Readers may have noticed a fair number of stories about new developments on the Coast in recent issues, including in this one. The paper has always alerted readers to planned developments – a task that has become more difficult. In the Rodney District Council days, all resource consent applications were put online, regardless of whether they were publicly notified or not. This was an admirable and transparent thing to do, and meant journalists were able to inform residents about what could be built in their neighbourhood, or even what trees could be felled, well before the diggers or chainsaws appeared onsite. This allowed residents, businesses and organisations to be aware, and make their feelings heard. Occasionally, this made a significant difference to the outcome.
Auckland Council axed those listings, and only puts up notified consents. There have been increasingly few of these, as the Unitary Plan allows for quite intensive development as of right, with no public input. As a result, a few recent notified consents unfortunately took the paper by surprise. One developer admitted he had hoped to keep his project “under the radar” for as long as possible, even though the consent was publicly notified. And, because so few people were watching for notified consents, he succeeded and there were barely any submissions.
As developers apply to squeeze in housing blocks that fall outside the allowable rules, more notified consents are appearing. We will keep an eye on this and try to bring the information to readers before submissions close. However, I would urge everyone who is concerned about the level of development on the Coast to make it a new habit to watch this page (simply type ‘Auckland Council notified resource consents’ into Google and it will take you there). A submission is better than 1000 words on social media, and could make a difference.