1                                          4 November 2019

HUTT CITY COUNCIL

 

Minutes of an extraordinary meeting of The Hutt City Council held in the
Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, 30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt on

 Monday 4 November 2019 commencing at 5.30pm

 

 

PRESENT:

Mayor C Barry (Chair)

Deputy Mayor T Lewis

 

Cr D Bassett (via skype part meeting)

Cr J Briggs

 

Cr K Brown

Cr B Dyer

 

Cr S Edwards

Cr D Hislop

 

Cr C Milne

Cr A Mitchell

 

Cr S Rasheed

Cr N Shaw

 

Cr L Sutton

 

 

APOLOGIES:                  There were no apologies.

 

IN ATTENDANCE:       Ms J Miller, Chief Executive

Mr B Kibblewhite, General Manager, Corporate Services

Ms H Oram, Acting General Manager, City Transformation  

Mr M Reid, General Manager, City and Community Services

Mr D Kerite, Acting Divisional Manager Environmental Consents

Mr J Hoyle, Senior Communications Advisor

Mr H Wesney, Divisional Manager, District Plan Policy

Mr N Geard, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst

Mr J Jeffries, Environmental Policy Analyst

Ms K Stannard, Divisional Manager, Democratic Services

Mr D Male, Committee Advisor

Ms E Manohar, Senior Associate DLA Piper

 

PUBLIC BUSINESS

 

 1.

OPENING FORMALITIES KARAKIA TIMATANGA

Whakataka te hau n at uru                                  Cease the winds from the west

Whakataka te hau n at tonga                              Cease the winds from the south

Kia mākinakina ki uta                                           Let the breeze blow over the land

Kia mātaratara ki tai                                              Let the breeze blow over the ocean

E hī ake n ate atakura                                          Let the red-tipped dawn come with a

He tio, he huka, he hau hū                                   sharpened air.

Tīhei mauri ora.                                                     A touch of frost, a promise of a glorious day.

 

2.       APOLOGIES 

Resolved(Mayor Barry/Cr Briggs)                                          Minute No. C 19101(2)

“That the apology received from Cr D Bassett be accepted and leave of absence be granted.”  

3.       PUBLIC COMMENT

Comments are recorded under the item to which they relate.      

4.       CONFLICT OF INTEREST DECLARATIONS

Cr Dyer advised that he was a member of the Petone Community Board (the Board) in the last triennium.  He highlighted the Board had submitted to Plan Change 43.  He stated that he had sought legal advice and had been advised there was no conflict of interest.

Deputy Mayor Lewis declared an interest in P2040 Community Group.  She highlighted that the P2040 Community Group had submitted to Plan Change 43.

5.

Statutory Declaration by Councillor S Edwards and Councillor C Milne (19/1286)

Councillors S Edwards and C Milne made the statutory declarations required by Clause 14, Schedule 7 of the Local Government Act 2002, which were witnessed by Mayor Barry.

6.

Statutory Briefing (19/1291)

Report No. HCC2019/1(2)/218 by the Acting General Counsel

 

The Chief Executive elaborated on the report.  She highlighted matters of particular relevance to members in respect of the Local Government Act 2002, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987, the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act, sections 99, 105 and 105A of the Crimes Act 1961, the Secret Commissions Act 1910, the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013 and the Public Audit Act 2001.

 

Resolved(Mayor Barry/Cr Milne)                                           Minute No. C 19102(2)

“That Council notes the legislative provisions affecting members.”

Cr Dyer left the meeting at 6.26pm and rejoined the meeting at 6.28pm.

Cr Brown left the meeting at 6.28pm and rejoined the meeting at 6.30pm

7.

Proposed District Plan Change 43 Residential and Suburban Mixed Use – Decision on Submissions (19/1293)

Report No. HCC2019/1(2)/220 by the Divisional Manager, District Plan Policy

 

Speaking under public comment, Mr P Steele advised that if members believed that they being asked to accept Plan Change 43 (PC43) without being able to consider the merits, then they should be seeking all avenues to challenge the decision.  He noted that officers absolutely could not make any assurance whether there would be loss of amenity.  He considered there had been a number of errors of law and process regarding the delegation of responsibility and breaches of natural justice.

Speaking under public comment, Mr R Arlidge and Mrs L and Mr B Girvan expressed concern with the Hearing Panel’s recommendation regarding PC43.  They considered the process was flawed.  They believed there had been a last minute change to the recession plane.

