The Mount Victoria Residents Association is taking legal action to challenge the Wellington City Council’s approval of a brothel in its suburb. The case will be heard in the High Court on Monday.
The Lovely Lily brothel on the corner of Pirie Street and Austin Street needed a resource consent from the council because the district plan prohibits businesses in Mount Victoria if they employ anyone who does not live on the premises. The Lovely Lily employs up to five women working in shifts.
The council approved the the brothel’s application after considering provisions of its plan which require that the appearance of the house be retained and that the activity did not create noise, vibration or dust or raise significant traffic and parking issues.
The association was concerned that under the Resource Management Act the council seemed to be unable to protect the residential nature of Mount Victoria and could only stop businesses being established in its neighbourhood if they have a significant external environmental impact, even if outsiders are employed.
However, papers filed with the court reveal that the residents have not challenged the provisions of the district plan.
Instead their association claims that the council should have considered the application under a provision of the law that legalised prostitution. MPs hearing submissions on the Prostitution Law Reform Bill addressed concerns about brothels being established in residential areas by including a clause in the Act to require any council considering the resource consent for a brothel to “have regard to whether the business of prostitution is likely to cause a nuisance or serious offence to ordinary members of the public using the area in which [it] is situated, or is incompatible with the existing character or use of the area”.
The case will be heard in the High Court at 10am on Monday 2 March.
The courtroom in Molesworth Street will be open to the public.
(Information sourced from Mt Victoria Newsletter)