Terraces may be subdivided

An area north of Cromwell classed as a significant amenity landscape could be subdivided to permit four houses, if applicant Seaview Farm Trust get its way.

The trust wants to subdivide an almost 80ha area on the "terrace tread" of the Sugarloaf, or the Upper Clutha Terraces, a landscape feature alongside Lake Dunstan at Lowburn classed as an outstanding natural feature in the Central Otago District Plan.

The plan says the terrace face and riser is a nationally recognised landform created by glacial outwash.

About seven years ago, a Dunedin-based company was refused consent to subdivide and create 28 allotments and build 12 houses on the landform. Then, independent commissioner Michael Parker said that proposal had "a level of subdivision, use and development of the landform that is inappropriate".

For that proposed development, 169 submissions were received - 153 opposing it.

In a resource consent application to the Central Otago District Council, the trust's planning consultant said the intention was to create six allotments, four to be used for residential purposes, each measuring about 2ha, the fifth for horticultural use, measuring about 12ha and the remainder, just under 60ha, would be retained for horticulture or agriculture use.

The application describes the land as vacant with sparse vegetative cover and little productive value.

Almost 9ha of the site has restrictions on its use to protect the landscape.

It also has an easement for a public walkway that connects to an existing right of way off Lowburn Valley Rd to provide walking access down and across the face of Sugarloaf.

The application says the subdivision proposal was designed to push the building platforms back from the covenant area and the applicant considered the effects of the subdivision would be no more than minor.

The trust requested the application not be publicly notified.

Under rules in the district plan, the subdivision is classed as a non-complying activity because the average area of the allotments would be less than 8ha. Public submissions on the application close tomorrow.