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Environment Court grants consent for Cypress Capital hotel

The Environment Court has today released its decision to grant a resource consent to Cypress Capital Limited for the development of a hotel on Tuwharetoa Street.

In doing so, the judge has acknowledged that Taupo District Council had assessed the relevant effects of the revised proposal and its change of position was supported by expert evidence.

Chief executive Gareth Green says the decision brought closure to an almost 24-month long process and vindicated the actions of the council and its staff when reaching a recommendation to support the revised application.

Cypress Capital Limited first applied to the council for a resource consent for the construction and operation of an eight-storey building at 29 Tuwharetoa Street in July 2018. The initial proposal was for three levels of basement carparking, retail activities on the ground floor, hotel accommodation on levels two to seven and a rooftop bar, spa, and pool. At the time, it was considered to be a restricted discretionary activity under the District Plan.

The application was heard by independent commissioners in February 2019 who decided the height and scale of the proposed building would be contrary to the objectives and policies of the plan, and that there was no support for buildings that did not comply with the permitted maximum height.

An appeal was filed against the decision but following mediation Cypress Capital revised the scale and height of the proposal to a six-storey hotel, including rooftop facilities, with two basement levels. The council was prepared to support the revised proposal on the basis it addressed the concerns raised in the original decision.

However, some parties in opposition to the proposal had heavily criticised the council’s handling of the matter.

Gareth says it was pleasing the court’s decision found the process by which the council obtained and presented evidence was transparent.

"The court was satisfied that all parties were made aware of the council’s changed position in a timely fashion and it was also satisfied the resolution of the appeal had been reached through a reasoned process supported by relevant information," he says.

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