Hotel: Rosemary McQueen on consent decision LUC 2012-212 (41 Wharf St)

41 Wharf Street, Dunedin 1 (DCC WebMap)41 Wharf Street, Dunedin (DCC WebMap)

Copy supplied.
Also published at Otago Daily Times (page 17).

### ODT Online Wed, 26 Feb 2014
Hotel decision was legal, not political
By Rosemary McQueen
Two related misapprehensions run through nearly all the comment on the application to build a 27-storey residential building in the industrial zone.

The first is that the reason the development was rejected was that a minority of noisy nay-sayers objected to the proposal. Yet, had 500 supporters put in submissions and only 4 or 5 naysayers, the decision would have been the same. The decision was not made on the basis of counting heads (though no doubt the planners were gratified that the District Plan’s provisions were so whole-heartedly supported by the populace) but on the basis of law. The developers want to build their accommodation block in an industrial area. Residential activity is specifically excluded from this area and only allowed at the discretion of the court hearing the application. Discretionary treatment can only be accorded if the effects of the variation to what is allowed are minor and the general intention accords with the aims and objectives of the district plan. The applicants’ arguments to this effect were rejected at law – not by counting heads. Until that decision is found to be wrong, or those aspects of the proposal change, it can not proceed.

There is also a view that the the city council could and should have found a way of overturning – or at least of getting round – the planning committee’s decision. This is a misapprehension because the decision is a legal one that can only be overturned by a higher court and the council is not a court. The negotiations that have been taking place have been around trying to find a site and design that complies with the city’s district plan and the developers’ needs. By describing the setback to the development as “red tape” the ODT implied that the development’s lack of progress since being rejected by the planning committee is caused by overweening bureaucracy. But Ms Song has made clear that the site and design are not negotiable. How can the lack of progress be the fault of red tape when the impediment is so clearly the developers’ intransigence, despite having had their application for that site and design turned down because it doesn’t meet the law?

By insisting the proposal is non-negotiable during their discussion with the city, the developers appear to believe that overturning the planning decision is on the discussion’s agenda and within the council’s power. Instead of dismissing any such suggestion, the ODT and the Chamber of Commerce have encouraged them in the view that the council can change or flout the law in order to allow the development to go ahead. Fostering these misapprehensions has led to unnecessary division in the city. It’s time to stop accusing bureaucrats and antis of holding up progress and start explaining why changes to our built environment are not effected by political whim, but are, and need to be, conducted by rule of law that has undergone full democratic process.

ODT Link

Related Posts and Comments:
14.2.14 Hotel: The height of arrogance
25.6.13 Hotel/Apartment Tower decision to be appealed

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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Hotel, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

18 responses to “Hotel: Rosemary McQueen on consent decision LUC 2012-212 (41 Wharf St)

  1. ro

    Still no word on Monday’s development? I listen to the wrong radio stations…

  2. Actually, I think we can put it down to the new flyby animation having sputtered to a sickly halt.

  3. ro

    does seem to have

  4. Once again, the developers generate bad grace, they’re very good at this – as “imminent” turns to custard for today or Friday…
    Would the Jing-Song-Pings like another party at Fubar Stadium to launch their great plans? Is DVML still taking in business? Will Hamish Saxton still front for Tourism Dunedin (soon to be disestablished)? And what of the legends to form the happy chorus of backers??? Lobbiest Malcolm Farry’s a bit tied up just now (gathering paper for DCC, you know), and Eion Edgar’s busy planning an airport for Queenstown Hill. There’s always Michael Hill, if he wasn’t so zoned out on golf just now. Bad timing, and the business calamities of life in the south. Lawyers prepare to augment their bank balances and upgrade overseas holidays, following the anticipated further stoush with Betterways Advisory/Wharf Street Property and DCC if need be.

    27.2.14 ODT: Hotel wait continues
    The wait goes on for supporters and opponents of Dunedin’s proposed $100 million waterfront hotel.

    26.2.14 Ch39: DCC plans announcement on the future of proposed hotel project
    The Dunedin City Council is understood to be on the verge of an announcement on the future of the proposed $100 million hotel.

