Up to 22 houses proposed for a Luggate development could be
waterfront properties if Contact Energy decides to build a
dam near the small town, 10km east of Wanaka, the Environment
Court heard yesterday.
Development company Luggate Holdings Ltd, associated with
Queenstown business Jim Boult, is building the multi-staged
255-lot Luggate Park.
The Dunedin City Council's subsidiary company, Delta Utility
Services, invested $4 million in stage 2 of Luggate Park last
Luggate Holdings Ltd's consultant planner, Alison Noble, told
the court the dam was "neither likely or unlikely" at this
stage. Cross-examined by QLDC lawyer Tony Ray, she said she
did not have details of where the hydro-electricity facility
might go. The information she had relied on was the mention
of a hydro-electricity-designated area in the Queenstown
Lakes District Plan.
Luggate Holdings' lawyer, Phil Page, of Dunedin, described
the lots as an "opportunity to be taken". The land had no
farming value, would be surrounded by rural residential
development and "may one day be waterfront property to the
proposed Luggate dam . . . the one certainty is that is is
not a farm," Mr Page said.
The potential visibility of the houses is the main issue in
the Environment Court appeal being brought by Luggate
Holdings against the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
The appeal relates to stage 2B of the development, which was
scaled back to 22 lots, after QLDC commissioners Sally
Middleton and Michael Parker refused consent for 24 lots last
The remainder of the development is not affected and work on
it has begun.
Zoning for the development is split between rural residential
and rural general, with the bulk of the 255 lots on flatter
rural general land.
Mr Page said "one of the great ironies of this case is that
the council has chosen to grant consent for a fully
urban-style development within the rural general zone (2A),
but has chosen to decline consent for a peri-urban proposal
that preserves significant areas of open space for the public
Luggate Holdings says the council requested the developer to
go ahead using the resource consent process, rather than
applying for a plan change.
Mr Ray confirmed the council believes a plan change is the
most appropriate way is to relocate the zone boundary.
The case is further complicated by the existence of three
separate treatments for a sensitive plateau rising above the
paddocks that are now being converted into a residential
The plateau falls into the rural residential zone and a
consent for an earlier version of the subdivision in 2005
permitted nine building platforms there.
When the plans were revised and resubmitted, the developers
sought seven plateau dwellings.
However, commissioners Middleton and Parker said there would
be significant visual effects.
Now, Luggate Holdings is asking for eight plateau dwellings,
but has offered design controls to reduce the bulk and
visibility of houses.
If consent cannot be obtained, Luggate Holdings will fall
back on the 2005 consent for nine plateau lots.
Mr Page said the adverse effects from the most recent
proposal were significantly less than the 2005 proposal.
Landscaping was the "single defining issue".
Consultants had tried but could not resolve differences with
council staff, he said.
Stage 2B was now "a substantially more expensive and less
profitable project, including significant open space that
would need landscaping, he said.
Mr Ray said the council did not agree that 2B now affected
the environment to a lesser degree. The consented nine lots
were already subject to district plan controls, except height
restrictions, Mr Ray said.
The plateau was a "visual amenity landscape" and the district
plan sought to avoid subdivision and development that was
highly visible from public places.
The houses would not be able to be screened appropriately and
would encourage urban sprawl, he said.
The decision of Judge Brian Dwyer and commissioners John
Mills and Helen Beaumont was reserved.