Town planners getting zealous again

August 11th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Waikato Times reports:

A new Hamilton city zoning plan which steps on the toes of some of the city’s best known companies has been branded as “bonkers” by owner of Gallagher Group, Sir William Gallagher.

’s proposed district plan restricts companies’ ability to expand operations on their sites in the city’s industrial zone. The plan came into effect on July 9 this year. There is still an appeal process where some changes can be made.

Businesses are worried that sites such as Gallagher Group’s on Kahikatea Drive don’t fit in with the new plan’s rules.

“I think it’s bonkers, and ridiculous,” Sir William told the Waikato Times.

“You run integrated industries these days and that means we have office, research and manufacture on the same site.”

The plan allows operations in industrial zones to have ancillary offices, but the offices can only be 25 per cent of the floor space, or 250 square metres, whichever is smaller.

Gallagher Group has considerably more office space than this, as do many other companies in industrial zones.

Existing businesses that are operating legally have existing use rights to continue using their sites.

The problem arises if the company wants to do development, which would result in a potentially costly consenting process.

Idiotic rules. Who cares if a site has 50% warehouse and 50% office. They buy the land, let them use it.

Hamilton City Council’s city planning manager Luke O’Dwyer said extensive independent consultation went into developing the district plan.

He said the old district plan was “very permissive”, so a lot of standalone offices had appeared in industrial zones, to the detriment of the central business district.

A permissive plan – how terrible.

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22 Responses to “Town planners getting zealous again”

  1. shoreboy57 (140 comments) says:

    Businesses not wanting to be in Hamilton’s run-down CBD. Who would have thought

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  2. kowtow (8,524 comments) says:

    It’s long past time for rates payers to take back control of local govt from the loons.

    Worst example I can think of is how councils dictate to private property owners over what trees they can cut down.

    Big govt is crazy.

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  3. wreck1080 (3,923 comments) says:

    they are welcome to move to Tauranga :)

    pencil pushers have to produce something to justify their jobs…this is what they thought of this year to solve a problem that does not exist.

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  4. MT_Tinman (3,204 comments) says:

    Hamilton City Council’s city planning manager Luke O’Dwyer said extensive independent consultation went into developing the district plan.

    He said the old district plan was “very permissive”, so a lot of standalone offices had appeared in industrial zones, to the detriment of the central business district.

    What a load of utter horse shit.

    Stand alone offices in an industrial area have no effect what-so-ever on the central business district other than question the need or usefulness of a “central business district”.

    A bureaucrat protecting his job – at best.

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  5. mandk (998 comments) says:

    This is the key point “a lot of standalone offices had appeared in industrial zones, to the detriment of the central business district”.

    It’s all about trying to force office component of businesses into the city centre. But trying to influence the location of activity in this way just doesn’t work. The businesses will just relocate lock, stock and barrel.

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  6. shoreboy57 (140 comments) says:

    There’s votes here for John Key if he turns on Council waste

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  7. Harriet (4,979 comments) says:

    I see Sir William’s point, but isn’t the purpose of the internet and wireless internet to solve matters like this?

    Every other business in NZ does it. Land is exspensive, as NZ consists of just two small islands geared towards lifestyle and tourism.

    Maybe he should give us a rundown of what onsite work their office actually does, to warrant keeping office workers onsite.

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  8. greenjacket (466 comments) says:

    Harriet wrote: “Maybe he should give us a rundown of what onsite work their office actually does, to warrant keeping office workers onsite.”

    Why should he? He isn’t inflicting any harm on anyone. He isn’t forcibly keeping his office workers on site. Go away Harriet, you interfering busybody.

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  9. unaha-closp (1,165 comments) says:

    I see Sir William’s point, but isn’t the purpose of the internet and wireless internet to solve matters like this?

    Kiwiblog is an internet solution. It gives publicity to interesting decisions, that would otherwise go unaccounted for.

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  10. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Maybe he should give us a rundown of what onsite work their office actually does, to warrant keeping office workers onsite.

    Well that’s certainly one idea.

    Another idea is that he can do whatever the hell he wants on his own property so long as he doesn’t hurt his neighbours.

