Every weekend we dig into the archives. This post by John was originally published in September 2016, which isn’t really that long ago in the scheme of things, compared, say, to the length of the career of John Farnham (caution: this post contains multiple 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:
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 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.
2019 UPDATE: Effective from November 2018, and still today as at December 2019, these apartments are being marketed again, although there are no signs of construction yet. We’re still unsure how long the local residents will be looking at each other down the barrel of a gun.