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M I N U T E S
Commencing on Monday, 29 July 2019 and subsequently reconvened in Public Excluded Session on a number of dates to consider further information and undertake its deliberations and decision making
(Objection under section 357A to a decision made regarding application by New Zealand Sikh Society (Hastings) Inc)
HASTINGS DISTRICT COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE Hearings Committee
HELD IN THE Council Chamber, Ground Floor, Civic Administration Building, Lyndon Road East, Hastings
COMMENCING ON Monday, 29 July 2019 AT 9.30am
Present: Chair: Councillor Lyons
Councillors Barber and Kerr (Deputy Chair)
IN ATTENDANCE: “Consent Authority”
Consultant Planner (Mrs R Macdonald, Sage Planning)
Team Leader Environmental Consents/Subdivision (Mr C Sutton)
ALSO IN ATTENDANCE: Environmental Consents Manager (Mr M Arnold)
Democracy & Governance Advisor (Mrs C Hilton)
ALSO PRESENT: “For the Applicant – New Zealand Sikh Society (Hastings) Inc”
Lara Blomfield, Sainsbury Logan & Williams – Legal Counsel for the Applicant
Baldev Singh – priest from Sikh Temple
Jerry Hapuku, Kaumātua
Glenis Cooper, Architectural designer and Director of Absolute Architecture Limited, Hastings.
Todd Hansen – Director of law firm Hansen Bate Limited
Daljit Singh – spokesperson for the Supreme Sikh Society of New Zealand
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi – List MP for the National Party
Sarbjit Singh Hayer – accountant for the Sikh Society (Hastings) Inc
Mohinder Singh Nagra
Cameron Drury – a Principal Planner and Director of Stradegy Planning Limited
A large number of members of the Sikh community and others were present in the gallery as observers.
No apologies had been received from the Hearings Committee members rostered onto this hearing panel.
(Numbers in these minutes in italics/brackets denote record numbers in Council’s document records system).
The Chair and the other members of the Hearings Committee introduced themselves. A site visit had been undertaken prior to the start of this hearing.
The Chair outlined the process to be followed at the hearing and “house-keeping” matters were addressed. The reporting officer and council officers present were also introduced.
The Chair then addressed some comments to those present, as well as to the members of the press at the hearing. He asked if anyone had an objection to photos being taken at the hearing by the press. He reminded the press that any photos in the chamber had to be taken so that no-one in those photos could be individually identified. Any media interviews will be up to the individuals involved and were to be conducted outside of the hearing process and venue.
Councillor Bayden Barber welcomed those present, on behalf of the hearings panel. He welcomed the representatives of the Sikh Society and community to this hearing and acknowledged Kaumātua Jerry Hapuku who was also present.
Baldev Singh, the priest from the Sikh Temple gave the opening prayer.
Kaumātua, Jerry Hapuku addressed the hearing. He made some opening comments and gave a karakia.
Lara Blomfield, Legal Counsel for the New Zealand Sikh Society (Hastings) Inc advised that she would introduce each of the other parties speaking on behalf of the applicant, as they presented their respective evidence.
Ms Blomfield circulated and addressed her Opening Submissions of Counsel (55235#0075), on behalf of the applicant and responded to questions from the committee. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding her Submissions, included:
· Paragraph 52.2 - the applicant considered the subject site was the best option for the Sikh community.
· Copies of the affected persons’ consent forms were tabled from Marcus Bishop dated 26/11/18 (55235#0103) and Paul and Mark Apatu (Token Holdings Limited) dated 3/12/18 and 8/12/18 (55235#0023).
· Paragraphs 26.1 and 45.4 - she did not believe that the Industrial Growth node referred to this land and expanded on these comments.
· Paragraph 25.3 – how much of the land may potentially be used in the future for a communal garden. She would take instruction from her client during the upcoming tea break.
· Cameron Drury’s evidence would address accessibility to the subject site.
The hearing adjourned at 10.35am for morning tea
and resumed at 11.03am
At this point, Ms Blomfield responded further to some of the earlier questions raised by the hearings committee which had been discussed with her client during the tea break. The main points that were addressed included:
· There were approximately 1,500 people in the local Sikh community and more in the wider HB community.
· A communal garden was proposed “in principle” and more evidence about how this worked at the purpose built temple in Takanini, Auckland would be presented later in the hearing. The intention was to take a similar approach on the subject site if consent was granted.
