Disquiet over house on peninsula

Plans for a single new house on the Otago Peninsula have prompted concerns about the area's rural ambience being eroded.

Peninsula landowner Christine Chapman has applied to the council for land use consent to build a home and garage on 1.3ha of rural land at 615 Highcliff Rd.

The site is on the edge of the existing Highcliff hamlet but, because of its rural zoning, did not comply with Dunedin City Council district plan rules.

The proposal - which was considered by the council's hearings committee yesterday - attracted six submissions, including two opposed.

Pieter, Sandra and Gavin Bloem, who run a neighbouring pig farm, worried the development would set a precedent allowing other vacant sites near their farm to be developed.

Eventually, that could lead to complaints from the new occupants about the sounds and smells coming from their farm, they said.

''Farming reality is different to what many people believe,'' they argued yesterday.

They wanted a covenant on the property preventing any complaints against the pig farm's activities - something planning consultant Allan Cubitt, representing Ms Chapman, said could be considered.

Another submitter, Anthony Marcinowski, was also concerned the area's existing rural ambience would be further compromised by allowing the development of the site, located in a landscape conservation area.

However, Save the Otago Peninsula spokeswoman Lala Frazer made a submission in support of the proposal, saying clusters of housing were preferable to isolated homesteads within important landscapes.

A report by council planner Jeremy Grey said the site's location next to existing homes meant the area's rural ambience would not be eroded.

He recommended consent be granted. The hearings committee adjourned the hearing yesterday and a decision is to be released in about two weeks.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

Farming - quiet, peaceful, scentless

It's an indication of how far NZers have come since the days when nearly everyone had relatives in the countryside and spent holidays on the farm or orchard, that Bloems have to spell it out: '''Farming reality is different to what many people believe,'' they argued yesterday.'

Very reasonably in my  opinion "They wanted a covenant on the property preventing any complaints against the pig farm's activities - something planning consultant Allan Cubitt, representing Ms Chapman, said could be considered."  Given the rows that have broken out when people move into an area previously used for one type of activity then demand that this be ceased or expensively modified for their benefit, such convenants should be the automatic default for any different use whether housing in an entertainment, industrial or farming area, or entertainment, industry or farming in a residential area.  

With such provisions in place there would be much more freedom for individuals to choose.  If the sounds of industry are less annoying than that of neighbours' cars and stereos let people choose to live in the midst, as long as they do not sidestep genuine safety considerations such as fire escapes and access for emergency vehicles.  Freedom of choice, let's have more of it!  Rural areas always had humans present, living and working.  They were what made it rural not untouched natural landscape.

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