Independent commissioners Jane Black, Heike Lutz, and David McMahon were appointed by Council to consider the application, and a hearing was held in Palmerston North, from January 20 to 22 this year.
Summary of decision
Having considered all relevant matters under s104 of the Resource Management Act, and based on the evidence and submissions presented at the hearing, the commissioners unanimously found that:
- Aspects of the proposal would result in positive social, spiritual and cultural effects, and in particular, strengthening of the building would result in positive effects on historic heritage and resilience to natural hazards.
- The proposed demolition of the baptistry will result in significant and irreversible adverse effects on historic heritage, and the scale, position and design of the proposed additions will result in adverse effects on historic heritage and the quality of the streetscape in this part of the city centre.
- Evidence suggests that alternatives could be adopted that would achieve the applicant’s express aims whilst having a lesser adverse environmental impact.
- The proposal is poorly aligned with the relevant District Plan objectives and policies when a fair appraisal of the provisions is applied as a whole.
An appeal against this decision can be made by submitters with the Environment Court within 15 days.
The Resource Management Act 1991 sets out details on this process. The appeal must also follow the form prescribed by Form 34 of the Resource Management (Forms) Regulations 2003. More information about forms and fees is available on the Environment Court website.
The Resource Management Act 1991 and the Resource Management Act (Forms) Regulations 2003 may be inspected at Palmerston North City Library or can be viewed on the government's legislation website.
A copy of the decision is available below: