Lakeview building height reduced in bid to keep fast track consent

by Peter Newport - Dec 02, 2022

The Australian developers of the controversial Lakeview project have today filed new plans that reveal lowered building heights. The change is in response to a position taken by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that unless the building height was reduced the project would not get access to the fast track process.

Previously QLDC elected councillors had been promised that full public notification would be secured by QLDC in return for an unexpected doubling in height by the developers.

Council CEO Mike Theelen however told the Government that there was “no appetite” to go back to elected councillors re: changes in effect giving a suggested green light to the fast track, non-notified process.

New Lakeview plans include lower ceiling heights and some floors removed.

A ruling from the EPA last month basically told the developers to drop the height by 3.00 pm today (Friday December 2nd) or lose access to the fast track process.

The new plans show that the developers have both reduced ceiling heights and removed floors in order to reduce some building heights by as much as 9 metres.

This was one of two suggested height reduction options that the EPA proposed to the developers.

The EPA had asked the developers if the height reduction might result in the project not being economically viable.

This was the response in today’s documents from the developers and their advisors.

"Given the significant reduction in height proposed this obviously has had a significant impact on to the feasibility of the project. We are cognizant that the upper floors of the project hold the highest value and thus, hold significant importance to the commercial viability of the project.

"It is with this in mind that we advise that squaring off the buildings makes sense to capitalise on greater value of the premium apartments. Coupled with the need to optimise the internal efficiency and construction costs of revised buildings through more consistent roof forms."

The EPA also questioned whether QLDC would allow the changes under their agreement with the developers.

Crux put this question to the council today and received the following reply.

"Our response is that it is up to the developer to determine their next steps and given that this matter is currently before the EPA it would be inappropriate for Council to provide comment. 

"The most recent Audit, Finance and Risk report on Lakeview does anticipate notification of modifications to the master development plan, including any that may arise from the fast track consenting process.  Any modifications proposed by the developer would be assessed by QLDC after notification by the developer.   This is outlined in attachment c (from pg 12) https://www.qldc.govt.nz/media/plnd3obm/item-6-lakeview.pdf

Source: QLDC Dec 2nd 2022.

The ball is now in the EPA’s court with a final decision expected by December 16th.

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