Caution: this post contains references to John Farnham.

I was updating the Development Tracker recently, and added another one to the list – 9 Farnham Street. It hasn’t made it off the starting blocks yet, despite a couple of attempts.

In 2008, and perhaps for some time before that, 9 Farnham Street was being advertised for a five-storey building, with three floors of office and two penthouse apartments:

9 Farnham Streetview
Source: Google Streetview

The sign was still up in 2009, but sometime after that it was taken down. The GFC put a dampener on new development in a lot of places.

In April 2013, resource consent was granted for 14 apartments, but – shockingly – only 10 carparks. This raised the ire of some local residents, who had their story told in the Herald on 1st April, 2014, the best day of the year for airing public grievances. They decided that they were not gonna sit in silence, and nor were they gonna live with fear.

The three local residents were able to bolster their group with two elected representatives, who help to add gravitas to the obligatory photo of everyone standing in front of the site looking concerned, although sadly only one person out of five had their arms crossed.

A Parnell group is upset about approval for a big new apartment building, saying office workers’ cars already clog their street.

Farnham St residents Jill Tonks, Rosa Volz and Paul O’Connor are angry that a six-storey 14-unit block with only 10 carparks has been permitted to go ahead at 9 Farnham St after Auckland Council approved it on a non-notified basis.

Councillor Mike Lee and Waitemata Local Board member Christopher Dempsey are also concerned.

The article doesn’t specifically say what has the elected representatives “concerned” – maybe the non-notification, maybe the lack of parking, maybe the idea that anyone could put up a building on this pristine site. I’ll simply note that Mike Lee has frequently taken issue with plans or policies for new housing (to be fair, so have many other local representatives, although not to the same extent. Hopefully in the post-Unitary Plan era, we can start to move past this).

Anyway, if it’s the lack of parking that has Mike concerned, I hope that there is much more to concern him in the future. I see the number of new developments being marketed with few (or even no) carparks per unit as a positive sign, and I mean this in the nicest, wanting-to-make-society-as-well-off-as-possible kind of way.

Unfortunately, nothing has quite happened with this development yet. It seems like the apartments were on sale from Nov 2014 – Jul 2015, and were then taken back off the market (the real estate ad says the building has 18 carparks, funnily enough).

The proposed building which was marketed over 2014-2015.

The site changed hands in March this year, and no action since.

Unfortunately, the nature of our local democracy means that if you’re an existing resident with a strong current attachment to the area, you’re the voice. The potential residents – who, I should point out, are all someone’s daughter, all someone’s son – don’t get much chance to say whether they’d like to live there.

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  1. The trick with parking is that if none or lesser is provided the natural assumption is that owners vehicles will end up on the streets. I know your desire is to have owners without cars, but that is a desire, not necessarily a reality as properties change hands.

    1. OMG! Cars parked on a street. When will this madness end?
      People should be FORCED to have car park whether they want it or not. It’s for their own good.

    2. If someone had a car they wanted to park, wouldn’t they then be looking for an apartment with a carpark?
      Can anyone point to a development in Auckland in an area with reasonable to good transit (like Parnell, or CBD, etc) where parking has not been provided, and car chaos ensued on the streets?

    3. So charge for parking on the street?

      Your like a communist trying to plan a perfect bread system. You get all caught up in the details (what if people take too much bread? how do we know where people will buy there bread from? etc) and don’t actually achieve your goals (people starve on the streets because your economic system is fucked up).

    4. There is a simple solution.

      Introduce on-street residents parking permits and time limits. Make it a condition that residents of these apartments will never be able to able to obtain an on-street permit. Anybody who owns a car and lives in one of these apartments will need to pay for permanent off-street parking somewhere nearby. That way the real cost of owning a car in a central suburb falls on the individual who chooses to own the car.

      1. Yeah, its not rocket science. Time limits and charges for on-street parking – that’s pretty much the AT parking strategy.

    5. I agree Ricardo. I just had the same thing with buying a house for a family of five. Turns out the house I bought had only three bedrooms, how was I to know?! Now the excess children will end up sleeping on the kerb. They need to legislate all houses to have five bedrooms cos, you know, properties do change hands.

      If only there was some way to tell if a house had the right facilities for my needs before buying it, but oh well, back to randomly purchasing properties without looking at them first.

