An editorial in the NZ Herald last week, titled “Nimbyism goes bananas as housing intensifies“, introduced Herald readers to a couple of acronyms that go along with the now-familiar NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard):
“bananas” (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone)
“cave” dwellers (citizens against virtually everything).
The editorial made the point that NIMBYism is caused by lack of new housing in some places, as much as by the arrival of new housing in others:
The not-in-my-backyard objections have been forced on areas by concessions to other residents’ appeals that intensification doesn’t occur in their backyards. [emphasis added]
It was illustrated with a proposed housing development in Beach Haven on the North Shore that will add 81 new homes – 18 studios, 39 one-bedrooms, and 24 two-bedrooms – to a 7000 sq metre section in the middle of a residential block that’s home to both single-family houses and three-storey apartments.
(The resource consent is open for submissions until Friday 3 February 2023.)
The Beach Haven development hit the headlines again yesterday, and going by a Stuff article about a recent meeting of 180 concerned locals, you’d think the sky was falling:
One of the attendees fought back tears. “Two-thirds of these apartments are singles or studios which means bedroom commuters who are not going to be a part of this community or have any connection,” she said.
“I love this f…ing village with all my heart and I don’t want to see it change.”
Another member of the crowd claimed the waste pipes in Beach Haven were too small deal with the scale of the proposed development.
“It was never set up for this multi-storey bullshit. The pipe is too bloody small and if the developer wants to come and build a monstrosity here, they can pay to replace it.”
A woman in the crowd said she had been used to seeing the same houses on her daily commute and didn’t want the area to change
“Can’t they build on green land that’s 10 minutes up the motorway? I don’t understand why they’re coming to Beach Haven, we’re not an apartment community,” she said.
Crispin Robertson, who organised the meeting, was also concerned that the area wasn’t right for young singles. “There’s no supermarket or café here for them,” he said. [emphasis added]
People on social media had a field day, and in the process made a number of good points:
At first I thought this development should go ahead in order to provide more housing options for younger people during a housing crisis but I admit I hadn't realised it might mean this woman has to look at different houses during her morning drive https://t.co/tOWHBpICXF pic.twitter.com/xr1WNqUfSk
— Hayden Donnell (@HaydenDonnell) January 23, 2023
Beach Haven isn't some magical little autarchic village: it's a normal, car-dependant commuter suburb that most people leave for work. https://t.co/ZzIDsPzRMN pic.twitter.com/XtkZJ7oHLu
— Rustie (@rustie5555) January 23, 2023
'Bedroom commuters' is literally just a synonym for 'people with jobs' pic.twitter.com/BzU2rcmSSg
— Joey (@boxcar_joey) January 24, 2023
But wait there’s more:
Beach Haven isn’t a village, it’s a 15 minute drive from the CBD of Auckland, and has a regular commuter ferry stop. It’s literally just across a narrow channel from Hobsonville.
This development is a 20 minute bus ride to town. If you can’t build housing here where on earth can you?
It is time for us young singles to meet and discuss whether we’re comfortable with the residents on the North Shore. And maybe we bring some wine and cheese. And see where things go.
In-the-know locals also pointed out there’s a cafe, a wine bar, and even a chocolate shop cafe (!) within a short walk of the location, as well as other great local dining options where singles and couples alike can meet, greet, and eat if they wish.
At the same time, Auckland is a city of villages, and every “village” grows over time. More housing in our seaside suburbs is hardly surprising: one of the things people love about this city is easy access to the beach. From Onehunga to Point Chevalier to Clarks Beach to Orakei, and now Beach Haven, apartments rise next to single-family homes, large and small. And while consternation inevitably happens everywhere leading up to and during the disruption of construction, complaints are long forgotten by the time families are moving in.
As the Coalition for More Homes spokesperson Oscar Sims noted in the Herald editorial, new housing is ideally put in places that are more central and more accessible, and close to amenities: employment, shops, schools, transport. Beach Haven isn’t “far flung”. There’s a ferry (which, as with Hobsonville, could do with more regular services) and a frequent bus, which will see improved service thanks to the climate-action targeted rate (CATR).
Moreover, we’re talking about three stories here. Not tower blocks. That’s a pretty common suburban typology – you even see plenty of single-family houses that height. Three storeys is not at all out of place, and the Beach Haven development will fit right in with existing neighbours.
Indeed, Hobsonville is now defined by the type of low-rise apartments that locals are raging against, despite having nearly identical accessibility to the various major centres of Auckland.
All the more bizarre as the site in question is next door to an existing three-storey terraced/ apartment housing development which was constructed over 20 years ago. pic.twitter.com/dwQmA0nyNu
— Cam W (@BigSDW) January 23, 2023
Besides nebulous concepts like “neighbourhood character”, one of the concerns that tends to be raised around new housing is “infrastructure”, which seems to boil down to:
- stormwater and waste-water pipes: if they’re already overdue for upgrades after decades of deliberate and chronic underinvestment, how will they be able to cope with even more use?
