Controversial plans for a three-storey public housing block in central Kerikeri have been dropped in favour of a two-storey building with fewer apartments and more parking spaces.
The original proposal sparked widespread concerns. Just under 800 people turned up for the biggest public meeting in Kerikeri’s history, with another 375 following the event online.
Objectors cited the high density, the effects on a planned ring road and the lack of green space. They also worried about the effects on the town’s “social fabric” and residential developments taking over scarce commercial land.
On Thursday afternoon, Kāinga Ora (formerly Housing NZ) revealed that property developer Gemscott had modified its plans by reducing the size of the development from 12 apartments over three storeys to eight apartments over two storeys.
The parking layout had also been changed, creating space for two more cars.
It was revealed that the modified plan had already obtained resource consent from the Far North District Council.
Kāinga Ora Northland regional director Jeff Murray said the revised proposal reflected community feedback.
”We listened to a lot of feedback on this proposal, and in particular to queries about why a town the size of Kerikeri would need three-level apartments, and about safety concerns related to insufficient car parking on a relatively busy road.
“The changes mean we’re giving up four homes in the short-term, but I’m confident this demonstrates to the community that we can have genuine conversations about public housing in Kerikeri, and progress our other proposals in due course.”
The modified resource consent was lodged on May 24.
Given it was a modified version of a resource consent application already under consideration, it was not surprising the council was able to turn it around quite quickly, Murray said.
Gemscott project manager Tim Jennings said the revised design was better for the changes.
The consented design had eight two-bedroom units over two levels, with 16 car parks provided on-site and a truck turning bay. The overall landscaping area had also been increased.
The four ground-floor units would be fully wheelchair accessible.
The company would also update its plans for 5 Clark Rd and 4 King St and continue the consenting process later this month.
The original plans mooted 14 duplex townhouses across the two properties.
Murray said Kāinga Ora and Gemscott were still exploring options for those two sites and the consent applications remained on hold.
There was no timeline as yet for the construction of the apartment building at 3 Clark Rd.
Community groups Our Kerikeri and Vision Kerikeri, which organised the public meeting, have been approached for comment.