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Environment Court rejects 460ha Waimauku Estate development

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  • Environment Court rejects 460ha Waimauku Estate development

    Environment Court rejects 460ha Waimauku Estate development

    Jazial Crossley | Tuesday August 18 2009 - 12:40pm
    A proposed development that would have housed triple the number of people already based in Waimauku has been rejected by the Environment Court, leaving the developers unsure what the site’s future will be.
    The development was first proposed by Rick Martin’s company Cornerstone, which built Orewa’s Nautilus apartments and the Sentinel in Takapuna.
    Cornerstone sold the 460ha section to Malory Corporation last year.
    With 1,375 properties the subdivision proposed for the site aimed to house up to 3000 people, when the current population of Waimauku is only 930.
    The proposal for the subdivision was rejected by Rodney District Council in September 2008 because it was considered inconsistent with the area’s Structure Plan which outlined only limited growth in the area.
    Malory Corporation appealed the council decision to the Environment Court, but it was rejected there because it found the council was justified in turning down the proposal.
    Rodney District Council manager of district planning Peter Vari said consultation with local Waimauku residents regarding the Structure Plan that a preference to limit growth and retain the town’s rural character was expressed by most.
    “The Court’s decision noted that, on hearing of the developer’s proposal, the ‘Vision Waimauku’ group, which represents local residents, petitioned the Council not to permit the development,” Mr Vari said.
    “The Court reported that it was the view of the Chairperson of the Vision Waimauku Group that, “the general population of Waimauku support the approach of the Council and that it represents appropriate response to the issues of the area.”
    Malory Corporation director Sean Parsons is also director of Mutual Finance, Mutual Home Loans
    “We are just going to consider our options and I think we will perhaps revisit an application,” Mr Parsons said.
    When asked if it was likely Malory Corporation would appeal the Environment Court decision or reapply with a scaled back proposal, Mr Parsons would not comment.
    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/environ...lopment-108430
    "There's one way to find out if a man is honest-ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is a crook." Groucho Marx

  • #2
    Great, constrain the use of land and then wonder why we have a housing bubble occurring.
    "Smart Growth", now theres an oxymoron.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by captaincrab View Post
      Great, constrain the use of land and then wonder why we have a housing bubble occurring.
      "Smart Growth", now theres an oxymoron.
      No thats not a fair comment.. Councils have to plan their infrastructure well in advance. Once someone decides to build say 1,000 homes in an area it is no good waiting years to have a road put there.

      As a result Council sets aside areas were intensive development can occur either because the existing infrastructure can cope or because they have planned new infrstructure for that area (paid for by Development contributions)..

      Just because someone finds 400ha of cheap land and wants to make a fortune by developing it into residential sections dosnt mean that they should.

      General tip: When buying anywhere go the the local council or ask an elected member what if any developments are planned for that area. It might be something that adds value or it might not. (Prisons and landfills being among the less desirable projects..)

      Russell

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Shalodge View Post
        Just because someone finds 400ha of cheap land and wants to make a fortune by developing it into residential sections dosnt mean that they should.
        While I agree with that statement, it's the underlying message or mentality that is so prevalent with council staff.

        The mentality is "This person is going to make lots of money on this project. We therefore need to put as many barriers in the way as possible, get them to pay us as much as possible and we need to think of as many ways of doing this as possible. In this way we will be ensuring they don't make too much money (best to share the money around everyone) and that we aren't seen to be helping them make money. Because as socialists (and all council staff are socialists) it goes against our fundamental idealogies."

        Tell me I'm wrong Shalodge.

        David
        Squadly dinky do!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Davo36 View Post
          While I agree with that statement, it's the underlying message or mentality that is so prevalent with council staff.

          The mentality is "This person is going to make lots of money on this project. We therefore need to put as many barriers in the way as possible, get them to pay us as much as possible and we need to think of as many ways of doing this as possible. In this way we will be ensuring they don't make too much money (best to share the money around everyone) and that we aren't seen to be helping them make money. Because as socialists (and all council staff are socialists) it goes against our fundamental idealogies."

          Tell me I'm wrong Shalodge.

          David
          Unfortunately you are not wrong .. There is that "culture" within most Councils are I despise it. The combination of "nanny state" and greed pervades these empires. 9 years of Helen have strengthened and reinforced the idealogy. It stinks!

          But good planning is still necessary ....