- roads and berms and transport in general: if everyone who moves in owns a car, where will they park it, and what times of day will they drive it and get in the way of everyone else driving?
On this, the NIMBY instinct is onto something – but the hopeless chicken-and-egg defeatism is readily solved by getting on with building both infrastructure and housing.
Fighting new housing can’t and won’t fix our infrastructure woes. Neighbourhoods are already overrun by cars to the detriment of other options, and snarled with traffic at least twice a day. Ageing or failing infrastructure needs to be upgraded regardless of how many people are using it.
Indeed, forcing development to happen further away (that is, paving over green fields) will deepen car dependancy while requiring the construction of new infrastructure – at the expense of improving existing infrastructure. Without developments like this, locals will ultimately have to tolerate higher rates for a lower quality of public services!
Furthermore, at the local level and the city level, a greater population will attract more investment from government (local and national) for upgrading infrastructure and transport – as well as attracting private investment via more local businesses making the area more vibrant and sustainable.
And if none of that matters, surely it looks like a pleasant addition to the neighbourhood?
The whining noise of seemingly self-entitled white middle classes coming from Auckland is louder than ever before. Single people? What ever will they think of to complain about next? People without obligatory dog on a lead? People who don’t want a white picket fence? Shock, horror, its time to grow up !
I’m proudly single. And I design and build three storey housing! Nothing to fear here Beachhaven! Seems like an excellent location to intensify, and intensify we should / will / are doing! And for being so snooty and bitchy about it, we’ll make sure to redouble our efforts to get more housing into your area…
Yep great expose of developer’s mindset. I wouldn’t mind so much if the goal actually was to house people in a quality home rather than to make a huge developers profit then move on to the next vulnerable community. Or if the results were to ease the housing crisis but usually expensive low quality boxes without amenity at a time when Auckland population is reducing and Council is selling open space. Givus a break.
How on earth do you determine that these are low quality? Isn’t that what legislation (the Building Act) determines?
No amenity? That’s what the Unitary Plan provides for … (could be a bit better yes) Not everyone needs a 400-800m2 section, young professionals, elderly, first home buyers, etc etc etc anyone at any stage in their life can decide to move into these places.
Huge profits? That’s the way it goes I suppose … would you rather a Council or Govt come in and provide housing? Then we’ll hear cries of communism etc.
New housing supply at any price point puts downward pressure on all house prices over the entire city. Every expensive luxury apartment in ponsonby means that is one less ponsonby buyer off to neighbouring suburbs to bid up the housing prices there. All the way down the chain.
Nobody is under any illusions that developers are some kind of saintly force doing things out of the good of their hearts. Nor should they be expected to. Just they build houses, which helps solve the housing crisis. Decades of undersupply, plus the eventual necessary replacement of almost every house built pre 90s means there is a massive amount still needed.
And that is ignoring that the cheapest crappiest new suburban apartment is a vastly healthier place to live than almost every house built pre 90s. I know because I lived in both. Every new, low quality box raises the average housing quality by a good margin.
‘next vulnerable community’
Lol’d at this one!
Also I live in the area, it’s hardly Notting Hill.
Notting Hill used to be a dump too. This might actually help gentrify the ‘Haven.
“when Auckland population is reducing”
You seriously looking at population change over 2020 to 2022 and claiming we don’t need more houses?
Auckland population is expected to grow significantly over next few years / decades. Right now housing is an issue, and will remain so unless we keep building houses
Where there has been population growth, is in the outskirts or surrounding districts, which clearly points to home affordability being an issue.
I remember seeing a prediction in 2020, that in the future we are going to look at all sorts of stats, and see a huge anomaly around 2020 to 2022.
Anybody looking at something like population growth from 2021 to 2022, and not understanding that it is an exception to a trend is abusing stats.
People whining about developer profits have no idea how the world works. Development is a very high risk business and high risk requires high returns to offset all the times when they lose everything. If there weren’t high returns, nothing would ever get built, except by suckers.
Couldn’t agree more. Housing and infrastructure needs intensification instead of sprawl. Plenty of under utilised room within Auckland brownfield limits.
These meetings are always over run with pensioners trying to stop housing for the workers paying their pensions.
And this time the quiet part is louder than usual.
“Two-thirds of these apartments are singles or studios which means bedroom commuters who are not going to be a part of this community or have any connection”
“Bedroom commuters”…. Is this an explicit dig at people who work for a living?
Are they saying because these workers will be away during the day working, they won’t be a real part of the community?
Go live somewhere else Jack. Oh but make sure you pay up that income tax to support my pension. Oh and bid up the existing supply of housing stock like a country sized ponzi scheme so I can cash out. Oh and make sure all the roads I ever drive on look the same.
One thing that struck me was the (apparent) assumption that these were YOUNG swinging singles coming in to ruin the Beach Haven lifestyle (?). We have an ageing demographic, many of whom may wish to have a small apartment with not much upkeep. I think it’s at least as likely that these would be older people, maybe even retirees who aren’t leaving during the day – would that be less of a bother? It would be simpler if the newspapers just boiled it down to “these people don’t like change and they will ruin good opportunities in order to stay stagnant”.
