There are concerns a developer has found a loophole allowing apartment blocks to be built in Auckland streets zoned for single-houses only.
Sino Dutch Developments Ltd has made an application to build a four-storey, 10-unit block on the harbour front at 2 Tizard Rd in Birkenhead - a street zoned for single-houses.
But a planner employed by the Birkenhead Residents Association says the application has been lodged under a clause in Auckland's Unitary Plan - the city's main planning document - intended to allow retirement villages to be built, rather than apartment blocks.
Local Richard Bourke is worried about it happening elsewhere too.
"It's precedent setting - if this goes through, all bets are off because almost anything at all can go through," he said.
Bourke said the land up for development was the same site where a number of pohutukawa trees died after locals found them riddled with suspicious holes.
Another concern with development on the site was whether the trees that lined the shoreline would be cut down, he said.
A large building on the point at Birkenhead - which juts into the harbour near the Harbour Bridge - would also be highly visible both from the land and the water, Bourke said.
"It's an ecologically significant area and for that development to go ahead they will have to remove the bush cover and it will have a big impact on the environment," he said.
"Then you've got all the visibility effects - it's right at the end of the point and it will have a high visible impact on the environment, irrespective of where you are, whether you are looking at it from the town side or from the harbour side."
The Birkenhead Residents Association had planned to discuss the development at its annual meeting last week with a council representative in attendance.
Sino Dutch Developments representative Bernard Reuters did not wish to comment.
Auckland Council's manager resource consents north Ian Dobson said a decision won't be made until all steps are completed in the "resource consent process".
"With the submissions phase complete, we are now working on a thorough assessment of the proposal, known as the hearings report," he said.
"The report includes a summary and analysis of the submissions received, as well as council's recommendation for or against the consent.
"Both the applicant and submitters will also have the opportunity to put forward their views to independent commissioners at a hearing, who will then make the final decision."
Under council rules, buildings that "infringe" on a standard planning rule in the Unitary Plan - such as apartment blocks in single-house zones - automatically trigger the need for a resource consent.
It is this process that has been triggered in the case of the Tizard St development.