Hearings Committee



Minutes of an ordinary meeting of the Hearings Committee held in the Edinburgh Room, Municipal Chambers, The Octagon, Dunedin, on Friday 01 April 2016, commencing at 9.00 am





Cr Lee Vandervis



Cr Andrew Noone

Cr Andrew Whiley


Bill Feather (Mosgiel Taieri Community Board)




John Sule (Senior Planner/Committee Advisor), Lianne Darby (Processing Officer), Barry Knox (Senior Landscape Architect) and Aidan Battrick (Parks Officer – Trees).


Governance Support Officer      Jennifer Lapham




The Committee considered an application for the removal of a listed tree, T666 (Quercus palustris – pin oak), at 27 King Street, Mosgiel under sections 95A to 95G of the Resource Management Act 1991.  


The Committee was required to make a thorough assessment of the application using the statutory framework of the resource Management Act 1991.


The applicant was represented by:


Craig Horne (Director of CC Otago Ltd)


There were no submitters present.


Procedural Issues


There were no procedural matters raised.


Late Submission


The Committee considered the late submission from Darren Bain having regard to when the submissions were received, the content of the submissions and response from the applicant.


It was moved (Noone/Whiley):


"That the late submissions from Darren Bain be accepted under Section 37 of the Resource Management Act."


Motion carried



Presentation of the Planner’s Report


The Planning Officer (Lianne Darby) spoke to a summary of her report and provided an overview of the proposal before commenting on the notification of the application and the submissions received.  Mrs Darby commented that the removal or modification of a listed tree was considered to be an unrestricted discretionary activity in the Dunedin City District Plan and that there were no relevant rules in effect under the Second Generation District Plan.  She advised that consent to subdivide the subject site into two lots had been issued on 17 December 2015 (SUB-2015-105), but the consent had yet to be given effect.


Mrs Darby advised that the applicant sought to remove the tree on the basis that it had outgrown its location and was causing significant nuisance and shading.  She commented that staff considered the tree to be healthy, and of benefit the wider community.  Mrs Darby advised that staff had advised that the tree could be pruned to resolve any issues with power lines. 


Mrs Darby recommended that the application be declined and that the Council assist with funding for the pruning of the tree.


The Applicant's Presentation


Craig Horne tabled and spoke to his written submission which included reference to his pre-circulated evidence.  Mr Horne questioned the overall approach of protecting trees in a residential zone where the purpose of the zone was to provide a desirable living environment.  He commented that the subject tree shaded the existing house, compromised its warmth and access to light.  Mr Horne advised that the tree was healthy, however leaf and fruit fall, and the ongoing shedding of twigs and branches was a nuisance.  He commented that he considered the tree to be a risk in high winds, considering the close proximity of the house.


In response to questions, Mr Horne described the other vegetation on the property, and the implications for the vegetation from the proposed subdivision and development of the new vacant lot.  He discussed the shading effects of the subject tree, and noted that the hedge shaded the yard but not the house.


Mr Horne considered that Policy 4.3.7 of the District Plan, regarding giving the community ‘… a high degree of certainty as to amenity …’, was not referring to listed trees but the residential zoning of the land.  He commented that he had concerns about the Proposed Plan making the removal of listed trees a non-complying activity, as it would be much harder to gain consent.  Mr Horne advised that he did not consider the community highly valued the subject tree given the lack of response to the notification of the application.  He did not see any merit in protecting trees within a residential environment as they could outgrow their sites and become nuisances.  The STEM assessments did not include negative impacts in the analysis.


Council Officer's Evidence


The Parks Officer – Trees (Aidan Battrick) spoke to his memorandum and commented that, in regards to the tree being close to power lines, Delta would offer to prune a tree the first time for free, but would require the owner to pay for pruning work thereafter.  Mr Battrick was unsure whether or not the subject tree had been pruned by Delta already.



Mr Battrick advised that trees would put energy into vitality rather than growth as they became older.  It was difficult to estimate how the subject tree would continue to grow as it was very dependent on the environment, but Mr Battrick suggested that the tree would grow by approximately 30cm per year.  He advised that it could be pruned to clear the dwelling, and be thinned for light penetration.  Mr Battrick commented that the removal of more than 20% of the tree would, however, place the tree under stress.  A reasonable management programme would have the tree pruned once every three years or so, although the longer the time period between prunings, the greater the expense.


The Landscape Architect (Barry Knox) advised that STEM assessments focussed more on community benefits rather than localised amenity.  Mr Knox commented that in this case, the local amenity had probably reduced since the original STEM assessment was undertaken in 2001.  He advised that there would be reduction in access to light and sun, but not until mid-afternoon. Mr Knox believed it was good for the community to have some protected trees


The Planners Review of her Recommendation

Mrs Darby reviewed her recommendation in light of the evidence presented at the hearing and commented that the tree was healthy, and the Parks Officer – Trees and Landscape Architect did not support the proposed removal of the tree.  Mrs Darby confirmed her recommendation to decline consent.

Applicant's Right of Reply

Mr Horne considered that the assessment was a balancing act and that he did not consider the removal of the tree detrimental to the community.  He commented that Mosgiel still would have nice leafy streets and no one wanted to see a bare suburb, so that situation would not arise.  Mr Horne referred to the photograph of the tree in the 2001 STEM assessment, and noted the amount of growth over 15 years.  He advised that he had concerns for the future if the tree grew at a comparable rate and that this was a residential zone, and while Mr Horne liked trees, they needed to be at an appropriate scale for their environment.