Worsers preventing beneficial change…
No, it’s not an explicit dig at people who work for a living. Most people in Beach Haven work for a living. It’s a dig at people who have zero reason to be invested in the community. It’s a dig at landlords who will buy these apartments and rent them to students and people who without families who will simply use them as a place to sleep while they finish Uni or until they get a better job. There are already plenty of new homes (apartments and condos) that have been built in the area, and over 900K new homes have been approved by the Council, so why the hell do we need this one on top of it all?
Right, so more of a dig at the youth, or people starting out in their adult life?
That is worse I think
“900K new homes have been approved by the Council, so why the hell do we need this one on top of it all?”
Because this was not approved automatically originally. And it should have been. Why the hell should you have the right to deny others build housing?
Do you really side with the person in the article advocating for green sprawl instead?
I’m always keen to understand why NZers resisting change appreciate higher density when they travel overseas and conveniently ignore that in most cases it replaced lower density that would not have had the same appeal.
What do you mean “over 900k new homes have been approved”?
Not sure where you got that number, but number of consents is a fraction of that, and given current drivers (high build cost, reducing value of land = less profit or a loss), you would expect that some or many of these consents won’t get built immediately
“students and people who without families who will simply use them as a place to sleep while they finish Uni or until they get a better job”
That just sounds like a dig at the young without any understanding of who these people are. Take my daughter who works in Glenfield. She currently lives at home, but would like to move out.
She wants to live and work on the Shore, so renting or buying a little place like one of these would be a good option. People like her would help breath life into the neighbourhood as she and her friends go to the gym, go for walks to the beach or visit local cafes, places to eat.
But she is devalued by you, as she is young? Should the only option be a rundown 3 bedroom place with a sections at over a $1m to buy?
I just get the feeling that a lot of the older people protesting this development don’t seem to be touch and talk to younger people, who (along with the older singles) may be the target market.
Caroll “Houser” only likes houses on 1/4 acre sections where all the boomer neighbours ‘know’ each other and have time to attend weekday meetings to oppose any sort of progress. While students and young people trying to get an education and maybe one day save enough money to buy a million dollar house should bugger off to live in Drury sprawl
In regard to workers paying the pensions, the pensioners have paid for them their whole working lives, through taxation.
No, as they have already spent all that money on roads 😉
Yeah that’s not how that works. Those workers paid their parents pensions. And the rest of the tax was spent on whatever else the govt spends money on. Very little was put into the super fund, starting quite recently, nowhere near enough to support that group of pensioners.
Unfortunately with the rapidly increasing lifespan and stagnant retirement age, young workers today will each (be expected to) support far more pensioners than the older generations did.
The comments on that article were a pretty good read. They were near universal in damning the nimbyism and how ridiculous the complaints were
The NIMBYs did not do a service to their cause with those quotes aye
In contrast, the comments on the paywalled NZH article (which now seem to have been taken down) were overwhelmingly negative.
The Herald editorial ends:
These developments are fully compliant and in line with Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan, the Government’s National Policy Statement on Urban Development, and changes to the Resource Management Act, which all support far denser cities than in many existing suburbs. But that doesn’t make it okay.
Sure, the electorate wanted something to be done about the chronic shortage of affordable housing but the bludgeon-style measures being foisted on communities are likely to lead downstream to stretched resources, strained infrastructure, and simmering resentment among put-upon residents.
It will be little wonder when nimby objections give way to “bananas” (build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone) or even “cave” dwellers (citizens against virtually everything).
The bludgeon was the decades of keeping rates low and of climate destroying sprawl. As a result, our youth face an unaffordably spread out city. Roads too long, communities with insufficient residents to support facilities and too maintain assets.
Continuing with the same approach might seem comfortably familiar but it is hateful and destructive.
“simmering resentment among put-upon residents”
Put-upon? The poor dears.
Sure, the electorate wanted something to be done about the chronic shortage of affordable housing but…. they didn’t expect housing to be enabled near to them!
The pandering at every corner has been tried and failed in the likes of the UK. The only way is to build elite consensus, and get the rules changed from up on high, to a system that balances the needs of the late / new comers. The future residents. Asking the existing community to decide how much housing should be enabled near them is like asking the banks to self regulate. Or the supermarket duopoly to “do the right thing”. The interests do not remotely align, the base idea of neighbourhood or city level zoning codes is fundamentally flawed. The (democratically elected) national level is the only way to go.
The problem is, most readers of Greater Auckland don’t need convincing that 3 level apartments in a central suburb are ok.
The problem is that nobody should need convincing that 3 levels are ok, it shouldn’t even be a story. 150 people out of a population 1.6 million are angry? So what, its the medias fault for even giving them a voice.
Surely if it meets the requirements of the MDRS or Unitary Plan or whatever just build it, everything else is irrelevant, including NIMBY non MPs like Dan Bidios.
