Demand for Waipā commercial sections, led by interest around Hamilton Airport, is fuelling the workload for district council staff.
Growth and Regulatory group manager Wayne Allan told councillors at this week’s Strategic Planning and Policy committee activity was right across the district with new retail, security and technology businesses setting up in the airport’s industrial park and retirement villages, upgrades and a new medical centre elsewhere.
“There’s plenty going on,” Allan said.
The number of commercial consents was proof of that with 155 in 2019, 203 in 2020 and 213 last year.
The council is forecasting that to go higher this year.
It continues to be busy in the building consents area with 497 totalling $140.6 million submitted to council in the quarter to March 31. There were 490 building consents issued and this included 141 new houses; 41 in Cambridge, 36 in Te Awamutu and 64 across the rest of the district.
The pressure on inspectors has eased since those first three months of the year, Allan said. Council refunded applicants about $6000 for nine consents which went over the statutory time frame – a consequence of staff vacancies and a higher number of applications. The previous quarter there had been 15 refunds totalling $9000.
“We are trending down in this quarter.” Helping that downward trend is getting the team back to full capacity, he said.
Several significant applications had attracted public interest which Allan noted made it difficult for staff particularly when council had not received the full application yet. He was referring to a proposed quarry south of Cambridge in Newcombe Road.
Another controversial application is in Te Awamutu where Global Contracting Solutions have been told to provide more information about its proposed waste to energy plant on Racecourse Road.
Chair Susan O’Regan said while the council could make the decision about the plant itself, it had to be well communicated given the amount of community interest.
“Waipā continues to be in a high growth and development phase, and it is not unusual to see increased levels of public interest as growth and development introduces changes to what people come to expect. It is important to note that “change” in itself is not an adverse effect under the Resource Management Act, and that the Act does not provide any rights for interested parties to participate in the consent process,” said Allan in his report.
“The Act requires a rigorous assessment process to be undertaken to identify potentially affected parties who do have participation rights to submit on proposals.”
The significant building consents issued in the quarter were:
- 196 Airport Road Hamilton, new office and hotroom extension to existing production building.
- 1902 Cambridge Road Cambridge, office fit-out of commercial building purchased as a shell.
- 80 Laurent Road Cambridge, construct Blocks B02, B03, B04 & B06 of retirement villas comprising of a total of 15 units.
- 32 Ingram Road Hamilton, new warehouse and attached two level office facility
- 180 Ossie James Drive, Hamilton, new warehouse and attached two level office facility
- 938 Alexandra Street Te Awamutu, alteration to carpark layouts. Addition of office space.