The subdivision of a 4ha slice of rural Strath-Taieri for
commercial residential activity has been approved by the
Dunedin City Council, despite planners' concerns it will set an
The Pukerangi homestead has been operating as a bed and
breakfast on Reefs Rd for four years, but now the owners of
the farm it sits on, Star Holdings Ltd, want to separate the
homestead and its grounds and sell it, so they can
concentrate on their farm.
The consent hearings committee, comprising Crs Colin
Weatherall (chairman), Kate Wilson, Andrew Noone, and Strath
Taieri Community Board member Joan Wilson, this week released
its decision in favour of the subdivision and increasing the
size of the possible bed and breakfast operation from eight
to 13 beds, by using an attached bunkhouse.
Council planner, processing, Howard Alchin said the main
concerns that led him to object to the proposal were the
fragmentation of rural land resulting from the creation of an
undersized site, possible non-compliance with the district
plan and the management of the commercial residential
activity from a remote location.
He said it could create the potential for development of a
new dwelling on the site, and create ''an island of
development'' in a rural zone.
For the landowner, various representatives told the committee
at a hearing in November that the site was at one end of a
10km-long farm and was no longer useful to the farm, either
in terms of being productive land or as staff accommodation,
because of its location.
The rest of the land on the farm would be amalgamated with a
neighbouring farm and it would be more practical and sensible
to separate the pastoral and domestic land, which was surplus
to requirements, and which they intended to sell sooner
rather than later, they said.
The bed and breakfast would be run remotely until a sale was
made, and it was likely independent ownership could provide
for better management and maintenance of the refurbished
The committee said despite the planners' concerns, it
considered the proposal was a ''true exception'' to the
While the circumstances concerning the history of the
existing buildings on the site and context within the larger
land holding were considered to be unusual, the committee was
satisfied the isolated location and physical character of
Pukerangi, the established form of the development, the
physical separation of the site from the present farm's
manager's residence and centre of farm operations, and the
rarity of comparable situations meant it was unlikely the
subdivision and land use proposed would engender other
similar applications for resource consent, Cr Weatherall said
in a letter to the applicants on behalf of the committee.
The committee found there were already operations existing in
the Strath Taieri where surplus houses on farms that had been
amalgamated were being used for commercial accommodation, and
it considered it a sustainable use of properties generally,
but noted in this case the ''exceptionally high standard'' of
work undertaken to preserve the heritage building and give it
a purpose in a rural setting.
The committee found the proposal would have minimal adverse
effects, with a potential for positive effects because of its
location at the Pukerangi railhead, and the substantial
tourism potential of the site with the nearby rail and gold
Also, subdivision would not result in any change to the
amenity and physical character of the site, it said.
The site was clearly no longer used for farming and requiring
it to be 15ha, as per a suggestion from the planner, would be
a waste of a productive 11ha.
The site was very different from possible sites of similar
size on the Taieri Plain, where closer subdivision had been
an issue. The committee noted the heritage values of the city
were not limited to the urban areas, and the tourism
importance of the site meant it was important to retain the
vistas at the Pukerangi railhead.
Although the subdivision proposal did not comply with
district plan rules, it was not ''repugnant'' to the policy
direction of relevant plans, and the committee was satisfied
it did not represent or promote rural fragmentation, or
promote unproductive usage of rural zoned land.
''To the contrary, the committee was of a view that the
commercial residential use of this premises had added
substantially to a remote, but highly visited area, and the
quality of the operation made it quite exceptional.''