Residents at a subdivision off Martins Bay Road say Auckland Council is breaking its own planning rules with the development of a public road through the subdivision.
They say Sophia Road, currently a ‘no exit’ road, was only ever designed to service the 21 lots in the subdivision, zoned countryside living.
However, they have learned recently that there are plans to vest the road to Council and extend it to service two further subdivisions near Waimana Point.
Auckland Council northern resource consents manager Ian Dobson says the vesting of the road was part of a subdivision consent granted in 2008, which provided for future connections to land to the immediate north.
He says a resource consent to create 32 lots in accordance with the zoning provisions on this northern land has recently been approved by Council, with access to the sites gained through an extension of Sophia Road.
“There are no rules in the Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) which restricts roading development in the Countryside Living Zone,” Mr Dobson says.
Resident John Wells says this has been done without any notification or consultation.
In fact, residents say they received a letter threatening legal action if they did not sign a consent form for the road. While some residents have signed, some say they are prepared to go to court to fight the road change.
In a letter to Rodney MP Mark Mitchell, Mr Wells says the residents are not against land development in principle but feel strongly that a strategy with sensitive handling of environmental issues is in everyone’s best long-term interests.
Mr Wells’ letter states that the countryside living zoning protects the unique nature of the peninsula. “So far, trees have been felled in a haphazard way with loss of nesting sites, no replanting programmes seem to exist, and trees felled in covenant areas have been left to rot,” the letter says.
Resident Alan Askham says the first he knew that the single track lane alongside his section was going to be widened for a new subdivision was one week before he and his wife moved in to their new home.
“In fact, it was only brought to our attention when construction started,” he says. “If we had known of the pending alteration to the lane, we would have positioned our new home further from the road. We were further dismayed when we learned that half of our boundary was going to be a three-metre high retaining wall for the construction of a wider and higher road. This has reduced future access from the old lane to our paddocks and is an eyesore to what was once our beautiful view.”
The residents say there is an alternative route to service the two new subdivisions, which Council should be pursuing.