    Think about what the planner in Hamilton is doing. He is telling some unknown number of businesses they have to split in half and where necessary commute between two places. The planner cannot know how many businesses will be affected. He cannot know how many compete with other cities, or compete internationally. He doesn’t know how many jobs will disappear.

    This is a flagrant abuse of power by that planner who either does not understand the costs and consequences of his actions, or does not care because his measure of success is how big he can make his plan and how much control he can exert.

    He should be fired. That is what should happen to people who impose job losses and millions of dollars of damage on their communities.

    These sorts of rules are rampant in planning and cannot possibly survive a rigorous cost-benefit assessment because there is no upside benefit from rules like this: a random and unknowable collection of businesses will be affected, some will go under, some will leave, some will not grow when they could have. And whatever downtown demand that is artificially stimulated by forcing businesses into second-best configurations will be shortlived as they are competed out of existence.

    Hamilton CC should fire that planner immediately.

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  11. flipper (4,084 comments) says:

    Hamilton City Council’s city planning manager Luke O’Dwyer said extensive independent consultation went into developing the district plan.

    He said the old district plan was “very permissive”, so a lot of standalone offices had appeared in industrial zones, to the detriment of the central business district. ”

    A permissive plan – how terrible.
    ******

    Why the F does the silly Council employ town planners, if they then go outside to their pet “Yes men”.

    It is like the F/wit ACCouncil …. 900 planners, and 600 policy wonks (or reverse of that).

    Time kill the entire RMA – Town Planning gravy train – the Planning/policy/RMA/legal industrial complex. Dead. Tomorrow. Period.

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  12. peterwn (3,277 comments) says:

    Perhaps Sir William should just tell the council where to stick it and move elsewhere where his business would be welcomed with open arms. That will soon have the Hamilton Council squealing like a bunch of stuck pigs.

    Many years ago, New York City thought they would try and impose a special tax aimed at the Stock Exchange and its members. They threatened to walk. City had another think.

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  13. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Think about the dynamics here. A downtown area that is said not to be attracting enough business. I’ll bet good money that is because years ago the rules planners have written for the downtown area that have become incompatible with how businesses and residents now want to live and operate. I’ll bet this is not the first time Mr O’Dwyer and his ilk decided to make it hard to do business in Hamilton.

    Rather than free up those rules causing the problem downtown, the planners’ solution is… more rules expressly aimed severely interrupting the largest businesses employing the most people on the outskirts of town as a way to cover up all the mistakes messing up downtown. A criminal abuse of power.

    Mayor Hardaker, in your city’s interests, fire that planner immediately.

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  14. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    I have an alternative council plan:

    The council could plan to get the fuck out of people’s pockets and lives.

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  15. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Perhaps this is a clue as to how the Hutt City Council could revive the deserted High Street area – ban businesses from opening anywhere else. Brilliant!

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  16. Don the Kiwi (1,763 comments) says:

    Town planners are a bunch of idiots, along with thier enforcers.

    Around 10 years ago when I was spec building, I had a house underway, and there was a young tree planted smack where i needed to put the driveway. I had my bobcat man on site, so I asked him to move the tree 3 metres to the side. He wouldn’t do it, because he had been sprung and fined a few months before, and suggested I ring the council. I rung them, and to cut a long story short, I was told that I should design my houses to suit the siting of the trees. I told them I had a machine on site and wanted to do it now. They said, no – in a few days a couple of council staff, along with their arborists would be over to inspect and adivse where I could site the tree, done by the arborists at a fee to the council of $900.

    In as least abusive manner I could restrain myself to speak, I told them the I build houses for people, not fucking trees, and hung up.
    The bobcat man agreed to dig a hole in the right place. My contract carpenter and his mate were also arborists, so they dug the tree out and replanted it, and covered up where the tree had been – all done in about an hour.

    The next day, there was a council car cruising the streets, up and down, obviously looking for the site – my guys did a good job.

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  17. Ross12 (1,432 comments) says:

    It is good to see businesses in Hamilton have wised up to the fact that CBDs are essentially a thing of the past and don’t really serve a useful purpose anymore.

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  18. Colville (2,272 comments) says:

    there is a lot of very shallow thinking on this thread.

    I am a property speculator, I spend a lot of time banging my head against Councils doors. BUT.

