Land rezone appeal appears lost in post

An appeal against the Dunedin City Council's plan to rezone land in Awatea St for a new stadium appears to have been lost in the post.

The Environment Court, in Christchurch, told the Otago Daily Times yesterday it had not received any appeals against the council's planning proposal.

A court spokesman said appellants had to lodge their appeal within 30 working days of being notified of a planning commissioners' decision to approve the zone change.

The decision of commissioners Roger Tasker, John Lumsden and John Matthews was released on January 9.

"I can't give you an exact date when it [the appeal period] runs out because it's all dependent on when those submitters received that decision," the court spokesman said.

"It appears that the time is likely to have passed."

The Stop the Stadium group was one of 106 submitters who opposed the zone change at a hearing last November, and had signalled its intention to appeal.

When contacted last night, president Bev Butler said the group had posted its notice of appeal last Thursday, by registered mail, from the NZ Post Office in Dunedin's Exchange.

Ms Butler said she had a receipt.

The Environment Court had received the group's appeal against another aspect of stadium planning - the realignment of State Highways 1 and 88.

That appeal says the council's "notice of requirement" for the new harbourside arterial route was contrary to various objectives and polices of the council.

It suggested the new route would "considerably isolate" the harbour area from the rest of Dunedin and that the "non-optimum roading option is authorised on account of a stadium that may not go ahead".

It takes issue with the planning commissioners being appointed by the council and calls for their decision to be annulled.

Port Otago subsidiary Chalmers Properties has also appealed against the roading proposal.

Chief executive Geoff Plunket yesterday said the company's concern was over the way the Mason St intersection - the proposed junction of State Highways 1 and 88 - would work, "because that is an important interface to the harbourside area in the long term".

Since the appeal was lodged, discussions had been held with the council.

"Both parties are happy with the intended operation of the intersection . . . and so, at the moment, my understanding is that there is an exchange of letters going on and our appeal will be withdrawn."

Using a provision of the Resource Management Act, the University of Otago has attached appeals to those already submitted by Stop the Stadium and Chalmers Properties.

Its notice to the court, submitted by Dunedin solicitor Phil Page, makes it clear the university supports the new arterial route and it takes issue with Stop the Stadium's appeal, stating: "To the extent that the appeal is an attempt to prevent the construction of a new stadium at Awatea St, it is an abuse of the court's process."

The notice also says it was unclear who the appellant was, Bev Butler or Stop the Stadium Inc.

Its other concerns included the arterial route's alignment, its integration into the roading network, the route's "permeability" and the effects it might have on the university.

A pre-hearing conference for that appeal will be held in the Dunedin District Court on March 12.

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