Chocks away at Ka¯piti Air­port


The hand­brake has come off de­vel­op­ment of 85 hectares of prime land in Para­pa­raumu, af­ter Ka¯piti Coast District Coun­cil eased re­stric­tions in its District Plan.

The rule change will al­low houses, su­per­mar­kets, a de­part­ment store, in­dus­trial units, and mul­ti­ple small food out­lets to be built on land sur­round­ing Ka¯piti Air­port, sub­ject to re­source con­sent.

The change has been crit­i­cised as po­ten­tially frac­tur­ing the district’s ex­ist­ing town cen­tre, and cre­at­ing ‘‘chaos’’ on its busiest road.

Ka¯piti Coast Air­port Hold­ings, a Todd Cor­po­ra­tion com­pany, sought the pri­vate plan change, say­ing only about 40ha of its 125ha site was needed for air­port op­er­a­tions.

The re­main­ing 85ha amounted to ‘‘the sin­gle largest ur­ban land­hold­ing in the Ka¯piti district’’, the com­pany said.

It was ‘‘a sig­nif­i­cant piece of eas­ily de­vel­opable land, owned by a will­ing in­vestor, lo­cated mid­way be­tween the town cen­tre and the beach and ... eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble from the ex­press­way’’.

Ka¯piti Coast District coun­cil- lors ap­proved the rec­om­men­da­tion by a hear­ing panel, which said the con­sent process was the best place to deal with the im­pacts of any de­vel­op­ment.

Coast­lands mall, which would be a com­peti­tor to any new busi­nesses, sub­mit­ted against drop­ping ex­ist­ing pro­hi­bi­tions around the air­port.

Di­rec­tor Richard Mansell said it was tak­ing le­gal ad­vice on whether it would ap­peal against the de­ci­sion. It has 30 work­ing days to do so.

Coast­lands was in­side the Para­pa­raumu town cen­tre zone, while the air­port land was out­side. But the open­ing of the Ka¯piti ex­press­way, and rel­e­ga­tion of the old State High­way 1 to a lo­cal road, has led to a per­ceived shift in ex­actly where the town cen­tre now lies.

Mansell said there would be ‘‘chaos’’ on Ka¯piti Rd, which runs along­side the air­port. It al­ready car­ries more than 25,000 ve­hi­cles a day, and is the busiest lo­cal road in the district.

Todd Prop­erty man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Evan Davies said a wide cor­ri­dor of land had al­ready been re­served for fu­ture road widen­ing along Ka¯piti Rd. The com­pany was pleased with the de­ci­sion to ‘‘re­move his­toric and out­dated plan­ning reg­u­la­tions’’ from the air­port land, he said.

‘‘There was no op­po­si­tion to our ap­pli­ca­tion ex­pressed by the wider com­mu­nity. The main op­po­si­tion came from trade com­peti­tors and their sup­port­ers.’’

Davies did not say how many homes could be built, but said the lift­ing of pro­hi­bi­tions in the area known as Ka¯piti Land­ing did not al­low a mall to be built.

About 52,000 peo­ple cur­rently live in the Ka¯piti district – a num­ber that is ex­pected to rise to more than 63,000 in the next 25 years.

Ka¯piti Coast District Coun­cil se­nior man­ager Nicki Williams said there would be no sud­den large-scale de­vel­op­ments with­out strin­gent re­source con­sent.

‘‘That’s where the traf­fic as­sess­ment is go­ing to come in. Any ap­pli­ca­tion, if they de­cide they want to build a de­part­ment store or a su­per­mar­ket ... they will now have to go through the re­source con­sent process.’’

Coun­cil strat­egy and plan­ning group man­ager Sarah Steven­son ex­pected the Coast­lands and Ka¯piti Land­ing sites to de­velop as quite dif­fer­ent re­tail ex­pe­ri­ences.

At the air­port zone, shop­pers could go to ‘‘big box’’ stores, get a ham­burger or pick up gro­ceries, while the area around Coast­lands would have bou­tique stores, where shop­pers could ‘‘buy your clothes, your shoes, your makeup’’, and was close to com­mu­nity ameni­ties.

She said case law com­pelled the coun­cil to drop the pro­hi­bi­tions and al­low re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tions.

Ka¯piti Mayor K Gu­runathan said both Coast­lands and Ka¯piti Land­ing were im­por­tant to the town, and needed a level play­ing field for de­vel­op­ment. He sug­gested Ka¯piti Rd traf­fic could be eased by a new road from Ihakara St.

The NZ Trans­port Agency ini­tially sub­mit­ted against the plan change based on its traf­fic im­pact around the ex­press­way in­ter­change, but with­drew its op­po­si­tion, in­stead seek­ing tight­ened con­sent­ing con­trols.

Spokesman Andy Knack­st­edt said the agency was ‘‘still as­sess­ing the out­comes of the de­ci­sion and any po­ten­tial im­pacts on the trans­port net­work’’.

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