This is not a comment about the above development, but about multi-story developments in general. What is concerning me about the ones I am seeing getting built in my neighbourhood every day is the lack of fire walls between the apartments and no way for upper story occupants to escape a fire except hanging a sheet out of the window. I know that some modern plasterboards have a good fire rating, and smoke alarms are mandatory, but there is still a potential for a fire started accidentally to rip through a whole block of apartments.
You should talk to an someone in the know. Perhaps Average human? I would heavily suspect that there is some modern solution that doesn’t look so beefy, or some other scheme.
My apartment I was last in in Auckland was the cheapest of the cheap. Crappiest of the crap*, only 2 stories. And it had sprinklers. This might be the solution they are allowed to rely on rather than complete fireproofing.
*and it was great, so much better than the crappy lockwood we were staying in previously. Heard far less of the neighbours in the apartment despite living under them. Double glazing and actual insulation does a lot.
“upper story occupants to escape a fire except hanging a sheet out of the window”
Ummmm, only in movies buildings just light up on fire and then explode in 2 minutes after the fire starts. In reality, even if the staircases are blocked for your escape, the fire service has ladders to get you off of your balcony. I simply do not see this as a realistic problem. A 3 storey building is not Grenfell Towers.
All apartments built under the building code include firewalls. Modern plasterboard firewalls are designed to stop the passage of fire and maintain the structural strength of a wall for 30 minutes, allowing time for the fire to be extinguished.
“If” built to the building code… “if” the building inspector inspected it… most apartments built prior to Grenfell have passive fire issues.
Why are you talking about the UK?
Evan – my book “Medium – a technical design guide to creating better medium density housing for Aotearoa New Zealand” (published by EBOSS< 2022) is probably the best guide to the issues of inter-tenancy walls out there on the market, and has been distributed / sold to numerous architects and designers out there.
There's certainly no way that any MDH dwelling should have defective fire walls, but some are built better than others. My book advocates that architects and builders go for the best possible fire and acoustic solutions, rather than just the code minimum.
Depending on the system, you may not realise that there is in fact a fire resisting structure in there. It is usually Not a concrete block or brick wall, which you may be thinking of, but it will probably feature a central fire resisting wall of lightweight concrete, or some other similar material, supported either side by a wall clad with plasterboard, altogether making up a minimum of 30 minutes FRR. That's plenty of time to get out of a two storey townhouse.
Apartments, of course, are different to townhouses, and need fire rated floors as well as fire rated walls, but again, my book goes into those systems in considerable detail. So, that is Medium, by Guy Marriage, (Eboss 2022).
You can order a copy through EBOSS, or go to mediumdensity.nz for all the info you need. Cheers!
Onehunga is going through a fairly rapid transformation,with housing intensification, all over the suburb, no great howls of protest,that l have heard,shock/horror ,some buildings 5+ storeys. Drafty old viilas on 1500 sq metre sections,being shipped out,state house sections being intensified. The main street in Onehunga still has plenty of empty places for lease,so this intensification will add some vibrancy.
The greatest problem will be cars,when newbies move in,given the bottlenecks to motorway connections, and the inevitable rat running,that it produces.
Once,it fully clogs up,the LTN debate,may be able to be had again.
“no great howls of protest,that l have heard”
Except if AT as part of a trial project closes off a minor through road. Then the Local Board members get death threats, and the opponents keep damaging the closure works and even use forklifts to illegally re-open the street until AT gave up. Sorry, but Onehunga has rabid NIMBYs too.
I’ve seen some outrage on community groups re old abandoned rotting villas being removed as a disgrace and someone should step in and restore them. And yes the LTN disaster. But the buildings are going up anyway so it can be done and it’s actually great.
Unfortunately we should have had light rail going through by now, instead the Onehunga line has been reduced to Newmarket only! Onehunga Mall is turning into a permanent traffic jam and the options to relieve that seem to be evaporating.
oh no, not ‘newbies’ in the neighbourhood.
I heard that some of the imagined potential future residents might listen to music and have friends over. Pretty scary stuff.
I hope the new residents will get something done about all the noise pollution from the existing single housing.
The lawn mowers, the constant maintenance work on the “maximum external wall and roof per unit of floor area” houses. The cars that are a result of low density.
Publicly notified? Interesting / sarc
I wonder why this site is/was zoned single house zone? It backs onto the town centre area.
That was my exact question. It’s the perfect intensification site.
I would suspect that when the AUP was being done, that exact fact was recognised by the NIMBYs / local board or whatever, and they got it single house zoned in order to suppress construction there.
its zoning was likely based on the crayon colour chosen by a councillor/ local board member during some PAUP workshop circa. 2014. If no one subsequently submitted, that colour stuck.
I’m no NIMBY by any means, but what is the point in planning if you can whack up a big block of apartments in a single house zone via resource consent? There are people who want to live in a single house suburban neighbourhood, they make investments based on council planning, this makes a mockery of it. Personally I’d love some nice apartments near us, but not everyone does.
I think you’re misunderstanding the amount of “planning” that went on or goes on. It’s all vibes and how much whispering (yelling) in the correct ears the residents did at the time of the AUP creation. In fact AC are arguably anti-planners. Doughnut city. Minimising housing in the places best suited to it, maximising it in far flung areas. Seeking to maximise value for the existing landed gentry in the inner suburbs, and minimise the value for any latecomer.
