Tensions are rising as residents in a Takapuna townhouse complex grow accustomed to life next to a nine-level apartment block.
Views of a naked man in "full visibility for young children", parking and vehicle issues, light pollution spilling into homes at night, bedrooms and bathrooms without blinds and altercations between the neighbours are just some of the concerns that have been raised.
People from an existing two-level Takapuna townhouse complex have complained to the Government and Auckland Council hierarchy about how their lives changed once residents moved into the towering new nine-level apartment block which has risen beside them.
"This situation is appalling," wrote one townhouse neighbour of the new reality caused by the 19-unit tower looming above her.
"We now have children exposed to safety risks, not to mention no blinds on the windows in the apartments and, at the weekend, a naked man in full visibility for young children to see. This is not acceptable."
Auckland Council's Unitary Plan encourages higher, more dense developments in major metropolitan town centres. Takapuna is deemed to be one, due to major transport links and other infrastructure and services, making it appropriate for intensification.
The townhouses are near the Auburn St/Anzac Ave corner and are much lower-rise than many other existing hotel, office and apartment blocks.
A townhouse owner told how, on learning about the intensification plans, he tried to sell his much smaller place beside Alba but no one would buy.
Now, the townhouse residents are fuming about the changes.
"This is a sad, unhealthy and unsafe environment for families," one wrote. "I was what I can only describe as abused by...a man visiting the apartments two Sundays ago. He was standing in the driveway as I drove in. I tooted for him to move.
"He then smacked the side of the car and yelled. I got out and asked what his problem was. He then began to call me an f***ing idiot and pushed his body up so close to me and my face to try and intimidate me," the complainant said.
Mayor Phil Goff, Cabinet Minister David Parker, Housing and Transport Minister Phil Twyford and council chief executive Stephen Town got the complaint from the townhouse people.
An artist's impression of Alba, now built on Auburn St, Takapuna.
Manesha Morarji, a council relationship manager, clarified where vehicles were allowed to be on the site but also linked up the complainants with Alba's building manager and body corporate secretary. Those people could be contacted on issues people had complained about, Moraji said.
Alba residents could drive over sections of a driveway but not park there, consent conditions said. A line to mark the boundary of the driveway could be painted if that would help all parties. Vehicle manoeuvring was considered in the planning phase.
Premium advertised an Alba penthouse apartment for $1.6 million and says that place has been sold. It told of a "carefree lifestyle in a vibrant, rapidly evolving urban hub. In this central Takapuna location, everything is on your doorstep the beach, the lake, high-end shopping, markets, restaurants, cafes, bars, theatre and gyms. Life couldn't be simpler."
A townhouse owner, John Hill, voiced his concerns last year, saying his place would be a "s***hole" when Alba was finished.
Ian McLeod, Alba's facilities manager, said today: "I haven't seen any naked people in the apartments. We had a get-together before Christmas and all the owners - they're mature, decent people who have invested in top-quality apartments."
Blinds would be installed in apartments soon "because it's been so hot, these apartments are so well-insulated, they'll want to put them up to stop the heat," McLeod said.
It was not possible to see into bathrooms from the outside, he said. Bedrooms would probably get blinds for privacy and it was most likely only the kitchen/living areas which would remain visible from the outside because residents wanted to enjoy their views, McLeod said.
Gary Gordon of Legacy Property, which developed Alba, indicated that work at that site has been difficult, even though attempts had been made to ease the situation.
"We have tried everything possible to assist them and their tenants while we are building but they refuse," Gordon told the Herald last January.
"Unfortunately they have been abusive to our consultants and agents, threatened to go on site and cut stuff down, lodged false noise complaints when no machines were on site, made up health and safety complaints and more. I have never seen anything like this in my career," Gordon said last year.
Alba is higher than other buildings in the vicinity.
But now the construction phase is over and residents are moving into Alba, the townhouse people have new worries.
"People who have already moved in prior to Christmas have chosen not to get curtains, for some odd reason, so if we are on our deck outside we can see directly in bathrooms and bedrooms. Obviously, this isn't ideal, especially with young children," a townhouse resident said.
"At night the lights are shining down into our properties from the kitchen/living room/ bedrooms on our side, especially into 10a [Auburn St], and this will only get worse once all places are filled and they have their lights on at night. Due to the height to boundary not being the normal distance, we are now being polluted with lighting and have lost all privacy in our backyards and decking - again without any consultation," the complainant said.