Todd Hansen circulated and read his evidence (55235#0068), on behalf of the applicant and responded to questions from the committee. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding his evidence, included:
· He had acted for the applicant for some time but had been unaware of the council’s recommendation, in 2012, that the society consider applying for a Certificate of Compliance at that time.
· Mr Hansen thought he would have been contacted directly by the council on this matter, as he had corresponded with the council’s solicitor in 2013.
· Clarification was sought as to who the council advised of the recommendation to seek a Certificate of Compliance. Ms Blomfield advised that she would need to take instruction from her client.
· The Society accepted some responsibility in regard to this recommendation not being acted on, but noted it was unfortunate that the email in question (dated 25 January 2012) had not been sent to the official address for service for the Society nor sent as a formal letter to the landowner. The email in question was tabled later in the hearing (55235#0061).
Glenis Cooper circulated and read her evidence (55235#0067), on behalf of the applicant and responded to questions from the committee. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding her evidence, included:
· The committee noted that on the site visit, held that morning prior to the hearing, the members had seen diggers and construction on the neighbouring site. They were advised that this activity would not have an impact on the proposed temple’s operations.
Daljit Singh circulated and read his evidence (55235#0069), on behalf of the applicant and the Supreme Sikh Society of NZ and responded to questions from the committee. He also presented a short YouTube video clip (55235#0056) which showed the work carried out at the temple at Takanini. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding his evidence and the Takanini site, included:
· Paragraph 5 – the produce available on the Takanini site was available for the wider community, not just for the Sikh community.
· Paragraph 7 – there were 42 employees and 40 volunteers at the site working each day. Food was also delivered outside the temple.
· Paragraph 8 – the facilities could also be used by the wider community.
· There was a humanitarian aspect to the temple, not just a religious aspect.
· 200 to 300 people each day came to the site; up to 1,500 people on Saturdays; and at least 2,000 people on Sundays.
· There were 13 temples in Auckland and the Takanini site was the largest.
· The temple had made Takanini a safer area to live in. The temple and the Sikh community was now integrated into the wider community.
· Accommodation and housing availability in the vicinity of the temple.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi circulated and read his evidence (55235#0070) on behalf of the applicant. The main points that he highlighted in regard to his evidence, included:
· There were a large number of children from the Sikh community present at the hearing as it was important for them to see how the process worked.
· The proposed temple would be an asset for Hastings and HB and would respond if there was a call for assistance from the community.
The committee did not ask any questions of Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi.
Sarbjit Singh Hayer circulated and read his evidence (55235#0071) on behalf of the applicant and responded to questions from the committee. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding his evidence, included:
· The shortcomings of the present site on Southampton Street, Hastings.
· The subject site was Grade 1 horticultural land and clarification was sought as to the aspects that made this proposal unique, including the suggested use of part of the land for productive purposes.
The applicant was asked to respond, in the Right-of-Reply, as to whether it would accept a condition requiring a limit on the amount of hardstand area versus a percentage of the land to be retained for productive purposes, if consent was granted.
Mohinder Singh Nagra circulated and read his evidence (55235#0072) on behalf of the applicant and responded to questions from the committee. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding his evidence, included:
· How the Sikh community currently managed the use of the existing site, including the safety of the children near a busy road.
Jasmeet Singh circulated and read his evidence (55235#0073) on behalf of the applicant and responded to questions from the committee. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding his evidence, included:
· He reiterated earlier comments that the present site was not large enough for the students and prayers and a larger facility was needed for this use, as part of the temple’s overall activities.
The hearing adjourned at 12.20pm for lunch
and resumed at 1.08pm
Cameron Drury circulated and read his evidence (55235#0074) on behalf of the applicant and responded to questions from the committee. Paragraphs 1 to 5 of the evidence were “taken as read”. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, regarding his evidence, included:
· Paragraph 10 – clarification regarding the condition and contributions offered in relation to cycle connectivity. He would provide a copy of the diagram on the last page of the section 92 report (pedestrian walkway/cycle path from the entrance of the proposed Sikh temple to the existing footpath on Tomoana Road [Figure 5 of Stantec Amended Traffic Assessment Report dated 20 September 2018]).
· He responded to earlier questions from the committee and commented further on why the Sikh community had focussed on this particular site.
· He also responded to an earlier question as to whether the applicant would agree to limit the amount of hardstand on the site.
· Plantings and food production were proposed and the most appropriate way to show this was via an updated concept plan.
· The proposed site plan on Page 125, Agenda Document 2 was referred to.
