Belated approval for cafe owner
$40,000 to appease people ‘with a bee in their bonnet’
Darryl Ellis says it was $40,000 spent to gain nothing, but he’s relieved to get his resource consent.
The straight-talking owner of Ground Up Cafe in Pauatahanui got a retrospective consent from Porirua City Council for the additions and alterations carried out to the cafe in a decision published by an independent commissioner on January 8.
The consent will increase the number of patrons Ground Up Cafe can accommodate from 35 to 65 and provides for 22 car parks at the rear of the cafe.
Hearings held over three days in November at Porirua City Council involved submissions from lawyers, architects, engineers, council officers and Pauatahanui residents.
The owners of the general store and Rural Trading Post, on either side of the cafe, were opposed to the consent being granted, mainly on grounds of parking conflict issues.
Other concerns included increased noise, traffic, dust and, according to more than one submitter, the potential change of character in the village.
Of the 285 submissions received on the consent application, 61 were opposed.
The Pauatahanui Residents Association said the consent would be ‘‘ rewarding a deliberate and illegal activity which has adversely affected the village’’.
Ellis said he didn’t attend the hearings to ‘‘hear people put down someone trying to run a successful business. My application [for consent] was made a year ago and it’s taken that long to get to the point where it was confirmed that things were fine.
‘‘I wouldn’t have been in this position and spent thousands of dollars if it wasn’t for a group of people who have a bee in their bonnet, and made this all very personal.’’
Ellis said locals had been ‘‘hyped up’’ to believe he was planning a major extension, when the consent was a retrospective one.
‘‘Nothing has changed,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve been treated terribly, but I’ve stuck to my guns.’’
Moves like clogging up the car park with haphazardly parked vehicles on a busy day last year did not deter him, he said.
Residents’ association chairman Ken McAdam said last week he had not had a chance to read the commissioner’s decision. But he said if the association was satisfied the traffic, parking and sewage questions had been answered, it was unlikely there would be an appeal to the Environment Court.
Paul Boyack, owner of the Rural Trading Post, declined to comment.
One of the conditions of the consent is that Ellis must pave the car parking area within three months.
Ellis said he bought the business six years ago and a lack of due diligence regarding the Resource Management Act and resource consents on his part had led to the situation.
He hoped his proposal for a boutique shopping precinct for Pauatahanui would get off the ground one day.
The commissioner, Mark St Clair, said in his ruling that matters raised at the hearing that
still were outside his jurisdiction included disputed leases, health regulations, potential future expansion, water supply and wastewater discharges.
Vindicated: Ground Up Cafe owner Darryl Ellis is happy to put the protracted resource consent process behind him.