The decision in the Nola Development application
The application for development of the Nola site in Oratia has been approved by the hearings panel.
The application involves 236 residential terraced units, 98 of which are KiwiBuild, on a 4.3 hectare site. Individual lot sizes will be 150 square metres or so. The application was revised after initial responses were filed and ten units were removed from the original application and some urban design proposals from Council were implemented.
There are some good aspects to the development. It is affordable housing and there are 504 bike parks. Car use should be reduced.
The development is problematic. It is in an area zoned single house dwellings and anticipated minimum lot sizes are 400 square metres. It is outside the standard walkable distance from the Sunnyvale Train Station which is the commonly accepted zone. A walkable cachment is about 900 metres from the station and this development is about 1.3 kilometers from Sunnyvale.
The Board submitted on the revised application.
Even though we thought the changes improved the project we still opposed to the development, primarily on the basis that the level of intensity is out of all proportion to the surrounding area and too close to the edge of the city. And the area is already designated for intensive redevelopment in a corridor surrounding the train line. As well as this we do not think the local infrastructure, particularly schools and parks, could cope.
The application was fast tracked under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020, designed to see us through an anticipated economic slump by fast tracking and supporting applications that created jobs. I previously thought that this could be the difference between success and failure.
The panel placed heavy reliance on the fact that the application qualified as an Integrated Residential Development which have separate rules under the Unitary Plan and allow for greater intensification.
The decision said:
As a general observation, we consider that the opportunity to undertake an IRD-type development on the Site, as provided for by the SHZ provisions, will, if not by necessity then in all likelihood, result in a different form of development than one that adopts the ‘normal’ subdivision approach for the zone.
The question is then whether the form and scale of the Proposal, as a largely residential development, is appropriate for the Site and its context. In this regard, we accept, as did the UDP, that the overall arrangement of the development, which clusters the higher three-storey units towards the centre of the Site and generally arranges the two-storey units to the Site interfaces with
adjacent street and property boundaries, is an acceptable and logical approach in this case.
we have reached the overall finding that the Proposal does achieve a satisfactory level of integration with its neighbourhood, and although this could in our view be improved upon, a requirement for such further change would go beyond what we have determined to be necessary with respect to the tests that apply via the FTA and RMA.
The application has to be given effect to within 2 years but my perception is that preliminary work is well advanced.
Provision of affordable housing is good and the development is designed to enhance alternatives to the use of cars. But I still have concerns about how local infrastructure will handle the development and this highlights the need to ensure the preservation of green areas.