If you want to live in a single house suburban neighbourhood, then don’t live close to the core of the largest city in the country? If there is economic pressure for apartments to exist, then they should be allowed to exist.
To expand: the residents in the rest of the city provide services and amenity, purely by existing and being economically productive nearby. It is not reasonable for the residents of certain neighbourhoods to receive that, and the enormous land value uplift this creates, and not allow the smallest return. Some 3 story buildings over the fence. I argue we should go much further and have land value tax to capture that land value created by the collective. Or just have land value rating. But I digress.
Cool, have put together a quick submission in support. The upsides of being a planner by day is knowing the right language to use!
What really gets me is that this is a high quality development. The buildings are well designed and the site is highly landscaped. It would be a wonderful contribution to the character of the area. It is far better than some of the other terrace developments we are seeing in the suburbs, which can sometimes have unimaginative architecture, little landscaping and too much paving. Is that what the residents would prefer? Because it could well be possible on this site once the MDRS has legal effect
What was interesting was that the Herald comments (on a paywalled article) were overwhelmingly against intensification, whereas the Stuff comments were overwhelmingly for intensification.
The stuff article is here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300790390/coastal-residents-plot-to-stop-apartments-railing-against-bedroom-commuters#comments
fucken nymbs.. make a law – kick them out of thier homes and stick them in motels in Rotorua..
Unusual to see those words in the title in text that isn’t part of a flashing banner ad tbh
I live in Beach Haven and I’m certainly not anti-development. New homes need to go somewhere.
Some facts need clarification. The suburb is 14km from the CBD. That’s further than most of the isthmus.
It is not a 20 minute bus ride to town. It’s more like 40 minutes. And buses are not frequent or reliable enough. A lot of house are a hike away from bus stops. Outside of peak hours you need to budget close an hour each way for travel. Getting anywhere other than the CBD or Takapuna (and Newmarket during peak hours) by bus is a mission.
The ferry terminal is a long way from most homes, an unsheltered 35 minute walk in the rain for me. Although it is not far from the proposed development. And the service is infrequent.
Before the pandemic buses could be full at peak hours, I’ve had full buses drive past and needed to wait 20 minutes for the next one on a few occasions.
If you’re going anywhere but the CBD it makes more sense to drive.
In practice, as the story says, it’s a car dependent suburb. Realistically the development means another 50 cars on Auckland’s roads, more pressure on Onewa Road. The same development closer to town or near a transport hub like Highbury, could mean close to zero cars.
My point here is not “don’t build in Beach Haven” the nimbys in suburbs with better transport, more facilities and proximity to the city have done such an effective job that developers are forced to the fringes. But if we are to have more houses, then improve the transport infrastructure, more, and more frequent buses and ferries, better connections to other centres.
“That’s further than most of the isthmus.”
And yet it is *much* closer than most of Auckland’s greenfield housing, which is out in Whenuapai or Silverdale or Drury.
“In practice, as the story says, it’s a car dependent suburb. Realistically the development means another 50 cars on Auckland’s roads,”
Eh, so instead of more residents that will be a case for better PT, let those people live in Silverdale, and just… drive… on Auckland’s roads.
It’s this “hey we have reasons!” without considering the opportunity costs that has led us where we are now. We aren’t allowed to have apartments in Ponsonby! We aren’t allowed to have apartments in Beach Haven! Where then? Apartments in Kumeu? Probably not fitting the rural character. Okay, fine. You are allowed some apartments on Nelson Street. But that’s it! You can leave Auckland if you don’t like it.
I am not saying you are saying that, Bill, but a lot of people are, and whatever you say – that’s the outcomes your claims will (are – have!) resulted in.
Agree, it’s better to build here than on far flung green field sites. We could do with better public transport right now.
What is the mechanism for deciding to run extra transport services as the population rises? There’s already been a big jump in people with the flats further down Beach Haven Road.
It’s still near impossible (in my experience) to get a cab or an Uber in Beach Haven.
I’d also be interested to know how many local people would be necessary to make a local metro supermarket practical.
There are actually apartments and units in Ponsonby and Grey Lynn and more of them slowly being built (I hope this will continue to happen), surprisingly those are not much more expensive than similar properties far away for example in Hobsonville Pt. Honestly I don’t understand who and why buying all these overpriced apartments in Hobsonville, I don’t see any advantage other than being “NEW” and allegedly “PROBLEM FREE”. I think Beach Heaven is not much better in this respect as it has approximately the same travel time to employment centers.
What it appears that you honestly don’t understand is that people in a free market have difference preferences and make different choices to you.
Hobsonville is a thriving community.
You note that buses were sometimes full before the pandemic. I guess there are now some spare seats.
A higher population will support better public transport, including more frequent buses and ferries. Putting such infrastructure in before development takes place is prohibitively expensive.
More people also means more demand for local shops. With a higher density there will be better local shopping opportunities and less need to travel so far for local trips.
