Posted on June 10, 2015
Only a tiny number of resource consents are actually notified. In April, Auckland Council received around 1,200 consent requests and it notified that month only 60. Yet, these contested consents consume a significant amount of time, cost and effort. And for all those that get notified, there are many more not notified that locals would have liked to comment on. But increasing number of contested consent hearings is not the answer.
For two days this week, a group of locals in Remuera have been battling a new petrol station in their area. It’s a ‘non-complying’ development under the current district plan – which you would think means it is not allowed. But non-complying just means applicants have to demonstrate that the effects of the new development are not so bad. These are usually one-sided affairs with the applicant providing consultants to explain their position, and the local community often not as well funded.
This issue will likely worse with the Unitary Plan where significant changes are contemplated around Auckland – with many locals unaware of what may happen. Auckland needs to grow and that means we will need to make changes to how we develop. But we need a better way of engaging communities at the start of big plan changes, actually enlisting their help in what the challenges and options are. The answer can’t be more contested resource consent hearings. But it will be, if we don’t learn from cities like Vancouver that let their residents actually help build their city. Vancouver achieved remarkable increased density by doing this.