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Couple stunned by neighbour’s carport asks why subdivision covenants weren’t considered

When Paul and Donna Yates built their home they positioned it to see the hills from the kitchen.

Built in Stoke, Nelson, in the 1990s, they thought the covenants attached to the property would protect the outlook, as any large structures that could block it would be prohibited.

Then last year their neighbour started building a carport, after being granted resource consent by the Nelson City Council.

Now they’re questioning why the covenants weren’t taken into account when it was built.

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Their neighbour, Mark Dempster, says he followed due process and the suburb has moved on from the 1990s when the covenants were written.

The consent application for the carport, which will be 3.7 metres high, stated the purpose was to “screen the applicant’s motorhome from the street” which would create a “more interesting streetscape than that of just a motorhome parked in the front-yard”.

It also stated that “in regard to neighbouring individual sites the carport will not be readily visible from either 8 or 12 … as they are largely screened via existing hedging and fencing along street boundaries”.

In granting the consent the council wrote it “would not overlook any adjacent outdoor living area or block views”.

Braden Fastier/Nelson Mail

The Yates positioned their house to enjoy a view of the hills, but now have to look through a neighbour’s carport.

But the Yates say it changes their outlook dramatically.

“To say we’re annoyed is a bit of an understatement,” Paul Yates said.

The large structure blocked their view of the hills and went against the subdivision’s lifetime covenants which put restrictions on large outbuildings and requires any additions to be in a “style similar to the dwelling”.

Donna Yates said they built their house to make the most of the small section and positioned it for the outlook, thinking “it would take something pretty big to block that view”, she said.

But, when they asked the council why it wasn’t a notified consent that they could have given feedback on, they were told the covenants weren’t taken into account, she said.

“They don’t even look to see if there are covenants.”

They now realised the covenants were only enforceable if they took the matter to court themselves – something they didn’t want to spend either the time or money on.

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