Tree madness in Mosgiel

A Dunedin City Council planner has recommended that resource consent be declined to fell an oak tree in Mosgiel.

This is an example of bureaucracy gone mad. Trees grow. Trees fall. Trees are cut down.

Why should trees on out own properties not be our own to do what we like with?

ODT: Developer to fight to allow felling of tree

Council planner Lianne Darby has recommended the hearings committee decline CC Otago Ltd’s resource consent application to fell the tree in King St, Mosgiel.

The tree, which is about 25m high, made a significant contribution to the amenity of the area, was healthy and the effects of its removal could not be mitigated, Ms Darby said in her report to the committee.

However, CC Otago Ltd director Craig Horne contends the tree’s canopy shades the existing dwelling and affects the comfort of its occupants, outweighing its amenity value.

‘Amenity value’ is a term used to try and justify councils dictating what it’s citizens can do with their own property.

When I moved in to my current property I cut down two large trees which shaded a neighbour’s house for much of the winter. The trees were close buildings and a high risk. I just cut them down.

I’ve probably cut down a hundred trees on my property. There were far too many, planted too close together.

I cut down an oak tree on my street boundary. It was planted to close to another oak so I pruned it to ground level. The other oak is doing much better now. I also planted another oak in another part of the property, in a much better location. It’s doing very well.

I’ve planted more trees than I have cut down. Better trees, in  better places, and the trees I haven’t cut down are doing better.

The Dunedin City Council is currently going through the process of implementing a new District Plan. This wants to forbid me from planting specified types of trees. It wants to forbid me from building, and it wants to forbid me from painting buildings a whole range of colours.

They want to severely restrict anything done above a 100 metre altitude. A lot of Dunedin is higher than 100 metres (my property happens to straddle the 100 metre contour). Because some people don’t want other people to do things with their own property. They don’t want to look across a harbour and see a house on a hill. And they want to force you to keep some trees and not plant others.

Why should the council dictate to me what I can do with my own property and my own things on that property?

One of the most important amenities a city has is it’s citizens. Or they should be.

Woman seriously injured, houses damaged in Mosgiel fire

A big blaze fanned by strong winds yesterday afternoon burned 50-100 hectares near Mosgiel (near Dunedin).

The ODT reports that as a result a women is in a serious condition in intensive care, and ‘up to nine’ houses have been damaged.

Woman hurt in raging fire

A woman is in Dunedin Hospital in a serious condition after a vegetation fire raged across Saddle Hill yesterday.

The flames swept through 50ha to 100ha, damaging ”up to nine” houses and forcing residents and livestock to be evacuated.

Unseasonably hot weather and strong, gusty winds fanned the flames, causing the fire to jump several roads.

Smoke was dense in places and the heat intense. St John Coastal Otago territory manager Doug Third said ambulance staff transported a woman to Dunedin Hospital in a ”serious condition”.

She remained in intensive care last night.

A series of photos were posted on Facebook showing how quickly the fire grew.

Scary.

There was some rain late yesterday afternoon but it cleared and strong winds have continued overnight.

Supermarket conditions – parking on streets ban

Countdown has been battling business limiting Dunedin City for some time, but were yesterday consent to build a new supermarket in Mosgiel – with a number of restrictive conditions attached.

Otago Daily Times reports Mosgiel supermarket approved.

  • The new store, which will be more than 50% larger than the present Mosgiel Countdown
  • Two protected yew trees on the site will be retained
  • No retail tenancies, other than a ”coffee dispensary”, will be permitted on the site
  • The customer car park will be locked during non-trading hours
  • Pylon signage is no larger than 6m high and 2.2m wide
  • Heavy vehicle usage limited to Gordon Rd
  • Low-tone beeping technology will be fitted to forklifts, all of which will be electric-powered quieter models.
  • Install noise-reducing glazing to nearby residential properties

Despite the noise reduction measures neighbouring houses have to be double glazed.

On top of all of that is one of the silliest conditions I’ve seen.

  • Supermarket staff will not be allowed to park their cars on surrounding streets.

How can they police that? More importantly, how can they prohibit private citizens from parking on public streets? Are they only banned from parking on streets during their shift hours or at any time?

The Mosgiel Countdown has had a major battle – they won some, as the DCC had recommended limiting opening hours to 9 am – 6 pm, which would have been an anti-competitive limitation as the New World open s 8 am – 9 pm.

Some of the conditions are still quite restrictive. Will heavy vehicles be banned entirely from other adjoining streets or just while delivering to Countdown?

But the ban on staff parking on streets is surely contrary to basic citizens’ rights.

Dunedin anti development again

Dunedin already has a reputation for being anti-development, unless it’s University related, they seem to do what they like.

Mosgiel is the fastest growing part of Dunedin (one of the only growing parts). So Countdown applied for resource consent to build a supermarket there.

But a Dunedin City Council planner has recommended that consent be declined, as reported by ODT in Planner strikes a blow to proposal.

The recommendation comes on the basis the supermarket would have significant ”adverse affects” on the community.

The plan for a new Countdown on Gordon Rd, which was predicted to add 48 jobs, prompted concern among Mosgiel residents.

There were nine submissions against the development, citing increased traffic, pedestrian safety, noise and insufficient on-site parking among residents’ concerns, three submissions in support and six neutral.

I can imagine a Countdown supermarket might have an adverse effect on the profits of the existing New World supermarket, and sure it would effect traffic flows.

Council planner Amy Young’s opinion is one piece of evidence to be considered when the council’s hearings committee convenes to hear submissions next week.

In the report, Ms Young said she did not agree with Countdown’s argument the supermarket would maintain and enhance amenity values in what was a residential zone.

”I disagree with this statement and believe that the applicant has made no concessions in terms of designing a development that can integrate with, rather than dominate the residential environment.”

Ms Young also said Countdown’s application lacked detail about two other retail sites, pedestrian safety and residential amenity.

I thought a place to be food would be an essential residential amenity. And spreading out traffic and being closer to some parts of town would be an advantage.

It may be that Countdown has been not thorough enough in it’s application.

But on the surface this seems just another nail in Dunedin’s development coffin.