Consent for new telecommunications facility
5 December 2003
Council grants consent for new telecommunications facility
Waitakere City Council has granted resource consent to Vodafone NZ Ltd, to construct a telecommunications facility at 11 Scott Rd, Hobsonville.
However, after considering 60 submissions on the proposal - including those expressing concern over the facility’s possible impact on any future development in the area - the Council decided to limit the length of consent to 10 years. This means Vodafone will have to reapply for resource consent to retain the facility after that time.
The facility will provide cellphone coverage to the surrounding area and across the harbour to Beach Haven.
The facility will cover an area of around 70 square metres (including the fenced area around the base of the mast and three equipment cabinets). It will also include a 30m high pole structure, six panel antennas and a 30cm dish attached to the structure.
Vodafone’s proposal is considered a discretionary activity under the City’s District Plan, as it would exceed the maximum height of buildings and infrastructure set for the area’s Countryside Living Environment zoning.
Resource management issues include the adverse effects on visual amenity and landscape character created by the height of the structure.
Submitters raised concerns about potential health and safety effects from electromagnetic radiation, the height of the proposed structure and whether it would compromise future development potential.
Vodafone says the height is required due to the tall trees throughout the area, but that they would also act as a screen.
The Council’s Hearings Committee chair, Gwen Nash, says the committee decided to grant resource consent because it was satisfied that any environmental effects would be mitigated and that the relevant objectives and policies of the District Plan would be satisfied.
“We are happy that any adverse effects on visual amenity and neighbourhood character would be minor, given the location of the site, its distance from site boundaries (and neighbouring dwellings) and the fact that the significant height of the trees on the site would both screen and off-set the vertical impression of the structure on the skyline.”
“Even if the facility is able to be seen from neighbouring properties, only the very top portion of the mast and antennas will be visible.”
In response to perceived health effects from electromagnetic radiation, Cr Nash says the Council was guided by a Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health document titled, “National Guidelines for Managing the Effects of Radio Frequency Transmitters”, which indicates that there are no established health effects from facilities which produce radio frequency energy, provided exposures are within legal limits.
“The submitters were listened to and the committee did make adjustments to the conditions of the consent, limiting the time period and allowing for reviews of impacts on the surrounding environment,” Cr Nash says.