 Speaking under public comment, Dr D Page and Mr I McLauchlan expressed concern with the Hearing Panel’s recommendation regarding PC43. 

Speaking under public comment, Dr D Darby believed the 3m side yard had reduced to a 1m side yard at some time before public notification.  He further believed that after public notification the side yard had increased to 3.5m and was not publicly notified.   He considered that officers had slipped in the change resulting in members being put under pressure when asked to either accept or reject PC43.

Speaking under public comment, Ms P Hanna, a member of Petone 2040 Community Group, endorsed comments made by the Hearings Panel regarding the Petone/Moera area.  She urged members to promote a separate historical heritage-related character plan change to properly safeguard those areas.

Speaking under public comment, Ms S Lafrenz urged members to reject PC43.  She believed the consultation was not completed correctly.  She also considered there could be potentially blocks and blocks of three-four storey buildings with no regard to residents living in single storey houses.  She highlighted that there should be two storey buildings in medium density areas and three storey buildings in the surburban mixed density areas. 

Speaking under public comment, Ms L Mead considered there were two points of law which members could use to reject PC43.  The first point of law was that officers had submitted a late submission asking that vegetation removal be permitted in General Residential zones.  The second point of law was the recession plane point and roofline additions had not been properly consulted on.  She highlighted that the Hearing Panel recommended increasing the recession plane to 3.5m and increasing the roofline by an additional 1m. 

Speaking under public comment, Mr D Innes considered the previous Council had pampered to developers amounting to $29M.  He expressed concern with the scale of the PC43 plans.  He believed Council had sneaked through the change to the removal of vegetation on land which was directly contrary to what the Environment Court would be deciding on shortly.  He noted that the Lower Hutt District Plan review was due in 2013, 10 years after the last review was finalised.

Speaking under public comment, Mr M Gray noted that the initial PC43 was based around specific area.  He considered the latest PC43 also included the rest of the city.  He queried whether PC43 could override Council’s Spatial Plan.  He believed that members had not had enough time to digest the recommendation from the Hearing Panel.

Speaking under public comment, Mr M Young believed that PC43 would be exciting for the city.  He also believed there had been a thorough process leading up to this point.  He acknowledged that there was the requirement to provide more housing and that PC43 would make that happen.  He raised the issue of the carparking requirement under the Transport Chapter of Lower Hutt’s District Plan.  He advised that every residential dwelling was required to have one carpark. 

Speaking under public comment, Mr D Robinson queried how many members had read the submissions and attended the hearing.  He believed officers had a ‘heads up’ on the way the commissioners were thinking almost a month ago.  He questioned the confidence of members that they had sufficient time to read and absorb the the recommendation from the Hearing Panel.  He also questioned the urgency of members to rubberstamp the adoption of PC43.

Cr Bassett joined the meeting via skpe.

The Chief Executive elaborated on the history of PC43.  She acknowledged the dense documentation put before the members to make a decision.  She had investigated why the previous Council had decided to deal with the matter via an independent panel.  She noted that the commissioners involved in PC43 had been recommended to the previous Deputy Chair of the District Plan Committee and she had agreed to appoint them.  She highlighted that since her arrival she had been contacted, in particular, by Cr Bassett and certain residents.  She had commissioned three legal opinions and dealt with those legal opinions consistently.  She strongly expressed that she was more than satisfied the commissioners were acceptable and accountable.  She elaborated on the qualifications and skills of the commissioners.

Cr Sutton left the meeting at 6.33pm.

The Chief Executive noted the commissioners were fully aware of the concerns raised about them before they sat on the hearing.  She stated that she had been upfront with those issues.  She also stated that she was asked by the previous Deputy Mayor to use her own powers to withdraw PC43.  She was very clear that she did not have the power to do that and it would require a report back to Council. She said she was asked by the previous Mayor to look at the pros and cons of withdrawing PC43.  She acknowledged that withdrawing PC43 would defuse opposition in the short term and that it would be seen to be responding to a certain section of the community.  She said that on balance she looked at the context of spending $1.5M on PC43 so far, the acute nature of the housing crisis in the city and the National Policy Statement on Urban Development.

Cr Sutton rejoined the meeting at 6.35pm.

