War on Gray Street


Commercial trucks on a Frankton residential section have sparked a war of words between angry neighbours and a defiant property owner.
Residents neighbouring 15 Gray Street are unhappy that catering company Flying Trestles is using the site to load and unload vehicles for its new commercial premises around the corner in McBride St. 

They claim it’s causing noise and road congestion and will affect their property values. 

Greig Garthwaite, who lives opposite, says they were shocked to discover the commercial operation encroaching on their narrow street when the fence separating 15 Gray St and the McBride St property was taken down a few months ago. 

“The sort of behaviour we’re dealing with now is, seven in the morning, you’re getting big commercial rubbish trucks backing into the section, unloading big dumpsters. 

“Who wants that in their backyard?” 

Garthwaite says their biggest beef is that the council, unknown to them, gave non-notified consent for this use back in 2006. 

Despite Gray St being in a low density residential zone, the council didn’t ask neighbours’ approval as it considered the activity to be ‘minor’. 

In a letter to the council three months ago, neighbours Anne and Richard Tapper wrote: “We are astounded this was a non-notified consent as this consented right of way clearly has a much greater than ‘minor’ effect on immediate residential neighbours and the greater Frankton community.”
Garthwaite says council’s decision was “extremely limp” and wonders if it was based on ‘who knows who’.
In an email to him, council’s resource consent manager Blair Devlin says the decision was probably non-notified as loading and unloading can only occur between 7.30am and 5pm.
“It was recognised that using the site on Gray St would result in noise impacts, however the restriction on hours of operation was deemed to mitigate that effect.” 

Traffic engineers conceded there’d be a small increase in traffic on Gray St but again thought the effect would be minor. 

Garthwaite: “The biggest issue is, where’s the council protecting the residents? 

“Most of the residents have had homes there for decades.” 

Council planning and development boss Marc Bretherton confirms the resource consent issued for McBride St in 2006 also allows Flying Trestles to load and unload vehicles at 15 Gray St between 7am and 5pm. 

“In that regard, the activity is consented and there is nothing illegal or non-compliant with the activity Flying Trestles is undertaking there.
“We have been monitoring the use of the site since receiving complaints from neighbours.
“As a result of that monitoring, another company has ceased using 15 Gray St as a bus park.”
Bretherton adds that council last week received a resource consent application to create a legal right of way over 15 Gray St.
“Part of the assessment will involve considering whether the neighbours are affected.
“If so, they will have the opportunity to submit on the application.” 

Meanwhile, Arrowtowner Nick Piper, who owns the Gray and McBride St properties and has a financial interest in Flying Trestles, with his daughter and son-in-law, has no truck with objectors. 

“We’ve got these people banging on, over the road, you’d think we’d put a nuclear bloody plant next door to their place.” 

Garthwaite, he claims, has got a vendetta against them. 

“He’s hostile and he doesn’t listen to reason and I could show you an email – I’m not going to send it to you – which is very very misleading and hostile.”
Piper, admitting he feels victimised, also claims his adversary has left “childish little notes” on his trucks.
“We’re not annoying him, we’re not even influencing him in any way, shape or form.”
Asked if Flying Trestles wouldn’t be better sited in Frankton’s industrial area where it used to be, Piper replies:
“It’s not really industrial.” 

He hints that aggravation from opponents could force him to park trucks on Gray St itself – which Bretherton confirms it’s entitled to do.
A planner for Flying Trestles and Piper, however, tells neighbours they’ve “gone to a considerable effort” to try to alleviate their concerns. 

A proposed on-site parking area has been shifted to the rear of the site.
The company will operate in accordance with a noise and operational management plan and the main truck entry and exit will be via 5 McBride St. 

“This will be the only access used by Flying Trestles during night time hours.” 

Garthwaite, however, tells the planner that noise reverberates in the area, especially on still nights. 

“Opening and closing of truck doors, movement of vehicles and all other activities that go with this business will be a negative to the neighbourhood.”