    I am aware that some rules are sensible. There is a area here that is located for big box stuff, not so many cars, so very low allowance for offices. Logical becausae of traffic planning.

    If the land is industrial, its not for many people or cars. just trucks. Gallagher should probably ask for his site to be “mixed” zone.

    Edit. As a developer you need to allow for everything then the development will cost three times as much as now.

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  19. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Colville, some rules are sensible. Keep factories and residential separated. Height limits and set back rules.

    If that was all planners did then it would be hard to complain.

    But then the planners, with only a few exceptions, forget their job is about effects, and start to believe nothing will work without their rules.

    Then you get a 6000 page Unitary Plan that says your garden has to be landscaped, your living room has to face the street even if the view is the other way, your balcony has to be 7 or 8 square metres, and your front door has to be extra wide.

    And every major development will need a resource consent and it will take 18 months to issue it and they’ll add any conditions they like, more or less, knowing you’ll never take them to court for the ultra vires demands they make. I have seen planners tell the homeowner where to put the letterbox. I have seen planners jerk a homeowner around for two years on a resource consent even after he had his neighbours’ permission to build. I have seen council staff competing to see who could make the applicant jump highest.

    So, yeah, Gallagher could ask the planners for permission to run his business. They’ll say no, of course, and take 2 years to think about it. But perhaps the planners could be made to obey the law, the law could be rewritten to say planners who do anything except constrain material environmental effects are fined or stood down or both, and businesses could just get on with business.

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  20. Colville (2,272 comments) says:

    Ben.
    you are actually making an argument for more rules not less.
    If you have crystal clear planning then there are no arguments, its either in or out.
    lax planning causes choice and argument.
    A “major” development on properly developed land should take 20 working day and not more than that.

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  21. band4u (20 comments) says:

    Where do I start. Hamilton’s District 10yr plan is outrageous. Gallagher is right…and thats just the start of it. This is a green agenda from United Nations coming through a back door via town planners. It is called Agenda 21 and is worldwide. It is about the primacy of the central city . about high rises . Its about cycling…in fact in the Hamilton 10 yr plan it was mooted that ‘ in all instances cyclists, pedestrian and public transport will take precedence over cars. Over 900 of Hamiltons streets have either been reduced to 40K per hour or designated to become 40 k areas. Our streets have been turned into obstacle courses to ‘calm’ traffic…An Agenda 21 programme.
    Under this plan business in areas that have been rezoned industrial will be seriosly hampered.ie. If you have a business manufacturing widgets and you think you would like to open a small area to retail those widgets you will told no ..you must open it in the city.
    If you are wanting to develop land into sections, you will be told all streets have to run East/ west and that each house must have a living area facing North. I assume there will have to be some north south streets to link them. This of course is not the most economical way to subdivide. It will impinge on the developer’s right to plan streets in order to get the most sections possible. this will further increase costs.
    Under the plan it is proposed that you can’t have a fence more than 1.2 meters high unless its 50% see through!!! You can get consent for a variation and the cost is $1875.00 or there abouts. And Why?…Because the planners say that far too many people don’t interact with their public space.
    There are 4000 odd pages of this kind of nonsense in Hamilton 10 yr district plan. Most Hamiltonians have even got a clue what’s in store for them.
    Objections to the plan had to be heard by an RMA ‘qualified’ commissioner. One a Bill Wasley of Tauranga makes a living out of ‘advising’ councils on ‘smart green growth ‘ He is a true believer
    Everyone needs to know about United Nations Agenda 21. and ICLEI. Its coming to a town near you. It is an attack on the Kiwi way of like and our homes nad transport will change forever and without your consent unless Kiwis wake up pretty smartly

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  22. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Colville, I think I understand the point you are making, but there is a difference between clear/unclear and rule/no rule. You are right that clarity in the plan is valuable if the alternative is deciding what the rule is case by case through a resource consent or Env Court.

    My point is that most of the rules council sets, whether by plan or consent, are not needed (because they are not related to effects, sensibly defined). There should be no question council will have anything to say, either in the plan or resource consent, about landscaping etc etc. That would deliver clarity.

    I don’t think anything can be made clear in 6000 pages, however well written.

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