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Russell,
            My point is that if Councils were less restrictive about the use of land then the developer would not be able to make a fortune out of selling it. Because if there is plenty of supply then prices would be modest. As it stands now, because it is so hard to do, then after the developer has gone through years and years (literally) of Consent applications he has to charge high prices to recover his cost.
            If you want affordable housing then the price of land has to reflect that. The cost of building is pretty much fixed so its land that has to come down.
            Also its the developer who pays for the roads not the Council. It would take months not years.
            I know this developer also wanted to build his own train station on this site for commuters which is very green of him but that was disallowed too.
            The demnd for houses is there but all the Council is doing though restircting supply is ensuring high prices for land.
            Hence my comment that Smart Growth is an oxymoron. It aint smart.
            To find out more how this works against us all I suggest you read some of Owen McShanes research.

            Comment


            • #7
              Davo, quite right about Councils. Councils also have their own agendas. If you look at the attached article it could be presumed the Council are stifling competition....

              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/ar...ectid=10579388

              Comment


              • #8
                Cripes, I thought you'd argue the point. I wasn't sure I was quite right in what I was saying. It's depressing to hear it confirmed!

                I agree that good planning is needed though. I actually find it quite heartening that each council has a district plan which details what can be done and where. As long as this is put together with the public's input then that would seem to be the fairest situation possible.
                Squadly dinky do!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by captaincrab View Post
                  Davo, quite right about Councils. Councils also have their own agendas. If you look at the attached article it could be presumed the Council are stifling competition....

                  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/ar...ectid=10579388
                  Well at the very least, they're kind of controlling it aren't they?

                  So they are talking about opening up some more land for industrial use which I guess is good.

                  12,000 jobs in New Lynn? No way, there wouldn't be that many working there now.
                  Squadly dinky do!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by captaincrab View Post
                    Hi Russell,
                    My point is that if Councils were less restrictive about the use of land then the developer would not be able to make a fortune out of selling it. Because if there is plenty of supply then prices would be modest. As it stands now, because it is so hard to do, then after the developer has gone through years and years (literally) of Consent applications he has to charge high prices to recover his cost.
                    If you want affordable housing then the price of land has to reflect that. The cost of building is pretty much fixed so its land that has to come down.
                    Also its the developer who pays for the roads not the Council. It would take months not years.
                    I know this developer also wanted to build his own train station on this site for commuters which is very green of him but that was disallowed too.
                    The demnd for houses is there but all the Council is doing though restricting supply is ensuring high prices for land.
                    Hence my comment that Smart Growth is an oxymoron. It aint smart.
                    To find out more how this works against us all I suggest you read some of Owen McShanes research.
                    This is a common argument and I hear it a lot..

                    The fact is that Council's plan areas of land for residential development based on 3 things..

                    1. The efficient use of land and the needs/wants of residents. We should not be using fertile land for housing (but it goes on .. eg Tauranga where kiwifruit orchards are pulled out to make way for housing developments)..

                    2. The cost of services and infrustructure. Maximising the existing instrstructure is the most efficient if it has capacity and keeping the cost of new services to a minimum. Road building, water and waste water reticulation are expensive..

                    3. Environmental concerns and safety are now gaining more traction. Sea level rise, flooding and landslip are factors..

                    Developers tend to look at the $ while councils dont. These extreme opposite positions cause much of the friction.. I push for more understanding of both positions..

                    Developers have often 'discovered' large hunks of great land, reasonably priced, great views, and easy to develop only to come up against a Council more concerned with the 3 things I have mentioned.

                    When the dust settles council usually wins but now and again I see council's working with developers and giving in to achieve development in areas struggling for growth on the basis of "build it and they will come".

                    There is a lot in this topic...
                    Last edited by Shalodge; 19-08-2009, 11:07 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shalodge View Post
                      This is a common argument and I hear it a lot..

                      The fact is that Council's plan areas of land for residential development based on 3 things..

                      1. The efficient use of land and the needs/wants of residents. We should not be using fertile land for housing (but it goes on .. eg Tauranga where kiwifruit orchards are pulled out to make way for housing developments)..

                      2. The cost of services and infrustructure. Maximising the existing instrstructure is the most efficient if it has capacity and keeping the cost of new services to a minimum. Road building, water and waste water reticulation are expensive..

                      3. Environmental concerns and safety are now gaining more traction. Sea level rise, flooding and landslip are factors..

                      Developers tend to look at the $ while councils dont. These extreme opposite positions cause much of the friction.. I push for more understanding of both positions..

                      Developers have often 'discovered' large hunks of great land, reasonably priced, great views, and easy to develop only to come up against a Council more concerned with the 3 things I have mentioned.

