Wanaka resident Quentin Smith files Northlake objection
In his capacity as a private resident, Quentin Smith has filed a detailed submission against the controversial addition of a hotel at Northlake in Wanaka. Quentin is also an elected QLDC councillor and chair of the Wanaka Community Board. Submissions close later today.
Here's his submission in full - it can also be viewed here.
"1. Outline Development Plan and Policy and Objectives
The operative policies and objectives and zone rules for “Section 12 - Special Zones (Northlake)” make provision and requirement for an Outline Development Plan (ODP) to be developed for the whole of Activity Area D1.
The policy framework of this zone seeks to use Outline Development Plans to manage the structure of the development to ensure the sought outcomes by the zone as described in the Purpose, issues, policy and objectives.
The incremental or dramatic change to development intensity and activity type away from that contained in any approved ODP clearly fails to achieve the zone purpose or intent of this objective and policy framework. In particular the integration of activity types and the protection of residential amenity are clearly evident in this structure for Northlake Special Zone.
While the policies do enable visitor accommodation they also seek compatibility and maintenance of residential amenity. It is self evident that a 113 unit hotel that doesn’t comply with any approved ODP fails this test of planned integration and cannot maintaining any sense of residential character or amenity for adjoining residential activity as is sort by the zones policies and objectives.
While i accept it may be hard to undertake a development of this scale without minor changes to the ODP the scale and nature of the activities are neither minor nor have they been assessed in an integrated way through an ODP approval / reapproval process.
12.33.2 Objective 2
It is clear from the Rule 220.127.116.11 (ii) that this ODP is intended to be required at the onset of any development in that activity area and that the ODP would cover the whole of the activity area and cannot cover only part of the activity area and certainly not only one activity type.
While there is an approved ODP for D1 this proposal clearly does not comply with that ODP or any other part ODP. Consent is sought to gain concurrent approval for an ODP over only this site and without any connection or integration in the context of the wider activity area and zone.
I contend there is no provision in the plan to approve an ODP over part of activity area D1 and even if there was it clearly would not address the requirements of an ODP under the Zone Rules that are listed below and encourage integrated planning of the zone.
Below lists the areas of discretion and in turn outlines the information requirements of any ODP submitted for approval. Even the approved ODP fails to meet the information requirements of an ODP in particular the ii (b) that required the location and nature of any visitor accomodation to be identified and (l) being the integration of any ODP and consented developments.
In my opinion the use of the ODP to ensure planned and integrated development as intended by the Zone rules and policies has not been correctly exercised in the administration of this zone. The ongoing removal of community amenities and the substantive changes in activities that have been allowed outside of the ODP and without the assessment of any amended ODP for the whole of the activity area is not correct. This inclusion of a large visitor accomodation that effects residential activities and in the absence of comprehensive early planning is clearly not what was intended.
It is my assessment that the proposal can only be contrary to any reasonable assessment of the policies and objectives.
2. Effects on the Environment
As a basis for establishing the effects on the environment we should look first at the environment that the Zone sought to create. The Purpose of the is stated in 12.33 as follows
Once again this Zone Purpose makes reference to the importance of the ODP to identify specific activities PRIOR to the development to ensure integration. This proposal clearly conflicts with that purpose and that unplanned and integrated large scale activities can only be considered to be more than minor in effect in this context.
12.33.1 (ii) Issues - Community
In the above Issue for community it describes commercial activities that contribute to the community rather than detract from it and has a focus on social wellbeing. It is hard to see how a hotel of this scale could not detract from the residential and community well being.
Once again i acknowledge that Visitor Accomodation is acknowledged in Activity Area D1 but it is clearly not intended by the zone to be of the scale proposed as it is not compatible with the residential character and small commercial precinct.
Rule 18.104.22.168 (regardless of any underlying non compliance) provides matters over which council is limited discretion for otherwise complying visitor accommodation buildings.