  2. As always, if there a problems of pressure on kerbside parking, the better answer is to institute a residents’ parking permit scheme, rather than to try to prevent otherwise desirable redevelopment.

      1. Given the huge delays in the Parnell station and the inadequate service it will provide when it does open (if ever), it would be morally bankrupt for AT to install parking meters. Conflict of interest: I work in the area, the bus takes 90 minutes from West Auckland and the trains from West Auckland won’t stop in Parnell anyway. If the backstreets are metered then I’ll have to quit my job.

        1. It’s very unlucky for you that the massive subsidy that you and your employer currently receive from council needs to end. I have no sympathy for anyone relying on others to subsidise then so heavily when they work next to a train station.

        2. Let me know when they actually build Parnell station and when the Western Line stops at it and you might be close to having a point.

        3. I’d agree with you except that Buttwiz makes the point that Western trains will not stop at Parnell station.
          Maybe only southern train commuters should be working in Parnell, those from west should drive their cars and use the non metered street parking while seeking new employment closer to stations actually served by western trains. 🙂
          Or maybe we just need AT to sort out stopping western trains at Parnell then install parking meters.

        4. Or perhaps westernliners could change train at Newmarket? Rather less drastic than quitting your job because free parking is removed.

        5. teaspoon? for an exciting moment I thought you had inside info on AT making coffee available at west stations or trains.

        6. Newmarket is an option, but then you have to factor in the time to get from the office to there and from home to get to the closest station. It’s also not particularly attractive given how traffic backs up on Parnell Rise in the evenings and the buses are stuck until they reach the Cathedrals. I’m relatively lucky in that I can get to a park and ride if I drive, but it will take me as long to get there as it takes me to get to work in the morning (early starts, w00t).

        7. Buttwizard – You don’t need to get off the train at newmarket and walk to Parnell…. I think the comment meant you could change from a western line service at newmarket to a southern line service and take that from newmarket to parnell…

          Just because western line services don’t stop at a particular station doesn’t mean anything whatsoever. The whole point of the New Network and intergrated fares is to make transfers easy and without a financial disincentive.

        8. But how would buttwizard get from the parnell station to their workplace? They really need to quit their job and find somewhere that they can drive right up to their desk.

        9. But how would butwizard get from the parnell station to their workplace? They really need to quit their job and find somewhere that they can drive right up to their desk.

        10. Teaspoon access from the west sounded delightfully whimsical, Sailor Boy…a touch of Lewis Carrol with overtones of René Magritte. I was going to go on and quote a poem by Shakspeare but then I thought, no, that bastard never quotes mine.

        11. Really? You mean like posing interesting and penetrating questions such as:
          What is the opposite of inane?

        12. @BW69er come on, surely there’s an acceptable rate above zero that you’d be willing to pay for parking. CBD parking starts from $10/day and people pay it without threatening to quit their jobs

        13. There are many more parking buildings in the CBD than in Parnell. There is limited parking on Parnell Rise and the cheapest I’ve seen is $12 at the bottom of the Strand. I’m prepared to pay for parking if it’s in a locked and secure facility (and I know of a couple) but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what will happen to the prices of parking in the area if day-stay parking is moved off the few streets it is currently allowed on.

        14. @BW69er woh invested much, not one single comment is going to slip by unanswered on this topic huh

          My express bus route disappears with the new network but I’ll make it work somehow, probably with a cheap not-worth-stealing bike to the nearest train station. I don’t see the point in trying to dog-manger the rollout just because I lose some convenience.

        15. Actually off-street prices drop when you price free on-street parking. The freeloaders disappear and you increase the overall supply of paid parking which results in increased competition and reduced prices.
          You could also check out one of the parking apps that helps people or businesses to advertise and rent their surplus parking (can be much cheaper rates than commercial providers).

        16. You’re assuming those people have alternatives, which is a flawed approach when it comes to Auckland.

        17. I’m not assuming anyone has alternatives. I’m talking about consequential effects. If you price free on-street parking, off street prices tend to go down. What happens to the people that used to park in the free areas, who knows? Maybe they find other free parking areas further away, maybe they car share, maybe they walk, maybe they cycle, maybe they stay at home, maybe they bus, maybe they start paying… Bottom line is off-street prices go down.

