Century Group obtain non-notified consent for digital billboard

Wed Oct. 20th 2021

Consent is obtained for Century Group to install a new digital billboard adjacent to State Highway 1 in Mount Wellington.

Simon Berry and Tamsin Gorman worked with a multi-disciplinary team to obtain a resource consent for Century Group to establish a digital billboard in place of an existing static billboard, at a site adjacent to the Southern Motorway Mount Wellington off-ramp. The digital billboard will have an image dwell time of 30 seconds and will therefore appear little different to the static board it will replace.

The significance of the decision is that it is one of the first – if not the first – digital billboard consent granted on a non-notified basis adjacent to a State Highway.

The decision not to notify the application, and then to grant consent, were made by Auckland Council hearing commissioner, David Wren, despite Council officers recommending that the application be publicly notified due to adverse traffic safety effects.

“This decision illustrates the importance of applicants seeking resource consent from Auckland Council having access to independent and objective decision-making via commissioners in relation to notification”, says Simon Berry.  

That is particularly the case with digital billboards because Auckland Council and Auckland Transport planners and traffic engineers are fixated by the notion that digital billboards create traffic safety risks as a result of driver distraction despite there being no objectively verifiable research or evidence to support that position.

“They’ve heard that evidence before and know they cannot refute it and yet continue to recommend notification of digital billboard applications and that consents be declined – it’s very disappointing,” said Berry.

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