A Hastings company has pleaded guilty to breaching the Resource Management Act by relocating old houses without consent.
Four charges against property developer Shannon Tawhiti were withdrawn yesterday and replaced with a representative charge against his company, SHT Holdings Ltd.
It relates to six homes he was accused of moving illegally onto four Hastings properties.
Lawyer Tony Snell entered a guilty plea on behalf of Tawhiti, a company director, when the matter was called in Hastings District Court yesterday. Tawhiti was not present.
Judge Geoff Rea delayed sentencing until Friday as the council wished to file submissions on the matter.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule told Hawke's Bay Today he was glad Tawhiti had taken responsibility and hoped it would send a message to residents.
"I think that sends a message to people that, actually, you do need a resource consent before you go and do these things."
Tawhiti outraged Mahora residents in January when he relocated three buildings on to a Totara St property in the suburb without the required consent, in a move which also violated housing density rules.
The relocation raised the ire of residents on the street, who were further shocked when the council told them the houses may contain asbestos.
Totara St resident Preston Epplett said he was "surprised" the charges had been replaced with a single representative charge and hoped it wouldn't impact the severity of Tawhiti's sentence.
The Hastings District Council laid charges against Mr Tawhiti, alleging breaches of the Resource Management Act.
The council initially issued an abatement notice requiring the removal of the Totara St houses, but later granted resource consent and dispensation from density rules.
It said in February it had investigated all home relocation work undertaken by Mr Tawhiti in the district and, as a result of that investigation, expected charges would be laid.
It also fined Mr Tawhiti's company $300 in October last year after he illegally moved an ex-state house on to a section in Joll Rd, Havelock North, which was later granted consent.
The developer also moved a house on to a property in Tarbet St, Flaxmere, in January, before removing it in a manner described by local residents as "miraculous".
Mr Tawhiti has previously said he had been involved in about 100 house relocations, with only the Joll Rd and Totara St developments running into consenting problems.