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Mangawhai’s $ 750 million urban intensification takes another step

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A group of Mangawhai residents oppose a green light for higher density housing in the middle of their coastal hamlet in Northland.

The fast-growing Mangawhai is just 90 km from Auckland’s northern border.
Photo: LDR / Susan Botting

Kaipara District Council ruled Wednesday in favor of a private plan change request for one of New Zealand’s largest coastal urban developments – the $ 750 million Mangawhai Central project, on the lower east coast. from Northland.

A doubling of the number of houses in the development is at the heart of the change. The original plans for 2007 called for 500 dwellings; the change would in principle allow 1000.

The board vote Wednesday in favor of the change brings the intensification closer.

Its decision will be publicly notified on May 7 and appeals must be lodged with the Environmental Court within 30 working days.

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Around 4,000 people currently live in this fast growing city, which is just 90 km from the northern edge of Auckland. The developer’s updated plans would mean 2,500 more people.

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Mangawhai Matters chairman Doug Lloyd said the community group was not necessarily against development but wanted to see the necessary support infrastructure in place.

“We will seriously consider appealing the decision.”

The board received 208 submissions on the proposed change, most of which raised concerns.

Two independent specialists and Kaipara Deputy Mayor Anna Curnow, who apologized for yesterday’s decision, were tasked with reviewing the developer’s request and submissions – including the infrastructure issue – and recommend board response.

But Lloyd said the huge cost explosion on an earlier sewage system was still on people’s minds.

Mangawhai taxpayers first learned that this program would cost no more than $ 10.8 million when it was first announced in 2003, but that that amount rose to $ 37 million in 2009 and over $ 60 million. dollars in 2013.

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The eruption resulted in the replacement of district councilors with commissioners from 2012 to 2016.

Lloyd said his group’s concerns about adequate wastewater and potable water treatment services for development were not allayed during Wednesday’s public meeting and debate.

Mangawhai is a popular summer vacation spot.

The city and its surroundings are a popular summer vacation spot.
Photo: LDR / Susan Botting

The committee’s recommendation that the board accept the regime change was first presented in March.

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But at its March 31 meeting, advisers took the highly unusual decision not to do so – citing lack of time to review the 277 pages of supporting material – and to postpone their decision until yesterday.

Kaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith voted for the change, joined by Councilors Karen Joyce-Paki, Mark Vincent, Peter Wethey, David Wills and Eryn Wilson-Collins. Victoria del la Varis-Woodcock and Jonathan Larsen voted against.

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Council attorney Warren Bangma told the group that rejecting the recommendation would be “legally binding.”

“This creates the possibility of ending up before the High Court and then the Environmental Court,” he said.

Smith said processing the application has been the most important and detailed review process of his time in the role.

He said council followed due process and the purpose of the vote was simply to decide whether councilors felt the three-person group had done their job in making their recommendation.

The mayor said there are still many steps ahead, one of which is the resource consent process.

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Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest information service supported by RNZ, the Association of News Editors and NZ On Air.

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