Friction between property developers and local body planners is to be expected.
Developers want to be able to get on with their separate projects, doing what they need with the minimum of bureaucratic oversight.
Planners are concerned not just with the outcome of any individual project but also with its impact on the bigger picture of what is going on in the city.
Planners also want to see that rules, which have been adopted through appropriate processes for good reasons, are properly applied.
The two groups’ aims are not necessarily in conflict – developers want to get stuff done, planners (ideally) want to let it be done (provided the rules are followed).
The statement that planners want to let things be done is highly contestable!
After the debacle earlier this year of the Christchurch City Council building consents process, which led to the council losing its status as an accredited consenting authority, it is alarming to hear home builders complaining that red tape and “design palaver” in the council planning process are holding up the construction of apartments and units.
The council has rejected the complaints, saying any delays come from developers failing to come to grips with new, tougher design rules.
But when a developer of the prominence of Mike Greer – owner of the region’s biggest house building company and who presumably runs a sophisticated operation capable of understanding any regulatory requirements – says the council’s bureaucracy is making it nearly impossible to build affordable housing, the complaint must be taken seriously.
As Christchurch has a serious housing shortage, you would think they would be doing what they can to make it easy to build more housing.