  5. Did Daaave Cull jump the gun, committing another of his media gaffes ?

    ### dunedintv.conz February 27, 2014 – 6:20pm
    Hotel announcement still pending
    Dunedin will have to wait another day for news on the future of the $100m hotel. A council hearings committee declined to grant resource consent for the hotel, set for the city’s waterfront, mid-last year. But the Dunedin City Council confirmed yesterday an announcement on the future of the development was close. The announcement was expected today, but Mayor Dave Cull said late this afternoon it would not be coming. He hoped tomorrow would be the day, but could not confirm that.
    Ch39 Link [no video available]

  6. Mike

    One of the things we keep hearing is “Dunedin needs a 5 star hotel” there are people who wont come here if there isn’t one.

    I just realised today Dunedin already has a 5 star hotel

    and looking at its booking sheet for the next few months it seems unable to attract many customers, it’s mostly empty – apparently the same people won’t come here if there is one.

    • It’s an averagely nice property but not to my mind of 5-star quality for a heritage lodge despite the accreditation. This in my opinion is largely due to the building layout and fitout. I can’t speak for the service level. Plus it won’t take a plane load or even a quarter of a plane load of nouveau rich from Asia, such that Betterways can tap.

      It wouldn’t even compare to the former Corstorphine House.

    • Liz Angelo

      Perhaps if they limbed up the street trees and did up the wall we may have admired it in passing……..

  7. Dunedin Hotel
    The best thing we could do IMHO is see Betterways at the Environment Court, and there shortcircuit DCC games. EK.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 3 Mar 2014
    Something happening, but what?
    By Peter Entwisle
    […] Last year, Mr Cull was reported as saying the outcome of negotiations might be a plan change. Mr Page’s submission suggests he is thinking of a new application involving a bridge. […] Graham McKerracher, the council officer handling media inquiries, told me near noon on Thursday that a memorandum of understanding about a way of going forward had been drafted, that it had been expected Betterways would have signed it but so far the council hadn’t heard back. It expects to […]
    Read more

  8. Work continuing on Dunedin hotel deal
    A deal that could result in Dunedin’s proposed $100 million waterfront hotel taking a significant step forward is still being finalised, but has not struck trouble, the Dunedin City Council says.

  9. Peter

    I wonder if they will line the proposed hotel walls and ceilings with asbestos. Why not? The Chinese did with the imported railway carriages, despite being told not to do so. Clearly, Sing Song likes her own way.

  10. Bev Butler

    After reading the MoU, it is obvious this Chinese ‘gift’ is going to cost the ratepayers millions of dollars.

    • Mike

      it also appears to be invalid as signed – it’s dated Feb 26th but is invalid if the council doesn’t sign off on it by Feb 24th ….

    • If allowed to proceed in any form it was always going to cost the ratepayers and residents of this city many millions of dollars. Fuckwit DCC Councillors and Liability Cull, with the Chamber of Commerce up their rear passages, are prepared to plunder the citizenry for everything they’ve got. There will be NO FINANCIAL BENEFIT to anyone who isn’t clipping tickets right now. There will be no market, long term, for this building and no trickle down. This development (exploited via PLANNING GAMES) will be one very costly imposition and desecrater of the city fabric —a city we probably have no hope whatsoever of protecting from PHYSICAL GREED and AVARICE punched through in a DISGUSTING AESTHETIC.

      Anyone capable of seeing this development through does not love this City.
      Solicitor Phil Page and his ilk would look better ‘re-designed’ according to the effects of a slingshot between the eyes.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        There are a few phrases that work like catnip on Council and the initial stadium supporters who suspended (or lacked the intellectual capacity for) critical evaluation of sales spin.
        Dunedin NEEDS ___ to keep up with other cities otherwise it will die.
        Build it and they will come.
        Amazing opportunity at little or no cost to ratepayers.
        Legacy in a bank account, to release which into your bank account there will be a small fee – or that might be from something else, it’s all too easy to lose track of the too-good-to-be-true schemes.

  11. Peter

    What is clear, when you wipe away all of the palaver of this MOU, is:

    1. The Chinese developers will get the site they want.
    2. The Chinese developers will get the height they want.
    3. The Chinese developers will get us to pay for access to their hotel.
    4. The Chinese developers will get the design they want.

    Why? Because they have the money and they have the power to get what they want.

    We don’t have the people with the strength of mind, or ethics, to drive a harder bargain and to insist on what we want. It’s that simple.

    Forget the RMA or a District Plan. They can be manipulated and changed. Like they did with the stadium site. The Urban Design panel will be set up, with the right people, by agreement, to achieve the right recommendations ‘to move forward’. This is The Southern Way. I am sickened by how business is done in this town.

    Dave Cull’s perceived conflict of interest with Betterways needs to be more fully exposed.

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