Owners told to knock down rooms

A couple will probably have to knock down two bedrooms that a developer illegally added to two student flats before the couple bought them.

Alan and Kay McKay said yesterday they were told about the added rooms ''only a few weeks prior to the settlement date'' on the two units at 99 Clyde St.

They ''were not aware that this was a big issue''.

City planner Alan Worthington confirmed charges had been laid in the case.

A council legal adviser said the developer, not the current owners of 99 Clyde St, had been charged, and the developer would appear in court on July 23.

Last month, the Otago Daily Times reported the Dunedin City Council was ready to take ''high level'' action against the developer.

Three similar cases over the past year resulted in $10,000 fines.

At 99 Clyde St, the added rooms brought the total number of bedrooms in the two units up to 13, two more than the legal density - one habitable room per 45sq m.

Council hearings committee members visited the site after a meeting in late April, and subsequently dismissed the McKays' argument that destruction of the bedrooms would create a lounge area that would be too large.

The committee's decision, made last week, said ''the committee was not persuaded by arguments from the applicant that the original size of the living and dining area was somehow undesirable from a social point of view because of the potential to hold student parties''.

Moreover, committee members were concerned granting retroactive resource consent would set an ''undesirable'' precedent.

''It was the committee's view that this could play out both in terms of people creating extra rooms within existing facilities and also in people designing new developments applying for extra rooms and putting pressure on council to approve such developments on the basis of the additional rooms at 99 Clyde St, should consent be granted.''

As well as requiring the two extra bedrooms to be demolished, the decision called for the removal of a downstairs shower, because it had ''never been consented under the Building Act''.

Mr McKay said they were ''not just yet'' going to knock down the rooms or the shower.

''We're looking at an appeal, and we'll see what comes out of that,'' he said.

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