Your views: Disgust over townhouse development

Builders work on the townhouse development next to Kim Mehlhopt's Bolton Ave home. PHOTOS: MARTIN HUNTER

Readers respond to last week’s story about a townhouse deverlopment on Spreydon’s Bolton Ave, just metres away form Kim Mehlopt’s home of 15 years.

Judith Mackay – I was so angry reading about that poor woman unbelievable. What a disgusting performance by our council and the builder, what chance has the “little person” got against the likes of them.
How would John Higgins from the council like it, if it was his place, would it be such a minor effect. The council changed the law after the earthquake, obviously with no regards or safeguards for people. It is all about money and greed, both from the developer and the council letting it happen. Also the lady is still waiting for EQC repairs!

Judi Johnson – I am appalled at the city council’s lack of common sense in this situation.

Don’t the city councillors ever put themselves in these situations before passing these ridiculous ‘laws’? If they must have five two-storey houses on such a small section, surely they could make it mandatory that the driveways are on the outer edges of the sections so as to afford the (prior) resident neighbours some form of privacy and not cut out their sunshine so much? As for the close proximity to the neighbouring houses, that amount of room is just plain ridiculous. I remember when we had a house in Hei Hei and we applied for a permit to erect a garage at the front. We had to have it 4ft, from memory, from the footpath, and we had to supply a garden planting plan before it could be erected. We had to have the garage camouflaged from the road by plants. Our planting plan was approved and the garage duly erected and the garden installed. In this case I think the CCC should buy Kim’s property for the pre-earthquake valuation, and let her move to a more desirable situation. Kim.

Geraldine Radovanovich –  Great article on the housing issue. I think it sucks and ought to be investigated by the courts. It seems that the city bylaws were changed after the earthquakes. Probably by the National Government. I left the red zone in 2012 and have lived in Davis California since then. Developers in this city have to go through hoops to do that sort of development here and then the constituents have the vote. Last year an infill development of high density housing was voted down for various non compliant reasons. Also another development within the city boundary was turned down because it overlooked the citizens private homes that were considered old Davis homes. The citizens won.

Jo Harrison – I am absolutely disgusted at what is going on in the area. I have lived in the Somerfield area for 16 years and recently rebuilt our house due to the earthquakes. If I was aware of this type of housing I would not have invested to rebuild a family home in this area. To say the effect of this is ‘less than minor’ makes me so angry! I won’t rant any longer but I am aware that a lot of this is actually changes made by the National government and our local National MP washes his hands of it and blames the council as with the asbestos dump in Kennedys Bush, Halswell.

Kim Rankin – I have a the same issue in Papanui. It’s awful! But luckily I am a tenant and will be moving out at the end of our contract. This is where renting far outweighs paying a mortgage.

Gordon Heyward, of Parklands – In response to your article ‘woman feels crushed as new townhouses go up’.

I am sure there is a law that a building must be a certain distance from a boundary fence. In this case, there wouldn’t be enough room to paint the wall. I have also heard of other cases where a neighbour has to be consulted when a building is going up that could affect them. It looks like the concrete block wall would also be a firewall, but as there are windows it would no longer be a firewall and could be far from regulations. When it comes to having to work from a neighbours property or standing on their fence, that is trespassing unless you have permission. If that was me, I would have done something about it when the pegs first went in. The trouble is with these builders, they try to put too many houses on one section.

Natalie Edwards – Any sympathy one felt for Ms Mehlhopt is quickly eroded by her and tantrum-like behaviour with regards to the people working on the adjoining building site combined with her flagrant use of public service peoples time including the police, ministers of Parliament and WorkSafe.

The west side of Bolton Ave has historically always been medium density (L3) whilst the opposite side less dense (living 2/old zoning). The properties to the north of Ms Mehlhopt have already been subdivided some with two storey townhouses others with elderly persons housing. The District Plan has only been recently revised- did she look into the implications of her own situation and object – highly unlikely.

Her behaviour towards the trades on site appears to have been aggressive and poorly directed. My sympathy lies with the poor fascia fixer trying to do his job and then forced to do so on the fence whilst being photographed – followed by Ms Mehlhopt’s complaint to WorkSafe as a result- absolutely deplorable.

Chris Palmer – This is a city we live in and it needs building up, not out. So “yes” to higher density inner city development. What would Ms Mehlhopt like to happen – we keep subdividing farmland to build single level quarter acre dwellings ad infinitum? It would have been courteous to have kept her informed of the building work and respected her property. Hopefully Ms Mehlhopt not being consulted about the building work was nothing to do with her crude comments which may reflect her attitude and are not endearing to her argument.

Annette Chandler – It breaks your heart to see what’s happening to our city and this poor owner. I see it everywhere especially in a house I lived in previously and it now has at least three ugly townhouses on the site. I’m now concerned that this will eventually happen next door to my unit. I’ve phoned the city council but none has rung me back. Your article made me think of the possibility. A friend of mine from Thailand had sent me your article yesterday. She can’t believe what’s going on here. I’m so pleased I’ve read this.

Gary Knight, of Hoon Hay – Despite parochial and blaze views by many, the impedance of the urban space of many by inclusion of nearby concrete jungles is a very imminent problem. Character homes, privacy, neighbour interaction, suitable location and peace of mind are the prime catalysts for a myriad of residents having chosen their home for these attributes. To have it overshadowed by intervening and obtrusive housing projects close to their proximity is demeaning and a retrograde step for these dedicated residents. Through zoning anomalies these residential medium density housing projects, being compliant with council planning protocol bears testimony to not only major law full statute flaws, allowing progress of these housing units but also insensitivity by lack of consultation in many cases with property residents prior to their building instigation.

Rik Tindall – This is the sharp end of city medium density conversion, Addington’s congestion pushed further south. Extensive new cycle lanes show private motor cars are nearly ruled out, while public transport isn’t quite there. One or two bright ideas don’t add up to a working vision yet – far from it. Five two-storey units crammed onto 794 sq m expose a district plan enabling greed, inconsiderate of neighbours, lacking design.
Housing supply is not enhanced this way, just reduced in quality – box unit demand is already met. Communities need agency on their side, to remain whole, post-earthquake.