In assessing the application against these limits of discretion which include (h) integration with other consents with ODP and the associated assessment matters in 22.214.171.124 (v) which goes so far as to provide sketch drawings of the architectural style and scale anticipated (c), attractiveness of streetscape (b), whether it results in adverse effects on neighbouring properties (i) whether car parking is appropriately located (j) it becomes evident that plenty of scope exists within the limits of discretion to make a determination on the effects within the Northlake Community if the consent authority is minded to operate in these limits.
The proposed hotel bears no resemblance in scale or style to the architectural style described in the assessment matters and shown as sketches.
The zone rules and assessment matters are additional helpful in that they provide guidance on how to address changes to an ODP which are addressed below.
When assessed against the above guidance i believe the assessment fails on both counts as it cannot integrate with the existing and mostly sold or established residential activities nor the established recreational reserves and facilities and open space, one of which is removed completely by the proposal.
With regards to whether the the proposal would undermine the integrity of the previously approved ODP it is equally clear that the replacement of a reserve with a large high intensity hotel adjacent to a residential activity the proposal and the amended (part) ODP equally fail.
I can only conclude with regard to the Purpose, Issues, Policies/Objectives and Rules of the zone, guidance of assessment matters and the intent of the ODP provisions that any activity of this scale particularly where it was not planned and integrated through an comprehensive ODP can only have effects that are more than minor. This is further compounded and exacerbated by the contrast of residential properties that could reasonably anticipate reserve and greens space adjacent that would now have a large hotel. This change on residential character is clearly more than minor.
3. Status of the activity and Part 104D of the RMA
If my assessment of the status of the activity is accepted as non complying the application must first be tested against the 104d threshold test outlined below and can only proceed if the consent authority is satisfied the effects are minor or that it is not contrary or the policies and objectives. (note that no assessment of the effect was made pursuant to notification as the applicant requested)
I have made a case above that the application has effects on the environment that are more than minor particularly when measured against the approved ODP and secondly the proposal is clearly contrary to the purpose, issues, policies and objectives set out in the North Lake special zone.
With this assessment i contend that it fails the 104d test and consent cannot be granted. 4. Natural Justice
The presence of a non objection and required support covenant is well documented and understood. This covenant also appears to be aggressively enforced by the developer.
The principal of natural justice is at the core of the RMA and indeed our legal system and the presence and enforcement of such a covenant is not only ethically questionable but also potentially unlawful.
I suggest that the consent authority must not have regard to any covenant and also in turn should disregard any affected party approval that has been provided under duress and legal threat. In our legal system witnesses or testimony that is coerced or in fact doesn’t not represent the view of the witness is not only disregarded it could be deemed to be inadmissible. These principals
override and covenant or agreement and am confident would be found so if tested in the high court.
I contend not only that the consent authority should not grant consent but that the RMA does not allow a consent to be granted for non complying activity that fails this test and consent must be declined.
If however the activity is not assessed to be a Non Complying Activity and that the consent authority accept the position of the applicant that the activity is a Restricted Discretionary Activity and the assessment proceeds to a substantive assessment under 104(2) then the guidance provided by the assessment matters with regard to the higher order policy and objectives, the approved ODP and within the limits of discretion then i still believe that the proposed activity should be declined.
In making this assessment and in reading the rules and structure of the Special Zone rules it is very apparent to me that the structure of the Zone is very clear in what it intends and asks for in assessment. The requirement for integrated planning and the focus on well designed development runs all the way through from the Zone Purpose through to the assessment matters.
This application fundamentally undermines the Zone and the character of the Northlake Community. This proposal is well outside the scope of what was anticipated by the Zone, by the approved ODP and by the residents and character established and approval of such and activity would undermine the Operative QLDC District Plan and the communities confidence in its administration.
I call on the decision makers to uphold the integrity of the Northlake Zone and QLDC District Plan and to fulfil their obligations under the RMA and to protect the residents of Northlake, the future residents and the wider Wanaka Community particularly those that are silenced.
I wish to be heard in support of this submission."