Dunedin housing plans 'broken': developer

A property developer says plans for new housing in Dunedin are already ''broken'' as the city's population surges.

And, unless further changes are introduced, including opening up even more greenfield space to build on, the city could face property prices approaching those seen in Central Otago and Auckland.

The warning came from Tom Richardson, a director of RPR Properties Ltd, which is developing a 34-lot subdivision bordering Dalziel Rd and Taieri Rd.

He was commenting after Dunedin City Council yesterday published its finalised second generation district plan (2GP), which charted the course for city development over at least the next decade.

The plan included rezoning 190ha of new land for residential development, providing space for up to 1200 new homes.

A further 132ha of land was earmarked for future development, once needed and infrastructure was available, providing room for up to 1850 additional homes.

Mr Richardson said the 2GP overestimated what could be built in Dunedin, once challenges such as steep topography and space needed for roading were included. The actual number of homes able to be built was likely to be ''probably half that number'', he said.

The 2GP also underestimated population growth in Dunedin, by forecasting a population of less than 130,000 for decades to come, when the city had already grown beyond 130,000 earlier this year.

''I think, quite frankly, they're in trouble,'' Mr Richardson said.

''It's already broken ... That's the reality.''

Information released with the 2GP suggested residential development capacity in the city would be sufficient for up to 10 years, even if not all properties were able to be developed.

It also noted Dunedin had been experiencing low growth when work on the 2GP began six years ago, but had since been declared a medium growth area, it said.

As a result, the council had already begun a more detailed analysis of housing demand and capacity, including new population projections, which was expected to be completed by early next year.

If a shortfall was identified, further changes would follow to provide for growth, it said.

Council city development manager Anna Johnson said 1200 homes was not meant to be an accurate estimate.

But equally, the projected increase in new homes did not yet include any new apartments or medium-density developments, which were provided for in the 2GP, she said.

''It's kind of an unders and overs game,'' she said.

Both would be explained during a series of briefings over the next few days, including one for property developers next week, she said.

Mr Richardson also questioned other aspects of the plan, including the ''fanciful'' suggestion in-fill development would occur in South Dunedin, and why the plan did not encourage significant additional development on the Taieri, the best location for affordable housing.

''You can't get affordable housing on the hills. There's only one place for affordable housing and that's on the flattest possible land ... which means the Taieri, frankly.''

The rezoning of his own property interests for residential development would make life easier - and less expensive - after a 14-year battle with the council to progress his 34-lot subdivision.

The lack of greenfield sites made available under the 2GP would also make his land more valuable, but Mr Richardson said that was not a desirable outcome for the city.

''We don't want to reach the sort of values they've got in Central Otago and Auckland and some of those crazy places.

''I think that's nuts, quite frankly, but that's the same sort of situation that will occur here if they don't make a reasonable amount of greenfields available.''



Thank you
The writer of this article sums up my own thoughts exactly.
Topography and issues where the DCC mention to build will be a costly issue and I cannot see the levels of build in those areas being as planned.

It would be very worthwhile for odt to do a thorough feature news page on this issue, which so affects our future. Generally I notice that developers (who are in it for personal profit) get their views profiled. It would be great to see a feature giving space and prolile to all factors involved here. Factors that are crucial to our future in Dunedin. Including leaving our productive food bowl land safe from businessmen developers -- we will probably need those horticultural areas for local food security in future decades. Yet we are building on our food basket. Another issue is nature and biodivesrsity getting sacrificed in the pockets of farm land being swallowed up. Another issue is people need nature for health and well-being. What a sad, sad future for our kids if they grow up in urban sprawl, where they cannot have mini adventures. And another issue is that other v desireable cities understand it is about building within the city -- intelligent intensification so people can travel a few minutes to brush w undisturbed healing nature. Another issue is intelligent regulated design so new housing blends w the landscape rather than standing out like dogs balls on rural space.