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 The company was pleased with the decision to ‘‘remove historic and outdated planning regulations’’ from the airport land, he said.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’’.