Orewa becomes Sunshine Coast?


Speculation about how Orewa town centre will develop and whether it will resemble Sunshine Coast (a good of bad thing depending on your view!)

A just-released environment court ruling to alter a proposed plan change by Rodney District Council could lead to uncontrolled high rise development in the Orewa town centre, according to Rodney mayor Penny Webster.

Deputy mayor John Kirikiri says he’s gobsmacked. “The judge disagreed with the independent commissioners and the ten years of consultation with the community.

“A restricted discretionary status means there is now no high rise limit in Orewa’s CBD, which is irresponsible. This is more a Sunshine Coast rather than a Gold Coast decision with none of the prescriptive changes that promote good design,” says Mr Kirikiri.

The council proposed changes to its District Plan rules for Orewa in 2007, as part of Variation 101. The Variation included proposed maximum heights for residential and commercial development in the town centre.

The Council asked Independent Commissioners to hear submissions to the Variation and make a recommendation to the Council. The Commissioners recommendation, which was accepted by the Council, limited development to a maximum of 12.5 metres for sites less than 1,800m2 in the town centre area.

Very large sites could potentially build higher. Only sites that were greater than 5,000m2 could apply to develop buildings up to 30 metres in height.

Submitters to the Plan change who wanted changes to the rules in the town centre and in a Variable Height Zone south of the town centre appealed the decision on the Plan Change to the Environment Court.

The Court’s ruling removes the District Plan rules limiting taller buildings to large sites only (sites greater than 5,000m2). Instead, the court decided that the standard town centre zoning should allow for development up to 12.5 metres, with any development higher than this having restricted discretionary activity status.

“This decision could be very negative for the community,” says Ms Webster. “We proposed that only a very small number of large sites in the town centre would be able to consider developing above 12.5 metres.”

“Removing the safeguards in the District Plan specifying that only large sites can consider developing taller buildings, and instead applying a restricted discretionary status to this activity means that anyone can apply for a resource consent for a high rise, even property owners with a small site.”

“Secondly, because the District Plan rules controlling high rise development have been removed by the Court, it will be more difficult for the new Auckland Council to find the necessary support within the District Plan to decline high rise applications.”




  1. Come on it could have benefits?

  2. I can understand the Orewa Community, so it is up to them.
    Normally I consider high rise apartments and life-style more environmental and economical rather than suburban. But Orewa is nice so leave it to them.

  3. DanC says:

    I like the idea of a high rise Orewa.

  4. Matt L says:

    So the locals want it and the council wants it so who was fighting this in the environment court?

  5. Kel says:

    This is probably the only country in the world where people complain about high rises! lol

  6. karl says:

    Kel, it is not - and this goes to the very core of local democracy. If a Council, with the support of the independent commissioners, and apparently, the wider public, cannot choose to place limits on developers, why even HAVE local government?

    Mr Hide and the developers will be celebrating. I personally, while I am not too concerned about building height at all, am pretty unhappy about this, and so, I presume, are the locals.

    It will give them more ammunition in the “city folks are out to take over our way of life” attitude, which they have held at least since they were forcibly dragged into the Auckland Council area despite wanting to remain independent.

  7. karl says:

    “who was fighting this in the environment court?”

    Developers and land owners.

  8. Anthony M says:

    I have been to orewa to stay in 2004. it was the greatest beach i had ever been to in new zealand. and its access to auckland makes it no surprise to me. doesn’t Orewa already have a Hi-rise or two?

  9. karl says:

    Yes it does - at least one, the Nautilus.

  10. john says:

    The reason why people were fighting this was because with the high-rise the wind direction changes in Orewa. We have already seen this with the Nautilus.
    The beach has always been a problem in Orewa but now it is even worse. Also the amount of birds have decreased dramatically because the estuary has also become smaller! That’s why it was in the environmental court.


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