“ A higher population will support better public transport”.
How does that work in practice? There’s already been a population increase with the development further down Beach Haven Road, but the bus numbers have been cut.
Write to the Council and AT saying that services are full and there needs to be an increase in bus services. More housing will result in more taxi drivers living in Beach Haven.
There has been considerable urban intensification around Waikato Uni, where I used to live, and the standard and number of shops has considerable increased, including shops re-opening on Vesty Avenue. Admittedly most of the land for these shops was zoned for shops in the 1960s. If the BH population keeps increasing and the Council allows zoning changes you will get better local shopping.
Hi Bill. The current bus service cuts are across the region. The shocking thing is that AT are proposing to keep them that way. Dereliction.
Fair enough Bill. This is a very reasonable position.
Certainly public transport needs to be improved. More bus lanes, and more ferry services. However AT will not improve these until there is demand shown. They do not and will not run services for years to prove that housing can be built somewhere.
Housing enables AT to improve service. This can of course be done incrementally as more demand is added.
And I will note that Beach Haven is closer to the city center than most of Auckland.
You may be 35 minutes walk from the ferry, but THIS development is 800m or less than 10 minutes walk to the ferry.
It is also at the exact location of the Beach haven shops (which need more custom to improve), and a short walk to the beach.
This development is exactly the location for intensification.
35 minute walk is about 5-10 minutes of cycling. In fact, they should slap down a cycle parking facility right now, ASAP, to enable a 9-16 larger catchment area. That would increase the revenue a lot for the ferries, and thus the frequencies should be increased.
You don’t necessarily, inherently need higher densities to enable a viable train and express bus system between our metro centres and PT hubs.
“I’m certainly not anti-development … [but my neighbourhood is just not suitable]”
Yup, same familiar template, heard it all before.
That’s absolutely NOT what I said.
I said build here, but make sure there is adequate transport infrastructure.
The reason why older European cities have good public transport infrastructure is a combination of existing high densities and political decisions that have seen them invest in infrastructure. Without high density new infrastructure and increased service frequency is not economically viable and will not occur. Higher density will push your suburb up the list for new transport investments.
I actually agree to an extent with those NIMBYs. Why should Beach Haven get intensity when Epsom isn’t? Mt Eden is historically significant and can’t be touched so the sleepy suburbs 15km from the city without the amenities of Mt Eden get the density instead.
Auckland Council have only got away with their inside out planning strategy because the outer suburbs are poorer and complain less. I can’t blame them when they do complain.
They all need intensification.
Why shouldn’t Beach Haven get intensification when people want to live there?
It is not really an either or situation. They should both get intensification, and both will get less intensification than if they are the only place where intensification. They should both be arguing that Devonport should also get intensification.
The bigger question is why is anyone planning to build anything right now? The housing market is falling off the cliff, good luck selling those units.
Certainly a reshuffle. Rumors are there is a bit of a shift to smaller BTR developments. Build for that cheaper standardised market, save on all the titling costs and middlemen involved in a standard apartment sold to the open market.
Rental demand will likely remain strong. Especially because there is still a shortage of decent places in Auckland. Decently designed new builds will never run empty. The bottom of the market is still really elevated, lots of young professionals renting crappy drafty old houses that would prefer to rent their own apartment like these.
Plenty of people want to buy houses/units. The reason they are not selling is that vendors would like more than those buyers want to pay.
The big problem is where the developer’s costs to buy the land and build the houses are greater than what they can see them for. In that case costs need to go down.
And land costs are plummeting. Only fly in the ointment (for developers) is that the land value is going to be much lower by the time they come to settle. And peoples financing may no longer be approved.
Isn’t sinking land values just a loss to developers? With the already low ratio between improvement value and land value (not much more than 1:1) I would think it will simply make any and all development infeasible.
Because we stopped building in the GFC, it took 10 years to recover the capacity and look how that turned out.
This whole thing strongly reminds me of the rabid boomer protests raised against St Heliers having a lower speed limit and much reduced parking – all to make the whole damn place a lot, lot safer for non-motorised road users and pedestrians.
Yes, 40 mins from locking the apartment door to standing on Lower Albert St. And all on one Frequent Service bus 97R or 97B – you can swing both ways at Beach Haven. Also direct on a single bus: Glenfield, Smales Farm Station and Business Park, North Shore Hospital and clinics, Takapuna, Highbury, Nortcote, AUT, Akoranga Station, Wynyard, City, Auckland University, Ponsoby, Newmarket. All without changing. Hobsonville Ferry and connecting bus should be improved. No-one in these apartments or the houses nearby need own a car – car club would do nicely. If I did retire there I would get an e-bike like a friend who lives near there. Enough new people to attract a small supermarket might be good, but New World, Countdown and Pak’n Save are all one bus ride away, so maybe too much competition. PS: they make their own chocolates on-site there – what’s not to love?
Auckland has way too few supermarkets in walkable distance to housing. That is a result of mostly single-family homes but with more intensification it would be good to have more supermarkets close to intensification. That would reduce the number and the distance of car trips as well and actually make the suburb a lot more livable.
