Plan changes likely to come into force

Two separate plan changes - relating respectively to a $300 million development in Queenstown and affordable and community housing in the Lakes district - are likely to be made operative after the Queenstown Lakes District Council's full meeting in Queenstown next week.

The recommendation by senior policy analyst Tim Williams is for the council to approve and make operative plan change 41 (Shotover Country special zone) and plan change 24 (affordable and community housing), from August 30.

In his report Mr Williams said the council had partially made operative the Shotover Country special zone, which is near Ladies Mile (State Highway 6), in November 2012. However, an appeal by Ladies Mile Partnership, relating to an extension of the zone, remained outstanding.

Plan change 41 sought for the rezoning of about 120ha of land west of Lake Hayes Estate zoned rural general, to create a special zone enabling residential, education and community activities as part of the $300 million Shotover Country development.

Queenstown Airport Corporation and Arith Holdings Ltd appealed the plan change in its entirety, focusing on potential reverse sensitivity effects for the airport.

Both appeals were withdrawn in May last year.

Two appeals were also received from the promoters of the plan change, Ladies Mile Partnership - one seeking amendments to provisions in the council's decision and the other relating to an extension of the zone.

The area subject to that appeal was identified as having ''potential flood risk in a 100-year flood event'' and it also had ''potential natural hazard risk associated with a landslide upstream on the Shotover''.

''A landslide could dam the river and lead to debris and high levels of water flowing downstream to the site once that dam bursts,'' Mr Williams said.

The Otago Regional Council and the appellant had reached a proposed settlement, where the ground level would be raised through earthworks to a level similar to the land already zoned for development, along with battening works, he said.

Environmental and engineering consultants Tonkin and Taylor had examined the proposal and had confirmed the proposed level of works was sufficient and the appeal could be settled.

Meanwhile, five appeals relating to plan change 24 had been on hold after a preliminary decision issued by the Environment Court in 2010, as appeals were made to the High Court and beyond, Mr Williams said.

The purpose of the plan change was to introduce affordable housing policies into the district plan, so affordable housing could become a relevant matter when plan changes or variations were proposed and when resource consent applications were considered, and, where appropriate, make the delivery of affordable housing a requirement.

Appeals were lodged by Five Mile Holdings, Infinity Investment Group Holdings Ltd, Willowridge Developments Ltd and Orchard Road Holdings Ltd, Queenstown Airport, and Remarkables Park.

Mr Williams said all parties had agreed on the final form of the plan change.

In both cases, appeals had been resolved without the need for Environment Court hearings and consent orders had been received, meaning the plan changes could be made operative.