Dunedin city planners have recommended councillors reject an
application to subdivide a rural Middlemarch property with a
bed and breakfast business on it, because it would create a
small-site commercial-residential activity which would not
comply with the rural zoning of the area.
Star Holdings Ltd has applied to the Dunedin City Council to
subdivide a block at 38 Reefs Rd into two lots.
One 4ha lot would contain the former Strathmore Station
homestead, now known as the Pukerangi Country Retreat, garden
and a sleepout, and the capacity of existing accommodation in
the homestead would be increased to 13 paying customers. The
current owners would retain the site and operation. The other
lot would be subsumed back into the wider farm.
The current site already has resource consent for a bed and
breakfast business for up to eight guests, with the condition
the consent holder or a manager is resident on site.
The new application seeks to allow for the accommodation to
be self-contained, meaning no resident manager, and the
sleepout would be used as a bunk room.
Having the farm manager in residence proved impractical for
farm management, the application says.
Planner Howard Alchin noted the rural zoning, the subdivision
would create an undersized site, and it was in the Strath
Taieri Outstanding Landscape area, so the idea was
non-complying with the District Plan: "It is my opinion that
allowing the creation of a site of this size results in the
unnecessary fragmentation of land in a sensitive location."
The previous consent requiring the manager to live on the
site tied the operation closely to the farm operation and
there was adequate land to make a complying site, to avoid
fragmentation and an island of development completely at odds
with its immediate environment and the intention of the
If a 4ha site was created, it could be sold, which could
increase residential density in the area, thereby decreasing
its rural amenity.
"We are being asked to consider that the management of a full
breakfast for guests and the expanded operation are
apparently easier to manage and service remotely from another
dwelling 2km from the homestead site. In the absence of a
more detailed explanation ... I can only conclude that the
economic advantage of this proposal to the owners is simply
the financial gain that creating the new 4ha site may yield."
The council's landscape architect had no significant concerns
about potential adverse landscape effects.
Mr Alchin said he believed the adverse effects of the
proposal could be largely avoided if it was changed to create
a 15ha site, even if made up of a 4ha and an 11ha lot, which
could be used for farming activities, in the meantime.