Developer presses pause on Lakeview fast-track consent

by Kim Bowden - Aug 27, 2022

The company behind the billion-dollar Lakeview development has asked to press pause on its application for the first five buildings of the precinct.

The application is being considered by an expert consenting panel under the Government’s fast-tracking legislation.

However that panel has now suspended the application at the request of the developer.

The application can be suspended for up to 50 days.

The time-out is a response to advice provided to the panel by University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning head Dr Lee Beattie.

In his report Dr Beattie says while the proposed Lakeview tower buildings may sit comfortably in metropolitan Auckland, or another high-density CBD location, they’re not a good fit for Queenstown.

The developer has asked for greenlight for buildings higher than those allowed for in the district plan – two are close to double what’s allowed.

The developers have applied for consent for five towers at 51.3 metres, 47.2 metres, 40.4 metres, 39.4 metres, and 35.8 metres (at their tallest points) respectively. All the towers are at least 14 metres higher than what is currently permitted by the district plan; two are close to double the allowed height (Image supplied).

But Dr Beattie says Queenstown is predominantly characterised by “a low scale-built form subservient to its natural environmental setting” and the Lakeview towers, in addition to being tall, are bulky and set to be built en masse.

While in its consent application the developer defends the tall towers, saying the grandeur of the natural landscape rising above the development dwarfs the manmade structures, Dr Beattie disagrees.

He thinks “the height and nature” of the towers will “create a very strong built form” that will “stand out against and compete with the natural backdrop of Ben Lomond”.

After considering the expert's report, the panel has contacted the developer to advise them on where-to from there in regards to the consent process.

On August 16, the consenting panel has written to the developer saying the report “raises concerns about the degree to which the application may be inconsistent with the urban design outcomes anticipated by the Plan Change 50 objectives and policies”.

In light of this, the developer has had a choice: to proceed to a hearing, which will allow their own experts to test Dr Beattie’s advice to the panel; or push forward with the panel considering the evidence in front of them to reach a decision.

By asking for the suspension, it appears the developer is opting to challenge the expert's conclusions regarding the design of its buildings and how they’ll sit in the Queenstown landscape.

The developer will now need to propose a timeline to the panel on how this will be done, and this needs to happen prior to the 50-day suspension deadline.

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