Residents resist council
Character should win out over intensification for one corner of Auckland.
Plans for Onehunga’s Grotto St to be included as one of those earmarked for housing intensification to allow for up to four storeys is likely to be scrapped.
When the draft Unitary Plan was put out for informal consultation earlier this year maps used to show how the city could look in future showed the street would be zoned for terrace housing and apartment buildings, with a fourstorey limit.
Grotto St boasts many heritage bungalows and residents are proud of the community atmosphere in the street – they hold a street party every year.
In May resident James Willoughby raised concerns about the future of the street outlined in the Unitary Plan ( Central Leader, May 3).
‘‘It was not a pleasant surprise when I saw our quiet suburban street is earmarked for the highest form of intensification,’’ he said then.
‘‘We already have a wonderful community and it seems perverse they would want to displace a great community and replace it with something a lot less connected.’’
Those concerns have been heeded, with MaungakiekieTamaki councillor Richard Northey saying he has put forward a much different outcome for inclusion in a revised plan.
He says he has been working closely with planners and local board chairpeople and will be recommending significant changes when the Auckland Plan Committee – made up of the whole council – holds a series of meetings from today until Friday.
The meetings are to decide on changes to the draft Unitary Plan based on feedback from communities.
‘‘We have been analysing all the submissions and have been convinced by the residents of Grotto St that because of its character it and Heretaunga St should not be intensified,’’ he says.
They would instead be zoned for mixed housing – suburban which would allow height limits of only two storeys.
The current permitted limit is for three.
‘‘Unless the council overturns that it will follow local advice,’’ Mr Northey says.
In a last ditch effort to oppose the original plan ahead of this week’s crucial meetings residents and council challenger Denise Krum – Mr Northey’s only competition for the MaungakiekieTamaki council seat – last week hired a cherry picker to illustrate what 10-metre height limits would look like for the area.
It was an opportunity for those who live on the street to have a final say.
‘‘I really like the low-lying aspect of the place,’’ 10-year resident Dennis Williams says.
‘‘If a whole load of grotty apartments start encroaching I would be really put out. There would be years of construction if these things are built, it would be a huge imposition.’’
Neighbour Jacqui agreed.
‘‘I think four storeys in a suburban street is a ridiculous idea.’’
Ms Krum says she is worried about other areas of Onehunga being over-developed too.
‘‘My concern is that the character and connections in close knit communities will be lost.
‘‘The intensity of the density is way too much.’’
How high? Grotto St, Onehunga residents are not pleased with the thought of four storey height limits on their characterful street and used a cherry picker to demonstrate how that might look. Pictured from left are Jacqui Scollay, Dennis Williams, Meredith Willoughby and Abigail Ruijne. Resident James Willoughby and council candidate for Maungakiekie-Tamaki Denise Krum are in the cherry picker.