It was moved (Vandervis/Feather):


“That the public be excluded from the following parts of the proceedings of this meeting, namely, Item 1.


The general subject of each matter to be considered while the public is excluded, the reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter, and the specific grounds under Section 48 (1) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this resolution are as follows:



General subject of each matter to be considered.

Reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter.

Ground(s) under section 48 for the passing of this resolution.


Resource Consent application – 27 King Street, Mosgiel

That a right of appeal lies to any Court or Tribunal against the Dunedin City Council in these proceedings.

Section 48(1)(d)



Motion carried


The meeting moved into non-public at 11.06 am.





PRESENT:                                 Councillors Lee Vandervis (Chairperson), Andrew Noone and Andrew Whiley and Bill Feather (Mosgiel Taieri Community Board)


IN ATTENDANCE:                      John Sule (Senior Planner/Committee Advisor) and Jennifer Lapham (Governance Support Officer)






The Committee gave consideration to the Planner's recommendation and to the points raised by the applicant. A site visit was undertaken during the non-public section of the meeting.




         It was moved (Vandervis/Whiley):


"That, pursuant to section 34(1) AND 104(b), and after having regard to Part II Matters and section 104 of the Resource Management Act 1991, the Dunedin City Council declined consent to the discretionary activity being the removal of the pin oak (T666) located at 27 King Street, Mosgiel, on the site legally described Lot 11 Block IV Deeds Plan 183, held in Computer Freehold Register OT393/55.


Pursuant to section 34(1) and 104B, and after having regard to Part II Matters and section 104 of the Resource Management Act 1991, the Dunedin City Council granted consent to a discretionary activity being the pruning of the pin oak (T666) located at 27 King Street, Mosgiel legally described as Lot 11 Block IV Deed Plan 183, held in Computer Freehold Register CFR OT 393/55, subject to the conditions imposed under Section 108 of the Act as shown below.


1.   Pruning work on Tree T666 should be for the purpose of canopy thinning, line clearance and removal of deadwood, should remove no more than 25% of the total canopy and should be undertaken by a suitably qualified and experienced arborist. The pruning work was to be undertaken in accordance with good arboricultural practice.


2.   Prior to any pruning work being undertaken a specification of the works was to be submitted to the Council’s Arborist to confirm the works were in accordance with good arboricultural practice.


3.   If necessary a suitable temporary barrier such as a temporary fence, barrier mesh, or 'danger tape' should be erected on the site while work was taking place to keep pedestrians and other traffic away from falling limbs and debris.


4.   All waste generated by the pruning works should not cause a nuisance and should be suitably disposed of within 7 days of the completion of the pruning works.



5.   The person exercising the consent should take all reasonable measures to ensure the use of machinery for the maintenance of T666 should be limited to the times set out below and should comply with the following noise limits (dBA);


Time Period






















Sound levels should be measured and assessed in accordance with the provisions of NZS 6803: 1999 Acoustics – Construction noise.  No work was undertaken on Sundays or Public Holidays nor between 8.00pm to 7.30am Weekdays or Saturdays."


Motion carried


            Reasons for the Decision


1.     The tree was significant in terms of its contribution to the amenity of the wider area.  It was a mature and very good specimen of a pin oak, which could be seen from public viewpoints, especially on King Street.  The effects of its removal on the amenity of the wider area could not be mitigated in a comparable manner.


2.     Neither Council’s Landscape Architect nor Parks Officer – Trees supported the proposal to remove the tree.  The Landscape Architect considered that the tree contributed to the wider amenity, and that it had considerable presence and dominance on the street.  The Parks Officer – Tree considered the tree to be a good, healthy specimen which did not present any immediate health or safety problems.  No credible evidence was presented that the tree was a safety risk.


3.     The removal of the tree would provide greater sunlight to the house on the subject site. However, there was also benefit in shade which the applicant did not identify.  The Committee noted that the locating of the house and the tree meant that shading would only occur later in the day.  The site was to be subdivided, and new owners were anticipated for both the new lots.  These purchasers would note the presence of the tree at the time of purchase, and should be aware of its significance.  The applicant/developer was aware of its status prior to purchase of the site.


4.     The Committee considered the issues identified by the applicant that have resulted in the application to remove the tree.  These included the location of power lines, the dominating scale of the tree, shading and nuisance concerns.  The Committee considered that the effects identified were not significant and could be mitigated though pruning and maintenance.  Pruning would resolve the lines issue, increase light through the canopy and minimise leaf fall into the guttering of the dwelling. 



5.     The Committee considered the direction from the Environment Court in the Butterworth case referred to by the applicant in support of the application to remove the tree.  The Committee considered there are differences with this application.  In this case the Pin Oak was a good specimen whereas the tree in the Butterworth case was not of good form and dominated the entire rear yard.  The location of the tree in this case provided for mitigation of its effects by pruning.


6.     The Committee also noted that a large walnut tree on the tree schedule was previously removed from the site through a resource consent and another large tree had been removed to make way for a new dwelling.  Of these trees the Pin Oak made the best contribution to amenity values and its location meant that it could be retained without significant adverse effects.


7.     The Committee considered that pruning of the tree falls within the scope of the application to remove the tree and that it would assist in mitigating the effects of the tree.  It had therefore approved the tree being pruning subject to a standard specification. 


8.     The proposed removal of the tree was inconsistent with most of the relevant objectives and policies of the District Plan.


9.     The proposed removal of the tree was considered to be inconsistent with the purpose of the Resource Management Act 1991, which sought to promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources. 



The meeting ended at 1.25 pm.