      2. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that free parking isn’t free, but I’m not going to be paying full price for a train ticket am I? The issues people like me have with on-street parking suddenly being removed are actually a huge argument in favour of densification – the more houses, the easier it is to find a place to rent near where you work. But that’s not the case at the moment and the pragmatic reality is that all you’d be doing by removing the parking for office workers around Parnell is making a lot of people collectively poorer, many of whom don’t really have many other options at the moment.

        1. So the pragmatic reality given a lack of densification in Parnell (there is no where for you to rent nearby) is to block densification in Parnell. no more apartments in please, the street parking can’t handle it, and i need to drive because there’s no apartments, because the street parking can’t handle them.

          Sounds like a good way for the city to go nowhere. And a very Mike Lee-esque conclusion (he’s in favour of density and affordable housing except for this one, and that one, and this one here, and that one there, and not in this neighbourhood, or that one, but in principle he’s definitely in favour!)

        2. I didn’t say “don’t build the apartments”. I just tried to remind people that you tend to affect hundreds of people when you suggest time limiting parking.

        3. I agree that time limiting parking is generally an unnecessary inconvenience. Pricing doesnt have to mean time limiting though.

        4. You’re entire argument is ‘this will be a little bit of an inconvenience to me’. Never mind that it is obviously the best way to get the most out of council assets.

  3. Mike Lee, handy as ever to protect the privileges of those poor multi millionaire existing residents to occupy public space. What a bastion of the left he is.

  4. Any politician, let alone one who wishes to be considered some kind of hero for public transport, heritage, and the environment simply cannot be taken seriously opposing urban infill development like this on the basis of insufficient car parking. Anyone shouting for more investment in high quality PT who then fights for more carparking in this kind of location is either profoundly dim or the worst sort of unprincipled vote grabber just hoping no one notices their absurdity.

    Worse still when this happens at the top of a housing crisis. And in the middle of an ongoing environmental disaster that requires us all to stop sprawling and reduce driving as much as possible. This sort of proximate dwelling supply, that does not expand the city’s foorprint into the countryside, is to be encouraged and the selfish locals quietly talked down from their over-entitlement to hogging the public realm. That would be leadership.

  5. Mike Lee is very pro-affordable housing. Obviously requiring ample carparking in the development means the apartments themselves wont be affordable.

    But the on street car parks he just saved will provide many more options for those sleeping in cars. And cars are very affordable.

  6. I’m doing a large development at present and told we have to provide 1 park per 45 m2 of GFA. If it meets the ratio for less parks than homes the better. Should t we be making it difficult for some of these developments to restrict parking?

  7. The residence failed to understand having more people to live increases the economic of scale of the area.
    Which means more shops, more public transport, schools get more specialised teachers and gears.

    I agreed some kind of parking limit should be enforced on some streets. It is up to the buyer to decided whether they need the parking or not.

  8. Parnell is presently serviced by the inner link and a few eastern suburb buses, so by no means a PT desert. Obviously the train station will add to this, along with some cycling upgrades. Not to mention that the walk through the domain is more than pleasant. So with a progressive council, the car park argument might lose a few tyres. “People say that I’m a dreamer…”

  9. If people must have a car they could get a small smart car, hire one, or there is uber, taxis and public transport. It’s an inner city suburb deducted parking is not a given anymore! Auckland has moved on from the 1950s provincial town that it once was. Sheesh.

  10. Great post John – it’s good to keep an eye on outcomes from consent applications. In the current planning environment, the future of the city will be established by thousands of individual decisions like this.

    1. A cleaner would come in the evening or early morning and park in the empty business parking where she cleans and be gone before the masses come. Cleaners don’t usually have parking issues.

    2. A cleaner would come in the evening or early morning and park in the empty business parking where she cleans and be gone before the masses come. Cleaners don’t usually have parking issues.

  11. The consent was modified mid 2014 to introduce a stacked parking system (thus the increase to 18 spaces), increase floor area of the apartments and a new rooftop terrace.

  12. Ok, so you think it should go ahead with insufficient parking, resulting in cars being parked on footpaths and other inappropriate places. Do you promise not to complain when that happens? Mike Lee is against cars on footpaths. Are you?

