Sunday 14 August 2016

Amazing that anything gets built

The Three Kings saga helps illustrate why landowners might become land bankers, and why Auckland housing has been such a mess.

I'd noted it in my piece in June at The Spinoff:
Just look at the mess in Auckland where a developer wanting to build housing for 1500 households in an old gravel pit at Three Kings, turning much of it into parks and open spaces, has bought almost a decade’s worth of objections and processes and hearings. How can anybody build anything to scale under those conditions? In the middle of a housing crisis, with daily news stories about the number of children having to live in cars with their parents because there are not enough houses to go round, NIMBY activists block new construction. 

Every time a NIMBY cries, an angel has to sleep in a car, or in a garage.
The NBR reported last week that the mess continues:
Fletcher Residential’s controversial $1.2 billion Three Kings quarry development may have to be substantially redesigned after an interim decision from the Environment Court.

The court has heard an appeal from the South Epsom Planning Group and Three Kings United Group over Auckland Council’s plan change allowing Fletcher to rezone 15.1ha of the former quarry and Auckland Council and the Crown to swap 6.5ha of reserve land with Fletcher Residential for the development.

The court has laid out 13 issues – from land contouring, protection of volcanic features, building form, sports fields, view shafts and connectivity – in the development that South Epsom Planning Group, Three Kings United, the council and other parties need to comment on before a final decision on the appeal is made. Fletcher Residential is excluded.

The court says it became clear after looking at the evidence and witness statements before the hearing the real issue was not whether Fletcher Residential’s development should go ahead but rather what form it should be.
They've been in community consultations since 2008. Eight years.

The moustache-twirling developer is a hackneyed theatre set piece. Here's Circa Theatre's version from 2014, when a horrible horrible developer proposed buying Granny's cottage to put up some townhouses.

And from their promotional materials:
I’m having a blast in this production as Sir Roger Bounder, the evil property developer with no heart and a lust for profit. Nothing can touch Sir Roger for devilish good looks and a mind like a steel trap. He’s obviously the main role that everyone will admire – or else! It’s always great fun to be booed!
We reminded the kids after the show that building houses lets people not be homeless. Would that the theatre could get its darned villains right. Hint: when you're in a housing shortage, the ones trying to build housing probably aren't your villains.

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