A concept plan of the proposed development at Poplar Rd, Whangaparaoa.
A further large residential development is proposed for Whangaparaoa, with the potential for 200–300 dwellings.
The proposal relates to a 3.9ha site at the bottom of Poplar Lane. The land runs from the Weiti River to Whangaparaoa Road. A number of businesses including boat builders operate there.
The land is owned by The Poplar Trust, headed by Ian Studd, and the Trust is seeking to change the zoning from Light Industrial to Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings through the Unitary Plan process.
Previously the Trust was seeking one of a number of high intensity residential zones for the top of the site and light industry at the bottom.
The Terrace Housing zoning allows for a retirement village, which is one option being considered.
In his submission in support of the application, Terra Nova Planning director Shane Hartley says that the Terrace Housing and Apartment Building Zone is the most appropriate as it provides “a significant opportunity for the integrated design of higher density apartments/terrace housing, with potential for more affordable housing forms, including the possibility of a retirement village”.
He says it also provides for a residential development format likely to be increasingly required in the Hibiscus Coast in the near future.
“The overall shortage of medium to high residential density options, including in retirement village formats, is well documented,” Mr Hartley’s submission says. “In this respect, The Poplar Trust land offers an important opportunity for such residential options and will help to ensure that the future residential needs of Hibiscus Coast residents are met.”
Road access is via the Poplar Road/Whangaparaoa Rd intersection. A report submitted by traffic and transportation engineer Don McKenzie in support of Poplar Trust’s application includes Auckland Transport’s most recent (May 2015) traffic count data on the section of Whangaparaoa Rd between Poplar Rd and Vipond Rd. This reveals an average daily traffic two-way volume of 27,456 vehicles per day – a figure that Mr McKenzie describes as “high”.
Mr McKenzie says he agrees with Auckland Council’s traffic engineer Andrew Murray’s assessment that the traffic effects of a residential development at Poplar Lane would require upgrades to the road network and that further analysis would need to be undertaken once the extent of development is known.
He says that the widening of Whangaparaoa Rd and, particularly, the building of the Penlink Road would have a positive effect on the traffic situation.
Auckland Council’s position, contained in a report by its principal planner, Ewan Paul, is to support the retention of Light Industrial zoning over most of the site.
Speaking at the Unitary Plan hearing in Orewa last month Mr Studd said that industrial tenants prefer Silverdale and Mr Hartley says in his report that the site’s topography, coupled with environmental considerations because of proximity to the river, makes residential development a better option.
The final decision on the zoning change rests with the Council, based on recommendations from the independent Unitary Plan hearings panel. The panel is expected to report to Council in July.