The two-story semi-detached building at 320 and 322 High Street is in the hot seat as owner Cliff Seque requested the construction of two apartment blocks totaling nine units in its place.
The development would include a front block of five apartments with an appearance reminiscent of the current building, with another block of four apartments to be built behind.
A panel of the Dunedin City Council hearings committee met yesterday morning to consider the request to demolish the house, which was believed to have been built in 1901.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Phil Page, said the panel must judge the best course of action between conflicting political results.
âWhat the policy framework doesn’t tell you is how to resolve the tension between, on the one hand, providing quality housing choices for the people of Dunedin and, on the other hand, protecting heritage buildings. “
The proposed new apartments would reflect the political framework of the council better than keeping the current building, he said.
The commission was called upon to examine the resource authorization request after determining that public notification of the plans was not required because the environmental impacts of the proposal did not reach the required threshold.
In a report assessing the need for notification, consultant planner Kirstyn Lindsay recommended a hearing and said the demolition of the city’s heritage buildings was a sensitive issue with strong community interest.
The report also stated that the building was located in a heritage compound where the council dealt with environmental court proceedings regarding changes to the buildings, and the question of whether the environmental effects are minor was very finely balanced.
Council staff recommended that consent be granted with conditions.
Mr. Page requested that a condition requiring that the front block of units be completed within 18 months of demolition be changed to 24 months.
Ms. Lindsay was not opposed to the proposed amendment to the condition.
Group chairman David Benson-Pope said the group would pay a site visit if it deemed necessary and would “deliberate in due course”.