The Chief Executive confirmed that she was satisfied Council was able to make the decision one way or the other.  She said it was not about the members being lawyers or planners or experts.  She highlighted it was about understanding the nature of the decision, the options, the reasons for those options including the pros and cons and coming to a decision.

The Divisional Manager, District Plan Policy elaborated on the Resource Management Act responsibilties.  He also elaborated on the significance of a district plan, submissions on PC43, the reasons and processes for PC43 and the Hearing Panel’s recommendation for medium density residential, suburban mixed use and general residential. 

The Divisional Manager, District Plan Policy expanded on the report and the recommendation from the Hearing Panel.  He highlighted a minor correction to paragraph 15 of his report.  He advised the wording “either” and “or in part”  should be deleted.  He confirmed the sentence should read “If Council….recommendations in whole.

The Senior Associate, DLA Piper elaborated on the legal considerations under the Resource Management Act 1991.  She confirmed that DLA Piper had taken a full legal review of the recommendation from the Hearing Panel.  She also confirmed there was was no legal basis on which members could need to reject the recommendation.  She highlighted the role of members was to either approve the Hearing Panel’s recommendation in whole or reject the Hearing Panel’s recommendation in whole.

The Divisional Manager, District Plan Policy responded to an issue raised under public comment relating to the increase in the recession plane.  He confirmed the Hearing Panel had published an interim recommendation and further submissions were made to that recommendation.  He expanded on the changes to the amenity values which was to increase the housing supply.   He stated that as members of the professional institute, officers abided by the Environment Court’s practice notes and Code of Conduct.  He highlighted that Council had been undertaking a rolling review of Lower Hutt’s District Plan. 

The Divisional Manager, District Plan Policy responded to an issue raised under public comment relating to the carparking requirement.  He confirmed that the submission was deemed outside scope because it related to the Transportation section of the Lower Hutt District Plan which was not part of PC43.

The Senior Associate, DLA Piper confirmed that DLA Piper was comfortable with the way the perceived conflict of interest was addressed by the commissioner during the Boulcott hearing and through the report.  She noted that the potential conflict was acknowledged and the commissioner stepped away from the decision. 

In response to a question from a member, the Divisional Manager District Plan Policy advised that submitters would receive Council’s decision not the Hearing Panel’s recommendation.

In response to a question from a member, the Senior Associate DLA Piper advised that the two year time period for a decision on PC43 expired shortly.  She added that seeking an extension of time was covered off under the Resource Management Act 1991 when there was special circumstances.

The Acting General Manager, City Transformation advised that the extension of time was raised with the previous Mayor and Chair of the District Plan Subcommittee in the last triennium.   She added that officers had contacted the Ministry for the Environment (MoE) to discuss the extension.  MoE acknowledged that they had never previously received an extension of time application.

In response to a question from a member, the Senior Associate DLA Piper advised that the previous Council had delegated authority to the District Plan Committee to hear plan changes.  However, she confirmed that Council retained the authority to accept or reject plan changes. 

In response to a question from a member, the Environmental Policy Analyst advised the proposed National Policy Statement (the Statement) had been released in draft form and the MoE was aiming to put it into effect in 2020.  He highlighted the Statement carried a greater emphasis on intensification and there was a stronger obligation on local authorities to provide for growth.

The Chair sought clarity from the officers that Council could only reject the recommendation from the Hearing Panel if there was strong legal grounds to do so.  The Acting General Manager, City Transformation strongly advised that, based on legal advice, there were no material grounds in law for rejecton of PC43.

In response to a question from a member, the Senior Associate DLA Piper advised that if members accepted PC43 then the next step would relate to the statutory timeframe for appeals.  She highlighted that other interested parties could join the appeals before it went to court.  She stated it could take up to two years.

In response to a question from a member, the Chief Executive said that those charged with governance, PC43 was a pressing issue and had been for a while.  She highlighted that if central government did not believe members were able to carry out their planning powers effectively then central government could elect to remove them.  She stated that a lot of money had been spent in getting to this stage and if members decided to let the matter lie on the table then it was possible Council opened itself up to actions from the Auditor General and from central government in relation to its Statement.

The Senior Associate DLA Piper endorsed the comments made by the Chief Executive from a legal perspective.

