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Housing issue fires up Mangawhai Central hearing

Posted at 8:00am Wednesday 17 Feb, 2021

Around 60 attended the hearings in the Mangawhai Public Library Hall.
Around 60 attended the hearings in the Mangawhai Public Library Hall.

Plan change mangawhai.
Plan change mangawhai.

Commissioner D Hill
Commissioner D Hill

Commissioner G Hill
Commissioner G Hill

Commissioner A Curnow
Commissioner A Curnow

Strong murmurs of disapproval and mocking laughter at a hearing to consider a private plan change (PC78) – to facilitate a major development in Mangawhai – forced the chair to intervene to quiet discontented attendees.

Around 60 people attended the re-convened hearing on February 3, at the Mangawhai Public Library Hall, to listen to supplementary evidence from experts acting on behalf of developer Viranda Partners.
It is anticipated Viranda's Mangawhai Central development, located on 130ha of land between

Mangawhai Village and the Mangawhai Heads, will ultimately comprise more housing, a town square, supermarket, hardware store, petrol station, retail shops and light industrial buildings. Other possibilities touted by the developer include recreational facilities, a school, retirement accommodation, a hotel and a medical centre.

The interruption came when Commissioner Anna Curnow – one of three presiding over the hearing – questioned urban planning expert Ian Munro on his contention that an additional 500 houses, that would be permitted under PC78, would not be “game changing” for Mangawhai, considering that this number of houses was significantly higher than existing zoning provided for.

“It's not game changing taking in the entirety of Mangawhai, which includes the existing village and the extent of the heads,” Mr Munro said.

Responding to a chorus of disapproval from attendees, chair Greg Hill moved to restore order.

“Mr Munro is just expressing his professional view. I think you need to give him respect and let him say his piece,” Mr Hill said.

Mr Munro went on to say that the majority of proposed additional houses were in an area already zoned for higher-than-typical density housing for Mangawhai.

He added that most of them would be screened from view, with the exception of 146 houses that would be located on an elevated site and visible as part of Mangawhai's broader landscape.

“For someone visiting the entirety of Mangawhai – I just can't imagine that the addition of an extra 146 houses is going to leave behind a lasting impression that Mangawhai as a whole is significantly larger than it would otherwise have been, or significantly different from what it would otherwise have been,” he said.

Other expert witnesses testifying on behalf of Mangawhai Central included engineer James Dufty, who spoke on water supply, planning consultant Mark Tollemache, and hydrogeologist Jon Williamson.

Mr Dufty and Mr Williamson said they were satisfied the development of the site proposed by the plan change was feasible from a water engineering perspective. Mr Tollemache said subject to some amendments, PC78 adequately addressed a range of resource management issues related to residential growth, character and attractiveness.

At the outset of the re-convened hearing, chair Greg Hill said the hearing panel had heard from the applicant and all the submitters last November. The applicant had been asked to address concerns raised by submitters and speak to them.

He said the panel would not give submitters the opportunity to speak at the re-convened hearing but acknowledged the panel had received additional written submissions from them.
Among them was one from residents' group Mangawhai Matters.

In its written submission, Mangawhai Matters voiced concerns that the provisions of PC78 were insufficient to “encourage residential development that complements the traditional and valued beach settlement character of Mangawhai”.

The submission said that the proposed additional 500 dwellings were too many to be serviced by Mangawhai's existing wastewater system, which was already in debt by more than $50 million.

It expressed further concern that ratepayers would be left burdened by the cost of additional infrastructure required for Mangawhai Central – notably, in relation to additional transport networks, community facilities and stormwater infrastructure.

Altogether, the Kaipara District Council (KDC) received 208 submissions on Mangawhai Central's private plan change application, with 198 opposed to the development.

Commissioners will now make a recommendation to KDC on whether to confirm the plan change, refuse it or confirm it subject to certain provisions. The date of the decision is unknown.

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