City planner opposes subdivision

An application to subdivide 260ha of Otago Peninsula land in an outstanding natural landscape has hit another hurdle with a planner’s report recommending the application be declined.

Dunedin City Council planner Lianne Darby recommended the council decline the bid to subdivide a property at 78 Cape Saunders Rd, citing negative effects on the environment and the potential  "undesirable" precedents it could set for rural zoning if approved.

"Allowing property owners to subdivide small parcels for residential use scattered around a large farm property is not in accordance with the expectations of either the district plan or proposed plan."

If such a proposal  were approved, there could be a "major change" to the appearance and character of the land, she found.

The subdivision, on an isthmus of land between Hoopers Inlet and Papanui Inlet and the northern slopes of Mt Charles, was also inconsistent with aspects of the district plan relating to sustainability, land fragmentation, rural productive worth, roading and landscape, the report found.

She did not believe the proposal, which would create 10 new sites, on which consent was sought for residential activity on eight, was a sustainable use of the city’s physical and natural resources.

The proposed sites would be between 2ha and 194ha.

At present, under the council’s district plan, 15ha was the minimum site size for rural land. However, the city’s second generation district plan proposed a minimum 40ha site size for rural peninsula coast land.

While greater weight was given to the current district plan, the second generation plan had not been finalised and it could not be assumed minimum site sizes would change.

The proposal would also  affect  other people using the area, she said.

"The proposal is not a sustainable use of roading, will have some impacts on the landscape [night and day], and could have impacts on the sustainability of wildlife."

The proposal of the applicant,  Peninsula Holdings Trust, made up of landowners Steven and Jacqueline Clearwater and Brian Hailes,  would, however, protect and enhance wetland and vegetation environments, Ms Darby noted. Mr  Clearwater told the Otago Daily Times he believed the report was "generally quite positive" despite its recommendation.

He was not concerned about the report because the application would be changed before it was considered at a consent hearing in March, he said.

He declined to comment on what aspects of the application would be changed.

Commissioner Colin Weatherall would hear the application on March 7, 8 and 9.

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