Business model economics for supermarkets means that a large number of small supermarkets is much more expensive than the small number of large supermarkets. Those we do have should be more spread out and not next door to each other. It is then important to be able to build a large number of homes in walking distance of the supermarkets (and other services and businesses that can co-locate – see Hobsonville Village centre for an example).
It all is a result of low-density housing and probably the New Zealand supermarket duopoly. When you look at overseas cities of similar size or even much smaller, there are way more supermarkets catering everyday needs per area. Of course, these are only sustainable because there is dense housing nearby which allows them to have enough customers.
One other factor might be the enormous car parks that often go with these large and sparse supermarkets. Those are needed because most people (have to) drive there. With supermarkets catering a smaller area (with roughly the same population), more people can use alternative modes of transport and, thus, a smaller car park will suffice. That would make land acquisition (and maintenance) for supermarkets cheaper.
The supermarket situation is largely explained by the anti competitive covenants. Where the original developers of these suburbs put in the covenants that only one supermarket chain would be allowed to operate there.
And from there, there is a shortage of commercial land.
I think it is mostly a case of it just not being allowed. I don’t know if, even with the current Unitary Plan, you can just open a supermarket in a residential area. (This question sounds really stupid when asking this way).
Note that even corner dairies have their own mini commercially zoned enclave on the plan. It should just be permitted without such chicanery.
The idea that apartments will get more local shops is currently being proven wrong by the apartments being built in the area between Takapuna and Smales Farm.
The other factor is that if supermarket companies weren’t allowed to put in the vat carparks, they’d put in more metro style supermarkets.
Pt Chev would have far more appeal if Council’s shoppers’ carparks were shrunk and replaced with a mix of high density missed amenity and green parks.
Instead council has approved a new supermarket designed hideously around the car.
A suburb, like so many, that could be fantastic but has been and still is being ruined by car dependent planning.
Nimbys are going to Nimby
Totally expected these days regardless of what was going to be built
But this is the worst part:
John Gillon – the Kaipātiki Local Board chair, was there, and seemed quite proud to announce that he “had previously managed to stop or reduce two developments in nearby Birkenhead, including 50 units on Zion Rd”
So in a city with issues around housing, we have local board members happy to try and stop housing in their area. This is a shocker
And if people are familiar with the area, the Zion methodist church site is crying out for some development. Literally across the road from a decent sized village in Highbury and close to council amenities like Birkenhead leisure center and playing fields. And top of Onewa road so you could step out of an apartment there and be on an express route into town only 10 minutes away
I can’t think of a better site for development right now.
So of course you get boomers killing it
And speaking of which, Wayne Browns column in the Herald today. Wants to kill light rail, so nice job Labour, WK and AT; you win.
Wayne of course thinks there is no longer any problem with congestion around Auckland as people are working from home; so let’s keep all the parking. Just needs his pet theory of bus signal tweaks and we will be fine.
He is going to screw up Auckland transport for a solid three years. Only saving grace is he is not putting a lot of work into doing anything.
“So of course you get boomers killing it”.
John Gillon’s not a boomer
Didn’t say he was
I would edit out that line if I could, as a bit unfair to judge based on demographics and the statements re John could be linked.
But it disappoints me that a board member who was elected to support an area including presumably growth, is proud that he has stopped progress
One of the main oppositions to this development is that the developers are proposing it for two pieces of land both zoned for single housing. It is more about the scale than the scaremongering that is claimed here. Kainga Ora developments have already provided for a significant amount of housing in the area.
Why is it relevant what the zoning used to be?
It was quite clearly super poorly zoned previously. Right beside a town center, on a bus route, walking distance to the ferry. Should have been THAB.
And the scale is exactly the same as the 3 story buildings directly next to it no?
The Single House Zone doesn’t have a maximum density. You can split any site as a restricted discretionary activity if the new lots each have a net site area of at least 600sqm. But you can split any site into much smaller lots as a discretionary activity. At no point does it become non-complying or prohibited (unless one of your sites already has a minor dwelling on it – someone had a rush of blood when they wrote that dumb rule).
Looking at the plans, the massing seems standard nothing exciting, the elevations and materiality is okay, they’re using brick so it’s not totally cheap. The HIRB is pretty much okay, to be fair to the neighbours the scheme exceeds the max height by 8m, so the architects should have provided plans showing the shadows cast at certain points of the year. Council will probably ask for that in a RFI. I’d say the shadows would be more of an issue than traffic. My guess it’ll go ahead but some of third level apartments might reduce in height to stop shadows if that’s an issue.
If Auckland isn’t going to build dwellings for singles then other cities will. NZ has always lost a fair amount of our young and I see that accelerating over the next few years.
Whether Beach Heaven is the right place when I can think of much better places for development (Ponsonby, Mt. Eden etc) isn’t really the point. The cost of living, and housing included, is going to destroy so many opportunities for New Zealanders
I was at the meeting and can tell you that a number of people at the meeting expressed their support for more housing and greater intensification – as already allowed right here in our own back yard of Beach Haven, and which are sprouting up in many local streets.
