A developer, who says he is frustrated by years of delays and
mounting costs, has accused the Dunedin City Council of
stifling city growth.
Thomas Richardson, a director of RPR Properties Ltd, voiced
his concerns yesterday while arguing for a resource consent
to develop a nine-lot subdivision at 41 Dalziel Rd, on Three
Mr Richardson told the council's hearings committee he had
spent at least $250,000 developing plans for the land, but
had been knocked back repeatedly since 2004 by council
planners with ''subjective ideas'' about how the site should
He had originally planned a village development of at least
100 homes on the land, but scrapped the project in 2006 after
two years of delays, which he blamed on council processes.
The delays related, in part, to the time it took for the
council's district plan to become fully operative, which was
needed before he could seek a private plan change for the
development, he said.
By the time the plan was operative, the market had turned
and, together with other factors, meant the development had
to be cancelled, he said.
''Basically, we lost two years of opportunity because of DCC
ineptitude and lack of preparedness for catering for
development,'' he said.
An attempt to subdivide the land two years ago had been
declined, despite not attracting a single submission against
the proposal when publicly notified.
That decision was eventually overturned a year later after an
appeal to the Environment Court.
The company now seeks to develop a ''simple'' rural
residential development on the land that remains, featuring
nine lots of about 2ha.
The council's planner has again recommended consent be
Mr Richardson told the hearing that the delays and costs had
led to his ''complete loss of faith'' in the process.
Council planners' ''subjective ideas'' about the land had
stifled the project, he said, and those views were and
remained ''detrimental to the city's growth and vigour'', he
Mr Richardson's claims were not debated at yesterday's
hearing, but council resource consents manager Alan
Worthington said when contacted afterwards council planners
were doing their best.
They were required to work within the confines of the
existing district plan and resource consent requirements, but
the council had rezoned ''a lot'' of land for residential use
in recent years, he argued.
''The vast majority of consent applications go through
without much difficulty at all. There will be some on the
fringes which will be more problematic,'' he said.
''If you choose ... areas that are non-complying ... then it
potentially will be challenging.''
Mr Richardson's subdivision would create nine 2ha rural
residential lots on the site, where a bushy gully and stone
walls would be protected by covenant.
The proposal attracted seven submissions - three opposing,
two supporting and two neutral. Two neighbours were concerned
in part about lost rural views. The Otago Regional Council
wanted geotechnical assurances.
Council planner Howard Alchin told the committee the proposal
would not comply with district plan rules, and consent should
be declined, but the decision was ''so close you could make a
call either way''.
RPR Properties Ltd director and consultant planner Emma
Peters said the site was an isolated pocket of rural land
bordered on three sides by residential and rural residential
The company's application included a building site
suitability report from Geolink Land Investigations Ltd,
which found all but one should have no limitations on
development. One site had moderately steep slopes and
moderate limitations on development, requiring geotechnical
The subdivision's layout was designed to follow the physical
features of the site, including the rock walls, but the 2ha
size of each lot was not critical and the layout could
change, she said.
She agreed to an offer from commissioner David Benson-Pope,
the committee's chairman, to take an adjournment while a
revised layout was considered over the next two weeks, after
which the hearing would resume.