Hart Rd residents clarify concerns

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Big families are welcome in Hart Rd: boarding houses are not, says residents spokesman Pete North.

“We would welcome a large family or, on 11 sites, a mix of family sizes,” North told Tamahere Forum in a response to Tamahere district councillor Wally Hayes’ recent comments on the issue.

North praised Hayes’s efforts in helping to mediate the dispute between Hart Rd residents and Waikato District Council but also took issue with some of his comments.

“Wally has done a great job and been most helpful in mediating between us and WDC,” North said. “However, I believe he has got it somewhat wrong in his comments to Tamahere Forum.

North had described covenants to be placed on the houses as “a joke” but Hayes defended the council measure as going the “extra mile”.

“Placing legally agreed covenants on titles is not common practice,” Hayes told Tamahere Forum. “It is not a requirement. It also had to rely on the goodwill of the developer.”

But North said the proposed covenants were “only third tier or low level protection.”

“The District Plan already disallows commercial activity (first tier protection). The existing Peregrine covenants on all 11 sites (second tier protection) also clearly state no commercial activity is allowed. So, the addition of further covenants saying the exact same thing is somewhat pointless or at best low level protection.”

Peregrine and a number of others own the sites, which are being built on by developer LV Park.

North said that monitoring and enforcement of the covenants was “the biggest joke”.

“WDC will do nothing unless we, the community, provide evidence of a breach. What is the point of having legal protection when there is no defined mechanism for how it will be monitored and proven?” he asked.

Hayes also told Tamahere Forum that it was important to strike a balance over the level of council authority over the way people lived but North said the councillor had misinterpreted the residents’ concerns.

“The council already has a fair amount of control over where one can live by way of zoning land. Should they have more control on how you live, by way of controlling how many bedrooms and ensuites you might want in a dwelling?” Hayes asked.

North responded that “of course any large family is entitled to build a house to suit their situation.

“But that doesn’t fit the Hart Rd context. This dispute is about a developer building 11 houses on 11 sites each with 9 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, and the likelihood of subsequently selling them to investors or to smaller families with multiple boarders filling up all the extra bedrooms.”

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