The Chair spoke in support of approving PC43 including the amendments as recommended by the Hearing Panel.  He recommended an additional part (v) be added to the motion as follows: “(v) during 2020 – 2021 as part of the District Plan review, prioritise addressing the issue of protecting historic heritage and character in Petone-Moera and elsewhere within the district as suggested by the independent commissioners for Plan Change 43.”  He said PC43 would help with the housing supply, overcrowded homes, people living in cars and the young people wanting to buy their first house.  He acknowledged that PC43 was not a silver bullet.  He stated that residents would not see intensification suddenly go across the city.  He noted that PC43 would change the long term look of the city and would cater for the needs around housing.  He said the advice was clear from officers and DLA Piper that Council was unable to reject PC43.   

Cr Edwards spoke in support of approving PC43.  He acknowledged the concerns of the submitters.  He considered that the Hearing Panel had carefully weighed up all the impacts and arrived with a recommendation that balanced competing interests.

Cr Sutton spoke in support of rejecting PC43.  She considered that she had been mislead by the process used for PC43.  She was under the impression that PC43 focussed solely on targetted areas around transport hubs and suburban shopping areas.   She believed that Council’s current planning rules were flexible and adequate.

Cr Hislop expressed support with a number of parts recommended for PC43.  She expressed concern that her understanding was that PC43 was focussed around transport nodes.  She believed that PC43 went against the policies and objectives of the Lower Hutt District Plan in relation to the amenity values particularly in the general residential area. She considered that more thought was needed for PC43.  She also expressed concern with the amount of time she had been given to read and digest the information.  She advised that she was unable to support the approval of PC43.

Cr Milne spoke in support of approving PC43.  He elaborated on the need for PC43 and the change in amenity values.  He acknowledged the city needed more houses.  However, he considered the houses should be smaller and the current housing stock was suited to this.  He noted the central government rent regulations had resulted in the lack of supply of houses.  He acknowledged the submitters’ concerns regarding some amenity values being reduced.  He also acknowledged and elaborated on the benefits to greater population density.  He believed that PC43 would not have a great impact on affordability. 

Cr Briggs spoke in support of approving PC43.  He expressed support with the comments made by Crs Milne and Edwards.  He acknowledged the advice from the Hearing Panel and he noted it gave him more faith in moving forward in supporting the recommendation.  He accepted that criticism came with the role of being an elected member.  He acknowledged the extremely thorough work that the newly elected members had done and was confident members were in a position to make a decision in the best interests of the city.

Cr Dyer spoke in support of approving PC43.  He acknowledged there was a homelessness problem in the city.  He considered that residential intensification must occur to address the social issues around the problem.  He commented on the recommendation from the Hearing Panel where the city’s green belt alone cannot provide sufficient number of houses to keep up with the expected growth. 

Cr Shaw spoke in support of approving PC43.  She acknowledged the concerns of the submitters.  She stated that Council had a morale obligation to provide affordable housing. 

Cr Rasheed spoke in support of rejecting PC43.  She considered that Council needed to support targetted areas around transport hubs and not across the city.  She did not agree with the Regional Public Health’s statement that they did not have sunlight concerns relating to intensificiation.  She considered that the elderly and people with disabilities could not get sunlight from public spaces.

Deputy Mayor Lewis spoke in support of approving PC43.  She acknowledged that members had the decision to either accept PC43 in whole or reject PC43 in whole.  She believed it was Council’s obligation to supply housing to the homeless.  She acknowledged there needed to be changes to the Design Guide as recognised by the commissioners. 

Cr Bassett spoke in support of rejecting PC43.  He elaborated on the issues with PC43.  He highlighted the long term adverse effect on the city and the significant ramifications for residents.  He spoke of the pressure on the city’s infrastructure, waste and storm water and parking.  He believed the need for urban growth was a exercise that Council should be undertaking separately.

Deputy Mayor Lewis left the meeting and rejoined the meeting

Cr Brown spoke in support of approving PC43.  She thanked the submitters for their submissions.  She stated the process undertaken was extensive and thorough.  She also stated that public consultation had been extensive.  She expressed confidence that the three independent commissioners had the right qualifications to undertake the work.  She expressed support for the different type of housing and acknowledged the housing shortfall.

Cr Mitchell considered PC43 presented a considered response to the need to provide more housing.  He stated PC43 met Council’s obligations under the National Policy Statement on urban development capacity.   He also stated the housing crisis was not about affordability for first home owners.  He believed the home’s construction should  contribute to addressing the recent explosion of house prices caused by under supply across the region.

The motion was taken in parts.  Part (i) was declared CARRIED on the voices. 