· Approximately 7,500m2 of hardstand was proposed (20% of the site) in the centre of the site. Could proposed development of the site be reconfigured so future productive use of the land wasn’t so limited.
· He believed the Regional Policy Statement (RPS), HPUDS and the District Plan had all signalled that this area was to come out of productive use.
· The effect if this site was not in the Industrial Growth Area and the resultant impact that would have on the protection of the soils.
· Granting consent would take the land out of potential for industrial use.
· Paragraph 53.13 - the applicant believed this site and associated circumstances could not be easily replicated.
It was agreed that the preparation of the updated concept plan, would also take into account how the proposed layout of the site could be reconfigured so development was moved closer towards the road.
The earlier tabled signed affected persons’ consent forms from Messrs P and M Apatu were noted and their support for the proposal.
This concluded the presentation of the evidence on behalf of the applicant.
The Reporting Planner, Mrs R Macdonald, gave an extensive verbal response to matters raised during the hearing and replied to questions from the committee. The main points that were raised or addressed in response to questions from the committee, included:
· Documents including HPUDS and the RPS were consistent in their approach to looking after the Heretaunga Plains soils and she did not agree that she was “double counting” or “triple counting” (as had been stated in Ms Blomfield’s Legal Submissions) by relying on two or three such documents as a basis for recommending the application be declined.
· These documents all stood in their own right and her approach was common practice when assessing an application and outlining her reasons.
· While only one Sikh temple was proposed, she had not heard any evidence that distinguished it from any other application for a place of assembly that could mount similar arguments.
· Evidence had been presented about a range of activities that were undertaken on the Takanini site but which were not part of this application – including communal gardens, youth programme, and food distribution.
· There had not been the opportunity to consider these aspects as part of the notification assessment and they would fundamentally change the proposal if included.
· She stood by her report recommendation based on what she had to assess at that time as part of the application.
· HPUDS simply showed the future industrial node in this area as a circle without definitive boundaries/scale – making its impact difficult to assess.
· While the land had been purchased prior to the plan change, one needed to expect that the current situation would not remain the same forever.
· In response to queries made by member/s of the Sikh community information had been given to them that could have prevented the applicant being “caught out” by the plan change.
· The council can’t be expected to notify every person about any possible changes that may or may not affect them.
· If consent was granted, the land between this site and the corner of Tomoana and Richmond Roads could be the subject of a similar proposal without the aspect of that land having been purchased with that intention.
· It had been suggested that the layout of the subject site be relooked at and a concept plan be amended, with the intention of reducing as much hardstand as possible and maximising the amount of green space.
· She would need to see details of any such amended application and consider it further in terms of the District Plan.
· She felt that any change to the area of industrial land in this area should go through a plan change process, including robust public notification.
· She declared she was not a soils expert and there were a large number of sites under 12ha in the Plains zone that fit within this criteria.
The committee then asked the applicant to address the suggested amended concept plan in the Right-of-Reply – with the Reply Submissions either being given verbally today or forwarded in writing after the hearing was adjourned, along with the amended concept plan. The right was reserved for the consultant planner and council officers to subsequently consider the amended proposal and provide a response. Both the amended plan and the response would be forwarded to the committee.
Ms Blomfield gave a verbal Right-of-Reply at the hearing - with a written copy of those Submissions to be forwarded electronically following the adjournment, along with an amended concept plan and the earlier noted copy of the diagram on the last page of the section 92 report that Mr Drury had agreed to provide.
A written copy of the Right-of-Reply was subsequently forwarded to the council on 8 August 2019 (55235#0063).
No questions were asked of Ms Blomfield at the hearing in regard to the verbal Right-of-Reply.
The Chairman advised that the hearing was now adjourned awaiting the above noted further information that had been sought from the applicant and subsequent response from the consultant planner.
As part of this hearing process, the Hearings Committee would go into Public Excluded [Confidential] Session to consider the evidence presented and further information received and to undertake its deliberations in due course, in order to make its decision.
Councillor Kerr/Councillor Barber
That the public be excluded from the deliberations in relation to the hearing of the Objection Under section 357A to a Decision made regarding an application by the New Zealand Sikh Society (Hastings) Inc. The reason for passing this Resolution in relation to this matter and the specific grounds under Section 48(2)(a) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this Resolution is as follows:
That the exclusion of the public from the whole or the relevant part of the proceedings of the meeting is necessary to enable the local authority to deliberate in private on its decision or recommendation in:
a) Any proceedings before a local authority where:
i) A right of appeal lies to any Court or Tribunal against the final decision of the local authority in those proceedings; or
ii) The local authority is required, by any enactment, to make a recommendation in respect of the matter that is the subject of those proceedings.