    Perhaps you could actually provide a solution, if you have one in mind? Driverless cars that drive off after the workers go inside perhaps?

    Insufficient parking is the bane of new developments. Just look at all the housing developments around Auckland where footpaths and lawns are covered in parked cars, because some genius thought it would be a good idea to build homes with a single parking space in a city where most homes have at least two cars.

    Urban design best practice will accomodate transport needs, and that means avoiding cars on footpaths and lawns.

    1. Geoff, you’re simply assuming that one carpark per dwelling is insufficient, which is a flaw in your whole argument. Do you realize that 10% of Auckland households have no car at all, and a further 15% have only one. That’s a full quarter of the housing stock that needs one carpark or less. Indeed 48% of Auckland households only have one or two people in them. The need for more than one carpark in every home is a lot less than you might think from your personal preferences.

      Personally my house only has a single garage, and my household only has one car. That isn’t a coincidence. And quite frankly if you, Mike Lee or Chris Darby want to suggest I should be forced to spend twenty grand building a second garage I don’t need just because that’s your idea of what a house should have, or indeed that I should be forced to pay extra to buy an apartment with more garaging than I want, well quite frankly you can piss off and mind your own business.

    2. “Perhaps you could actually provide a solution”

      I did, up the page; price on street parking. Storing household appliances on council land is a privilege not a right.

    3. So every apartment / unit / household has to provide 2 car parks? Is that what you are trying to say?
      How about offering a choice in housing? I don’t see the need for every single apartment having to provide parking.

  13. Ho Ho Ho, well the world is about entirely end then as this 49-dwelling building by Belgian developers has not one carpark at all, quel horreur!

    Next to a library too; how will people carry books, with their hands? And near two universities; won’t anyone think of the children?

    All right thinking people will have to flee to small towns with steadfast parking minimum regulations, like AKL did in the good old days, when everything was perfect.

    Make Driving Great Again:

  14. Sorry John, five stories – three of offices and two penthouses….? I wouldn’t call that affordable housing. Million dollar plus apartments aren’t going to help us sons and daughters…

    1. In exactly the same way that one vote doesn’t win an election; but thousands of single votes do. The market is undersupplied, all additional supply alters the market, at every price point. And the only way supply can be added is on each site according to its capacity. And if at every opportunity sites like these are blocked those would would have lived here look elsewhere and bid up the remaining fewer properties. Supply is supply.

      1. Of course, I understand this, and am 100% for more density, especially in the city fringe areas. But Parnell being Parnell, just thought the sons and daughters call was a bit unfair. Maybe I’m just naive but these residents care about their neighbourhood, it doesn’t mean that they are deliberately trying to sabotage a generation.

        1. “it doesn’t mean that they are deliberately trying to sabotage a generation.”

          No, it means that they consider an entire generation to be reasonable collateral damage to their capital gains and exclusionary zoning orgy.

  15. Thanks for the post John, and all the work Transport Blog does; there’s clearly a lot involved.

    My husband and I bought an apartment in Newton off-plan earlier this year, with no included carpark. We declined to buy one because it was an extra $60k (we felt that would essentially be our car holding us to ransom!). We do have a car, and when we move in, we intend to park it in a nearby off-street parking garage or see if anyone in the building wants to rent us a carpark (something that commonly happens in the building we presently live in). It’s not rocket science, nor is it uncommon practice around the world.

    Long story short – no need to change your preferred lifestyle for a carpark; no need to change anyone else’s preferred lifestyle because you think they need a carpark. There are many alternatives, and as Auckland grows these will only continue to pop up.

    1. Thanks Hayley, and good on you – I would have done the same, and the idea of having $60K extra on my mortgage to house my $3K car seems a bit odd to me as well! I’ve also found that ‘markets’ for parking spring up in apartments, so you may well be able to rent one as you say, or otherwise nearby.

  16. Regular readers of this blog will see that the contributors regularly travel overseas. This is not because we are all high income earners but rather because none of us spend very much on transport at home, particularly on car ownership and running. It’s a choice of course, but the savings from not surrendering to typical new world auto-dependency are significant, and mean opportunities to enjoy other rewards…. The same goes for housing type and size.

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