It was clear that the community is not opposing all intensification or growth – and welcomes new neighbours.
And of course we want everyone to have access to warm, safe, affordable housing.
The Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP) created capacity for 900,000 new homes – including right here in our back yard – to ensure no-one misses out.
In the AUP, these two sites are both in a small area of Single House Zone. The developers bought the sites knowing they are limited to two houses – but want to build 81 apartments.
It is a mind-boggling escalation on what is permitted. If it is approved, it sets a precedent which other developers will exploit – and we might as well throw out the notion of having any plan at all.
There are many thousands of properties zoned as THAB (Terraced Housing and Apartment Buildings). These developers need to buy appropriately-zoned properties – where they would be able to build developments like this without any issue.
So you still haven’t really answered why you oppose it? Classic NIMBY approach, say you aren’t against against intensification, only the specific site in question, then rinse and repeat on a site by site basis. Cut, copy and paste.
Thanks this is reasonable commentary, if it wasn’t so bizarre that this lot was zoned as Single House Zone in the first place. It is surrounded by Mixed Housing Urban/Suburban, and is directly connected to the commercial centre. It seems like a weird mistake that it was zoned as Single House Zone.
Ruth, this does not set any precedent. This was always an intended feature of the Unitary Plan. There have been lots of lage multi family developments in the single house zone. The unitary plan sets defaults, what you’re allowed to do by right. You can do anything on top of that if you go through the resource consenting process.
It was always intended, and always has been the case, that developers can buy large single house lots and develop them.
If you want a specific example : http://cohaus.nz/
This was a co-housing development (where people pool their money and act as their own developer) that went ahead a few years ago now. This was a single house zone, and in a special character overlay area, in Grey Lynn.
Developers usually only choose to go for these sites because they make particularly good development opportunities. Otherwise they wouldn’t be worth the legal headache. This is the case in the one you are opposing. Its rare a large contiguous site like this comes up. This represents an outstanding opportunity for development. It was a mistake that it was not THAB or MHU in the original unitary plan. Probably a whisper in the right ear when that was in the works got this zoned really low… for the reasons you are exemplifying. The “escalation” is just a reflection of past mistakes, not that this is somehow some enormous towering development.
Aside from saying they can just do it somewhere else (which they cant, or else they would be doing that), you haven’t provided a single reason they shouldn’t develop this. In every way it looks like a great development.
“We’re all in support of more housing and greater intensification … [but my neighbourhood is just not suitable]”
Yup Ruth, same familiar template, heard it all before.
Ruth I think you’re missing the point here. Yes the site is in the Single House zone but not for long. All of Beach Haven and pretty much all of Auckland will be zoned Mixed Housing Urban from next year. This development will not set a precedent as the zoning is changing anyway. If you are concerned then you will need to ask the Government to change the law.
Beach Haven is pretty far so I was already surprised a while ago that they wanted to put high density there. It is an area which absolutely cannot handle more cars, and where the sheer relief makes it all but impossible to build any new transport link.
It is 40 minutes (not 20) by bus at the moment, although I think they can knock some of these off by having a continuous bus lane on Onewa Road (!) to the motorway, and by managing traffic and parking in Birkenhead better. Even so it is not what I would call a central suburb.
Given that even Birkenhead is about 20 minutes by bus, and none of the other buses are frequent, I do not expect public transport to be popular. In theory more people begets more buses (IMO 941 and 942 should be Frequent lines), however recently we are not even able to run the current network. It is very unwise to count on this.
If you’re wondering about bicycling, there are no bike lanes in this area, and no plans for the next 10 years, so it could still be a generation away.
I don’t think it is a bad development, it is actually one of the few places in the area where you can reach a bus stop (and shops) without climbing 30 metres. But you will also have to be realistic about the new walls of parked cars you will get on the surrounding streets, and even more traffic.
The parking simple needs management. competent management. Thing is, the parking is increasing in areas where there’s little too no intensification too. It’s a product of sprawl and low density.
In understanding the political economy of car dependence, one thing to remember is the influence on how people vote and think. Build apartments and people vote and advocate for regeneration, amenities, safe streets, public transport and climate action. Build sprawl and people vote and advocate for sprawl, roads, low rates and deferring climate action.
Famous last words if you bought an apartment in the city centre 15 years ago.
(Note that Wynyard Quarter was still empty back then. What actually happened is they built an enclave for rich people in this area and left the rest behind.)
So classic how can these people keep a straight face? Sounds like a copy/paste with the “900k” houses stuff being trotted out.
They are against “commuters” so why is public transport, parking and cycling even an issue?
Clearly its a self-contained suburb no-one ever visits or leaves. Sounds like all thats needed is upgraded footpaths. /s
> If you’re wondering about bicycling, there are no bike lanes in this area, and no plans for the next 10 years, so it could still be a generation away.
Central suburbs don’t have bike lanes either…
We had a 7 unit block open across from us and sky didn’t fall in.