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NZ: Auckland Country Club applies to rezone Pakuranga Country Club so it won’t turn into houses

POSTED ON August 6, 2022 @ 4:11 pm

A 38 hectare golf course in east Auckland has applied to change its zoning so it won’t be developed into houses, but not before it sold a slice to be developed into $200 million “premium” apartments for retirees.

The Pakuranga Country Club applied for a plan change from residential mixed suburban housing to “open space sport and recreation”, and the public has been asked to have its say.

The club owns the land its course is on, but under the current zoning golf is considered a “non-complying activity”.

It has been used as a golf course for 50 years and so the club is able to operate under “existing use rights”, but any substantial redevelopment would require a resource consent application.

The club said in the application it wants to “secure the club’s future and the use of the land for golfing purposes”.

General manager Sam Abela refused a request to be interviewed but said in a statement that the course was one of three in Auckland that had “incorrect zoning”.

“A move to rezone the land recognises the longstanding use of the land as a golf course. Before that it was a farm.”

A plan change would secure the club’s ambition to redevelop the private course into a gated community for well-off retirees.
Chris McKeen/Stuff
A plan change would secure the club’s ambition to redevelop the private course into a gated community for well-off retirees.

The application follows a fierce debate about whether it is appropriate to have golf courses located within urban Auckland as the city seeks to address a housing crisis.

Last year, Auckland Council consulted the public on whether several courses which have leases from the council ought to be repurposed for housing development and other recreational sport.

The consultation document said that only 7% of Aucklanders had played golf in the past year. It also said that experienced golfers were “declining in number”.

According to Te Waihanga, the NZ Infrastructure Commission, having urban land locked up in private golf courses has an opportunity cost that is ultimately paid by Aucklanders.

The golf course is not accessible to the general public. A membership costs $2000 annually.
Chris McKeen/Stuff
The golf course is not accessible to the general public. A membership costs $2000 annually.

General manager of strategy Geoff Cooper said “maintaining the status quo” came with a large cost.

He said an independent analysis of 12 Auckland golf courses showed that the “social cost” of retaining land for golf courses rather than repurposing them was more than $20,000 per member.

“In some cases, redeveloping facilities like golf courses for a different mix of uses would allow us to better serve the needs of changing cities while making better use of existing infrastructure,” Cooper said.

“Golf courses can provide benefits in terms of access to green space, although not all courses are open for non-golfing activities at present.”

Pakuranga Golf Club, a 38 hectare golf course in east Auckland, has applied to change its zoning so it won’t be developed into houses.
LINZ/Supplied
Pakuranga Golf Club, a 38 hectare golf course in east Auckland, has applied to change its zoning so it won’t be developed into houses.

Before the Pakuranga Country Club sought the plan change, some of its land was sold to Metlifecare to be developed into a $200m “premium” apartment complex for retirees, which will be integrated with the club.

“The investment decision was made on the basis that the Pakuranga Golf Course remains as a golf course for the foreseeable future,” Metlifecare said in a letter of support for the application.

The course’s new clubhouse includes a bar, restaurant and a wellness spa for residents of the village.

The club had initially sold 2.4ha of land to Elim College for creating a new sports field, but ultimately it was sold on to Metlifecare along with a further parcel of 1.2ha.

The application also anticipates that changing the zoning would reduce the value of the land by removing the potential for development. Its currently worth $163m and its annual rates bill is $163,554.

A membership to the gated club costs nearly $2000 a year.

Source: Stuff

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