                      When the dust settles council usually wins but now and again I see council's working with developers and giving in to achieve development in areas struggling for growth on the basis of "build it and they will come".

                      There is a lot in this topic...
                      It is interesting that in the US some cities are reducing their size to reduce cost. Development in the outer reaches means more services for the city to pay for with less people/sq km. It is not only roads but sewer, storm water and drinking water. In Hamilton a developer wanted to leap frog the steady march or development of the North East sector and they had to pay for the services themselves and 'sell' it back to the council later (at cost) when the rest of the development caught up. Without this the council (and the rest of the rate payers) would have been up for significantly more cost. I don't believe that the council tries to stop development just because someone is trying to make a buck. They have a plan that is widely circulated and debated then agreed.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Russel, the points you raise are quite valid and I hear them a lot too.... The answer is actually in between.
                        Heres an article from Owen which illustrates the point. I'll dig out some stuff on the City of Houston and how they do it. It is an interesting area to discuss and if we ever want to have affordable housing then the system has to change as it isnt working the way it is now. The current system creates false limits and hence false pricing (as in higher than it need be)
                        I'm actually a fan of allowing low rise apartment building in suburbs like Mt Eden, Kingsland, Mt Albert, especially close to railway lines
                        http://www.rmla.org.nz/publications_...%20McShane.pdf

                        It has been well proven that cities which follow smart growth policies are those which have suffered the most from the housing bubble and the collapse of values. California has the same system as Auckland for example. Values become artifically inflated.
                        http://www.newgeography.com/content/...ing-california
                        Last edited by captaincrab; 19-08-2009, 02:38 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Good stuff CC. While planning is at the heart of our community's structure it is not at the top of the tree. Ecconomics is.. We can dream all we like about biodiverse efficient communities, vibrant and healthy, but the reality is different.. $$ rules..

                          Affordable housing is desperately needed in my area anyway. The range of standards is now becoming embarrasing.. HNZ is not making much headway IMHO..
                          Million dollar homes grace leafy suburban street while 30Km away children live in desperate squalor. in cold and damp houses... Is this what we all want in this country??

                          Oh there is all sorts of argument and hand wringing about the cause of this but very little action.. The Govt changes to the RMA to allow affordable housing conditions in development consents has not been picked up.

                          Councils are flat out redistributing revenue through rating and revenue policies but the geese are squealing and the golden eggs are getting scarcer. This will lead to unrest and is one of the causes behind Maori activisim IMHO..

                          There has to be a greater fundamental change in the way we do business and some of the sacred cows of the current financial system may have to be shot .. (Capital gains tax anyone?)

                          I hope this helps explain why Councils may be leaning towards socialist policies. I see the looks when more sprawling leafy seaside subdivisions are proposed while hovels are falling down next door. This attitude flows through when staff deal with these consent applications..they cant hide it...

                          I dont blame them but I am in politics because I think there must be a better way. Its all very well saying they made their beds, let them lie in them but we have to be prepared to take that all they way ...but we dont.. Ambulances are never much good at the bottom of cliffs..

                          If we are going to hand out $billions on health and welfare then maybe we should address the fundamental causes because what we are doing is obviously unsustainable... or are we doomed to cycles of conflict...??

                          Russell

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Great discussion. I'm involved with Habitat For Humanity which helps people in the poverty trap to build and buy homes. A hand up not a hand-out. Ten year process for a family to prove themselves.

                            Charities and even HNZ struggle to find affordable land anywhere. Anything really cheap can mean no jobs in the locality.

                            Personally I have a great deal of sympathy with councils. I'm lucky(??) enough to be a ratepayer in a tourist area which means picking up the tab for shoddy development work. Often this doesn't become apparent until 10 years later by which time the developers are long gone.

                            Time and time again I've seen small councils bend to developers pressure based on the mantra that "growth" is inevitable. I'd far rather see considered planning than the hotchpotch system we have in NZ at present.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks Russell,
                              Since you are interested in the economics of planning heres a submission to Treasury about it. Its 1996 but given the bubbles which have occured since then its probably prescient (Did Kieren read it?-heh) Sorry for the 120 page length.

                              http://www.rmastudies.org.nz/documents/ResBankF.pdf

                              Ive recently spent some time in tauranga looking for sections for new build investment stock. Land prices mean the end product is usually 380-420k. Far too high to be of any use as rents are low and the numbers dont work.

                              Comment

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