Zealand's consent application.

The proposed housing development is a discretionary activity under the Resource Management Act (RMA) which means the WDC may grant or refuse Housing NZ's application.

If it grants the application, a wide range of conditions may be imposed to mitigate any adverse effects from the proposed development.

In their recommendation, independent planners Haines Consulting Group is of the view the actual and potential effects on the environment, traffic, and infrastructure in and around Puriri Park Rd from the new state houses will be minor.

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"Overall, the residential development is of a good quality that will contribute positively to the character and amenity values of the site and the neighbouring environment, including the landscape of Puriri Park Rd and the proposed internal road," the planners said.

Loss of property values in the area or perceived anti-social behaviour as a result of the construction of state houses were not relevant matters under consideration under the RMA, WDC planners said.

They said the perception by those against the development that open space was being taken away from the public was incorrect as the proposed site has maintained residential zoning for more than 35 years.

The site on which new state houses will be built on Puriri Park Rd, subject to approval by independent hearing commissioners. Photo / Michael Cunningham
The site on which new state houses will be built on Puriri Park Rd, subject to approval by independent hearing commissioners. Photo / Michael Cunningham

On concerns by some submitters that public consultation was inadequate, they said there was no obligation to consult although it was considered best practice.

"Public notification of the application has provided the public the opportunity to confirm its views on the proposed development.

"Under the RMA, there is no requirement to consider possible alternative locations when applying for and assessing a resource consent application, unless it is likely that the
proposal will result in significant adverse effects on the environment."

Haines Consulting said the site layout, design of units and the landscape, and open space created a quality on-site facility that would meet the needs of future residents.

A decision by independent commissioners David Hill and Alan Withy on the outcome of the resource consents will be released within 15 working days of the close of the hearing.