‘Too high, too many’
“Shocked” and “gutted” is how neighbours are feeling about the planned housing development off Gladstone Road.
Kainga Ora have shown them design drawings of the 22-house community the housing agency wants to build on land between 675 and 683 Gladstone Road.
Of particular concern to property owners is the density of the housing — fitting 70 people, based on one person per bedroom, on 5118 square metres of land.
The height of the buildings is also bothering them — three three-storey buildings, and eight two-storey buildings overlooking their backyards and taking away their privacy.
The new public two-way road into the complex will be just two metres from the master bedroom of a house in Mill Road.
The road would run alongside at least 10 existing, occupied, properties in Gladstone Road, Mill Road and De Costa Avenue.
Gladstone Road home owner of 15 years, Jason Birrell, said he was totally against the density and the height of the homes planned for three doors down.
“I understand there's a housing crisis and I don't want it to sound like, ‘not in my backyard'.
“But any person who is honest, if you told them a three-storey building was going up right next to them, would they be happy?”
Kainga Ora broke news of the development to most of the neighbours by dropping off a flyer in their letterboxes.
De Costa Avenue residents Dianne and Don Howard have lived in their home for 30 years.
They were disappointed about the communication from the Government agency. Last Thursday they got a flyer, then on Monday this week there was a drop-in meeting at the Roll Inn Cafe. Mrs Howard said the meeting was a “waste of time”.
“You could get no answers from them whatsoever.”
Four two-storey houses will be built beyond their back fence, with another two-storey block behind that.
“We wouldn't care if they were single storey. We are gutted they're going to go two-storeys high. We will lose all privacy in our backyard, and the noise pollution will be horrendous.”
Mrs Howard also questioned why the three three-storey buildings had to be right on the main road into town.
“That's taller than the motel there at the moment.
“What about the beautification of the area? Its not fitting in — they want to create a community but it's going to stick out like a sore thumb.”
Kainga Ora have also confirmed there will be no elevator in the three-storey buildings.
Mr Howard said they knew it had to happen at some stage as the section had been empty for as long as they had lived there.
What they wanted to see were the two-level buildings come down to a single level so that no one's privacy was compromised.
A Mill Road resident said she was still getting her head around it.
“We are all in a bit of shock. I understand the need for more housing but I think it's too big for where it is.
“That is a high population of people in a small space.
“Where in Gisborne is there a three-storey house of that capacity?
“There is a need for housing but it is a weird place to put it on the main road.”
On their boundary fence would be the new two-way public access road and across from that a two-storey house, with another two-storey house built behind them.
Neighbours are also worried about the overflow of traffic and visitors coming and going with no off-street parking.
Only one car park is provided for the two-bedroom units, with two car parks for any unit three bedrooms and more.
Mr Birrell said after speaking with his neighbours he knew they were all against it.
“One of our major concerns is losing up to 23 percent of our homes' value.”
This figure comes from an analysis of private homes that share boundaries with public housing, detailed in a paper called “Does concentration of social housing influence house prices? Evidence from New Zealand”.
The worst case scenario outlined in the paper is that high-density social housing concentrated in already deprived neighbourhoods could reduce a home's value by up to 23 percent.
Mr Birrell believes the Kainga Ora project is breaking Gisborne District Council's regional policies.
“The regional policy says that no new development should affect the privacy of neighbours, and it should not affect the neighbour's value of the house and their amenities. The list goes on and there's about five things they are breaking.”
All neighbours were realistic they were up against a big Government agency but said they could not stand aside and say nothing.
The development is at the design stage and resource consent has not been applied for yet at the GDC. Until that has happened, neighbours do not have any actual plans to object to.
Around nine Kainga Ora houses have been built in Gisborne already — on Abbott Street and Munro Street.
Kainga Ora have been actively scouting for builders for the past 12 months to complete further projects, which they have estimated will be ready in early 2022.
Currie Construction recently won the tender for another Kainga Ora project — 16 houses around London Street and Tyndall Road.