A new housing development planned for Three Kings has been in the news of late. So what is happening and how is Auckland Council involved?
Fletcher Residential Ltd (Fletcher) is planning a redevelopment of its quarry site in Three Kings to create up to 1500 apartments and townhouses.
As part of the project, Fletcher intends to develop sections of its quarry site into a central park with playing fields and a network of other open spaces in exchange for Auckland Council-managed reserve land bordering the site.
The future of the quarry has been discussed by the community for many years, in particular through the Three Kings Plan Process undertaken by the Puketāpapa Local Board.
Community consultation on the land exchange options began in 2013 with the final exchange proposal undergoing two rounds of further consultation last year.
Any concerns raised about the land exchange during that consultation were fully evaluated as part of a three-day hearing by independent commissioners in August 2015.
The resulting report recommended Auckland Council seek the Minister of Conservation’s approval to exchange its land. Part of the reserve proposed for exchange is to remain as reserve
At the same time, the housing development needed a private plan change under the Resource Management Act (RMA). A separate group of commissioners approved the rezoning of the quarry and reserve land for residential and open space use, with some modifications.
Following the RMA decision, two local community groups – the South Epsom Planning Group and Three Kings United group – lodged appeals opposing the scale of development and final floor level within the quarry.
The Auckland Volcanic Cones Society joined in support of those appeals. Appeals were also lodged by Ngati Te Ata Waiohua and Ngati Tamaoho Trust; those groups were concerned about storm water management and the location of a cultural centre or whare manaaki.
The Environment Minister, Dr Nick Smith, and Housing Corporation of New Zealand oppose the appeals in the interest of expediting housing supply for Auckland.
The matter will be heard in the Environment Court in June this year. The land exchange will implement the outcome of the Environment Court decision to ensure that public and private land ownership aligns with the land zonings determined by the Court.
At the same time, the Independent Hearings Panel will also hear submissions on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan (PAUP) over the next two months. These submissions raise similar issues on the topic of the zoning and development of this land.
If Fletcher is successful in the Environment Court appeals and PAUP hearing processes, and the exchange of the reserve land gets final authorisation by the Minister of Conservation, Fletcher says building could start before the end of this year with the first 200 apartments then scheduled to be ready by 2018. These new homes will be built around a network of high quality public open spaces, including two new sport fields, that will complement the area’s community facilities.