Securing a resource consent for the Goatley development is taking longer than expected.
Developers hoping to progress work on Warkworth industrial land as part of the town’s projected growth will need to prepare for lengthy resource consenting delays.
For example, a plan to develop 65ha of light industrial land north of Warkworth remains on hold pending a resource consent – a process which the owner Goatley Holdings says is taking longer than expected.
Mahurangi Matters last reported on the consent application a year ago and Goatley partner Miriam Stevenson says there is still no indication when the consent process might be complete.
Ms Stevenson says Auckland Council officers processing the application say that they are “super busy and really under the pump”.
Warkworth consultant planner Burnette O’Connor, who is handling the application on behalf of Goatley, says she is facing the same difficulty with other large-scale developments, and even smaller ones such as one for a double garage.
Ms O’Connor says in her view, Auckland Council’s planning functions – particularly its resource consenting – are in crisis.
“Staff are stressed and clearly overwhelmed. This is resulting in lack of clear, consistent decision-making, which is then adding significantly to costs and causing significant delays,” she says.
In March, Ms O’Connor set out her concerns to Cr Chris Darby, chair of planning, and Cr Linda Cooper chair of Council’s regulatory committee.
“Auckland is by far the most expensive and complicated region to work in. The work I undertake in the Northland and Wellington regions, and the Gisborne area is positive, pragmatic and significantly less stressful,” she wrote.
Ms O’Connor went on to say that in her opinion the workload and demands on Council will only get worse, as various central government directives place more responsibilities on council’s to respond and deliver planning documents. Signalled changes to the Resource Management Act are also going to significantly increase the planning workload.
In her response, Cr Cooper acknowledged there was a lot of stress in the planning sector because of many factors, including revenue loss due to Covid-19.
She said the resource consents team is under increased pressure, workloads were 10 per cent higher than last year and she agreed that changes in legislation is making matters more complex for planners.
She said Council was looking to recruit an additional 20 planners to cope with the increased workloads and was making improvements to its planning systems.
The Goatley development is expected to attract a wide range of businesses, which will likely include car yards, landscaping suppliers, building suppliers, major hardware stores, manufacturers, warehouses and vehicle cleaning stations.