The long running battle to develop land at Orakei Point has finally come to an end with the plan change enabling the development finally operative. Bob Dey reports:
Plan change 260 for Orakei Point – now Orakei Bay Village – won its final approval to be made operative on Tuesday, completing an often acrimonious regulatory journey that began in 2006.
The plan change was originally sought from Auckland City Council by Tony Gapes (Redwood Group Ltd) to develop 5.9ha around the Orakei railway station, at the foot of Remuera, for an upmarket community of up to 1600 people.
Well placed Remuera locals fought the proposal and, in 2009, then-mayor John Banks took the masterplan to a community meeting, then made it a council-sponsored plan change. The plan change rezones 4.7ha to a site-specific mixed-use zone and the remaining 1.2ha to open space 2, enabling a masterplanned “seaside village”. Provisions were structured so the site would be developed as a comprehensive whole – except that, when it was publicly notified in January 2010, Mr Gapes didn’t control the whole site.
The new Auckland Council approved the plan change with conditions in April 2011, but 3 appellants took it to the Environment Court. The council’s Auckland development committee approved the plan change on Tuesday after the court resolved the appeals.
I’ve long thought that the site was ideal for development as it is fairly close to town with excellent amenities including of course an existing train station which will only become more and more useful and frequent with electrification and then the CRL. As part of the development, the railway lines and station will be capped. I’m sure Auckland Transport will work with the developers to make the station something special and unique. There is also to be space for a third track through the development.
In the report to the councils development committee it says.
The overall intention of the plan change is that a development lid be placed over the railway corridor at Orakei Point, and the covered area be utilised for roads, plazas, commercial and residential use with open space and walkways around the periphery. Key features of the notified plan change were:
- provision of up to 84,000m2 gross floor area of mixed use development, comprising 64,000m2 of residential (about 700 apartments), a maximum of 10,000m2 each for retail and office activities, and a maximum of 1,750 parking spaces
- maximum building heights, public open space areas, and special tree protection areas
- assessment criteria particularly focused on high quality urban design, connections with public transport, open space and sustainability
- a comprehensive package of development controls to limit the overall height and bulk of the built form to within defined envelopes, and to ensure specific features on the Master Plan are achieved
- a staging table to secure certain public amenities and infrastructure prior to development of each precinct
- four overlay plans applying development controls i.e. maximum heights, site intensity and staging, veranda cover, and traffic and pedestrian links, to the land.
Following on from the appeals and environment court action there have been some changes to the original decision by the council. They include:
- a revised masterplan, with smaller buildings, a secondary road network added to the main link road, larger shared spaces and plazas, and increased veranda cover along key pedestrian connections
- amended order of staging of the development precincts, bring forward a new railway station building and plaza in the first stage of development. These changes do not trigger the need for additional traffic and road improvements
- a requirement to vest an esplanade reserve with a minimum depth of 20m in Council Item 10 Auckland Development Committee 11 March 2014
- reverse sensitivity covenants, and new internal noise standards for buildings to mitigate the adverse effects of rail noise
- greater protection for trees within the special tree protection areas by way of resource consent for works which will result in removal of more than 5% of the canopy of any tree, or the removal of three or more trees, or the significant adverse effects on three or more trees.
The developers have already been selling apartments and terraced houses based on the environment court decision, here are some of their marketing images of what the developments will look like.