The Hearing adjourned at 3.10pm and would continue
in Public Excluded Session in due course
to enable the Committee to consider the evidence presented and further information subsequently received and to undertake its deliberations and make a decision
HASTINGS DISTRICT COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE Hearings Committee
HELD IN THE Council Chamber, Ground Floor,
Civic Administration Building, Lyndon Road East, Hastings
COMMENCING ON Monday, 29 July 2019 AT 9.30am
Objection under section 357A to a decision made regarding application by New Zealand Sikh Society (Hastings) Inc…cONTINUED…
The Substantive Wording is set out below and forms part of the overall decision document. The decision wording, including narrative, is contained in a separate document as noted in brackets and italics below.
Councillor Barber/Councillor Lyons
Pursuant to section 357D of the Resource Management Act 1991 the Hastings District Council upholds the objection and grants consent to the New Zealand Sikh Society (Hastings) Inc. for a Place of Assembly, including a temple, ancillary library building, residential dwelling, and associated hardstand and earthworks, and
Pursuant to Regulation 9(3) of the Resource Management (National Environment Standards for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health) Regulations 2011, grants consent as a controlled activity for the associated earthworks associated with establishing the place of assembly;
on land legally described as Lot 1 DP 6463 (Record of Title HBG1/1005) at 28 Richmond Road Hastings.
(Note: The full wording of the signed hearing decision is attached as a separate document, but is circulated with, and forms part of these minutes – the signed decision is saved under 55235#0105 in the Council’s records system.
That full decision wording also includes the narrative which summarises details of the hearing process and the evidence that was presented to the Committee for its consideration, in regard to the objection).
Record of Further Information Requested/Received
Following the adjournment of the open session of the hearing, on 29 July 2019, the information listed below was subsequently issued or received (in the order shown) and was forwarded to the Hearings Committee (and also sent to the parties, as appropriate, in due course) and considered by the Hearings Committee as part of their deliberations:
· A Commissioner Minute (dated 29 July 2019) was issued on 30 July 2019 (55235#0050) clarifying and confirming the directions given by the Hearings Committee at the hearing in regard to further information that had been sought and associated timeframes.
· Applicant’s Written Right-of-Reply (sent 8 August 2019) (55235#0063) and Plan of Walking Access (page from sec 92 report) provided by C Drury (55235#0064).
Response to Commissioner Minute, dated 29 July 2019:
· Further information from Applicant’s Planning Consultant, Stradegy Planning Limited (55235#0083) including the Amended Concept Plan (dated 31 July 2019) – received on 8 August 2019, as directed in the Commissioner Minute.
· Further information from Consent Authority’s Planning Consultant, (Mrs R Macdonald) (55235#0086) in response to the evidence and amended concept plan forwarded on behalf of the Applicant – received on 14 August 2019 (a day earlier than the 15 August 2019 date directed in the Commissioner Minute).
Further information was subsequently received as follows:
· A memorandum (55235#0092) received from the Applicant’s Legal Counsel on 19 August 2019, requesting a further three week adjournment to enable that party to obtain fresh affected persons’ consents from the three adjoining properties identified on revised concept plan and obtain new or revised noise assessment considering the reconfigured site.
· Agreement by Chair of Hearings Committee, in email dated 20 August 2019 (55235#0093), to the further three week adjournment requested by Applicant – adjournment timeframe for receipt of above information set by Chair as being due on 10 September 2019.
· Information received from Applicant’s Legal Counsel on 10 September 2019 (55235#0097 – comprising attachments separately saved under 55235#0100; 55235#0101; and 55235#0102), to meet the timeframe set by the Chair.
The statement of clarification sought was subsequently received as follows:
· A statement of clarification as requested by the Hearings Committee was received on 13 September 2019 from the Environmental Policy Manager (Mr R Wallis). This statement clarified the process required to include the orange dot shown in the HPUDS document, for the Tomoana area, in the Proposed District Plan (55235#0104).
Formal Closure of Hearing and issuing of Signed Decision
· Email sent by the Chair on Tuesday, 5 November 2019 formally closing the hearing at 1.30pm on that date (55235#0108).
· Signed PDF Decision (55235#0105) dated 5 November 2019 and issued on that same date.
The meeting was subsequently formally closed
on Tuesday, 5 November 2019 at 1.30pm