A 7.7ha site at Formby St, Outram, is good for little else and a residential development would help sustain the township, the company behind a proposed a 28-lot subdivision says.
Two Note Ltd's application for a private plan change to rezone the site from rural to residential is being heard by the Dunedin City Council's hearings committee. If successful, the company intends to apply for resource consent for the subdivision.
Two Note yesterday presented its case after members of the public made submissions, largely against the plan change application, and a report from council planners recommended city councillors reject it.
Submitters and council planners are concerned about the densification and amenities, the loss of productive soils, the impact on the community, the demand for housing, the height of buildings and loss of sunlight.
They are also concerned about flooding, discharge of stormwater, pressure on the existing water supply infrastructure, traffic issues, and the land possibly being contaminated by an old dump and former market garden activities.
Lawyer Michael Nidd, of Dunedin, consultant planner David Harford, of Ashburton, and Two Note director Gordon Mockford, of Christchurch, told the committee aside from the benefits to the community, the land in question, at 16 Formby St, could not be used in any other economically viable way.
Mr Nidd said preliminary soil tests by the applicant showed soil on the site was relatively free of contamination, satisfying concerns about the potential loss of productive soil.
Mr Mockford also noted the site had never been used as a rural block, or to his knowledge, extensively as a market garden, and an attempt at having a plant nursery there had failed because the soil quality was so poor, which was later backed up by the land's former owner, and the nursery operator, John Eaton.
Mr Nidd said no infrastructure would be compromised by the proposed plan change and, given proposed effluent and stormwater disposal systems for the site, no adverse effects would occur beyond its boundaries.
Civil engineer Andrew Tisch, of Christchurch, said Two Note would contribute to an upgrade of the town's water supply system so it was not oversubscribed. Wastewater would be treated on site and treated water disposed into land via a specially designed sewerage system. The development would increase stormwater runoff to the pond on site, but his calculations showed it would cope, even with rare storm events.
The company could also install swales to remove 75% of stormwater contaminants, to reduce the risk of groundwater contamination.
A walkway would be developed around the pond to retain the amenity of the site, and the company would agree at this early stage to a limit of 28 new housing sites, a height limit of 7m and setback of 10m from the Formby St edge of sites. Some of the site had been given up so all sections were above any potential flood level, Mr Tisch said.
Mr Nidd said concerns about setting a precedent by allowing the subdivision were unfounded, as the courts had expressly found councils cannot be bound by precedents and must consider every application on its own merits.
He said the "need" for more housing in Outram was not a relevant consideration for a consenting authority. In any case, the council's spatial plan had identified a need for 7400 more residential units in the next 20 years, he said.
Traffic engineer Wayne Gallot, from Christchurch, said the subdivision would, in his opinion, have negligible effect on traffic efficiency or safety.
Mr Mockford said the development would provide a much needed boost to the population to sustain its local school and businesses. It would also bring economic benefit in the form of construction, and long-term family residents would benefit the wider community.
Developments on the edge of Mosgiel and Taieri were saturated and Outram was the next logical area of growth, he said.
"... It is quite wrong in principle to simply allow only intensive inner city development as contemplated by some ... It is inevitable and naive in the extreme to suggest that all future growth must be contained in inner city intensive living."
Three people made verbal submissions. Trevor Braid was concerned that ponds receiving stormwater were managed correctly, Brian Miller about the loss of high-class soils and the once thriving vegetable industry from the area, and the need for efficient water disposal, and Craig Werner was opposed to, among other things, the scale of the development, favouring slow, steady growth instead.
The hearing ends today.