A proposed subdivision in Outram has received a boost after Dunedin City Council planners did an about turn to support a plan change that could lead to development approval.
Council planners had not supported the proposal to rezone the site from rural to residential before a hearing on the application this week, but yesterday said they were now satisfied developer, Two Note Ltd, had addressed most of their concerns, particularly those about infrastructure and amenity.
If Two Note's application for a private plan change is successful, it will apply for resource consent to construct a 28-lot subdivision on a 7.7ha site in Formby St, Outram.
Planner Darryl Sycamore said he would support the plan change as long as a detailed structure plan for the proposed subdivision and the results of comprehensive soil testing, to rule out contamination, were submitted to the committee before a decision was made.
In delivering his response to Two Note's submissions, Mr Sycamore said he was satisfied with the developer's agreement to height restrictions and setbacks on some sites, but he found the concept of the sites being touted as affordable housing "relatively curious".
"I have yet to see any residential 5 sites in Dunedin city that are within the budgets of many in our community."
Earlier, the committee received evidence from Two Note's soil specialist who concluded a sample of the soil on the site was not so contaminated it limited what the site could be used for, but Mr Sycamore said he did not agree that a single sample from the top 10cm of the soil profile could confirm the site could be used for residential purposes, and the evidence should be read with caution.
City councillor Teresa Stevenson was the only submitter to present her submission verbally on the second day of the hearing yesterday.
She opposed the plan change because there was a lack of evidence more residential development would improve the Outram community's resilience, potentially productive farmland would be lost, there was no need for more residential sites, and the subdivision proposal contradicted the recently adopted spatial plan.
If the plan change was to be accepted, it should be for less and smaller sites whose owners would have a collective responsibility for the remaining rural land - a farm park model - which would make the sites less desirable, so more affordable, and retain the rural amenity of the area.
The hearings committee, of chairman Cr Colin Weatheral and Crs Kate Wilson and Andrew Noone adjourned the hearing to make a site visit and await those items before hearing closing arguments from the developer, and making its decision, likely in the new year.