 

Resolved(Mayor Barry/Cr Mitchell)                                Minute No. C 19103(2)

“That Council:

(i)    receives the information;

(ii)   approves Proposed Plan Change 43, including the proposed amendments, as recommended by the Hearing Panel and set out in Appendix 1 to the report;

(iii)  accepts the further evaluation of Proposed Plan Change 43 contained within Appendix 1 to the report;

(iv)  instructs officers to notify Council’s decision to all parties in the process as soon as practicable; and

(v)   during 2020 – 2021 as part of the District Plan review, prioritise addressing the issue of protecting historic heritage and character in Petone-Moera and elsewhere within the district as suggested by the independent commissioners for Plan Change 43.”

For the reasons that the Hearing Panel has considered all submissions on Plan Change 43 and, where appropriate, has modified the notified provisions of the plan change in response to some submissions and based on the evidence given at the hearing.

         

 

          Parts (ii)-(v) above were declared carried by division with the voting as follows:

For

 

Mayor Barry

Cr Briggs

Cr Edwards

Deputy Mayor Lewis

Cr Milne

Cr Brown

Cr Dyer

Cr Mitchell

Cr Shaw

Against

 

Cr Bassett

Cr Sutton

Cr Hislop

Cr Rasheed

Total: 9

Total: 4

 

8.

Interim Delegations to Community Boards (19/1289)

Report No. HCC2019/1(2)/219 by the Contractor

 

Resolved(Mayor Barry/Cr Dyer)                                          Minute No. C 19104(2)

“That Council:

(i)    notes that the delegations to community boards for the 2019-2022 triennium will be reviewed for consideration by Council in consultation with the community boards early in 2020, with the objective of having new delegations in place by the end of March 2020; and

(ii)   adopts the interim delegations to community boards attached as Appendix 1 to the report.”

For the reasons that the interim delegations presented will provide a framework within which to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of local communities in the present and for the future.

 

9.

Appointments to Community Boards and Joint Committees (19/1308)

Report No. HCC2019/1(2)/221 by the Contractor

 

Resolved(Mayor Barry/Cr Lewis)                                          Minute No. C 19105(2)

“That Council makes the following appointments:

(i)            LGNZ Zone 4: Cr J Briggs and Cr B Dyer and alternates Cr S Edwards and Cr L Sutton;

(ii)          Eastbourne Community Board: Deputy Mayor T Lewis;

(iii)        Petone Community Board: Deputy Mayor T Lewis;

(iv)        Wainuiomata Community Board: Cr K Brown;

(v)          Hutt Valley Services Committee: Cr J Briggs (Chair), Cr D Bassett, Cr B Dyer and
Cr N Shaw, alternate Cr L Sutton;

(vi)        Regional Transport Committee: Mayor C Barry and alternate Cr B Dyer;

(vii)      Wellington Regional Strategy Committee: Mayor C Barry and alternate Cr D Hislop;

(viii)    Hutt Valley Flood Management Subcommittee: Mayor C Barry, Deputy Mayor T Lewis and Cr S Edwards and alternate Cr S Rasheed;

(ix)        Whaitua Te-Whanganui-a-Tara: Deputy Mayor T Lewis;

(x)          Wellington Region Climate Change Working Group: Cr A Mitchell and alternate
Cr J Briggs;

(xi)        Wellington Regional Waste Minimisation and Management Joint Committee:
Cr S Edwards and alternate Cr A Mitchell; and

(xii)      Creative Communities Panel: Cr B Dyer and Cr S Rasheed.”

For the reason that appointing Council representatives to the city’s community boards and to other organisations in the region will promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of Lower Hutt communities in the present and for the future.

10.     QUESTIONS   

There were no questions.

 

11.

CLOSING FORMALITIES – KARAKIA WHAKAMUTUNGA

Kia hora te marino                                                              May peace be wide spread

Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana                               May the sea be like greenstone

He huarahi mā tātou i te rangi nei                                  A pathway for us all this day

Aroha atu, aroha mai                                                        Let us show respect for each other

Tātou i a tātou katoa                                                         For one another

Hui e Tāiki e!                                                                     Bind us together!

 

 

 

 

 

 

There being no further business the Chair declared the meeting closed at 7.55pm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C Barry

MAYOR

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFIRMED as a true and correct record

Dated this 24th day of March 2019