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Two landowners who want a change to Dunedin's district plan to allow their proposed 24-lot subdivision at Outram have cleared the first hurdle.
Councillors at yesterday's Dunedin City Council planning and environment committee meeting voted to accept for processing the private plan-change request made by Balmoral Developments (Outram) Ltd and adjoining landowners Roger and Michelle Capil.
The landowners wanted to rezone 6.7ha of rural land as residential 6, which would allow residential homes to be developed on lots of 2000sq m or greater.
However, councillors and staff at yesterday's meeting emphasised the decision to accept the request for processing was procedural, and not an indication of the merits of the proposal.
Instead, council city development manager Dr Anna Johnson said the council had no choice but to accept the application for processing, unless a reason existed under the Resource Management Act for not doing so.
"We're basically forced to accept it [for processing]," she said.
"There's no reasonable grounds to turn it down."
The decision meant the plan-change request would soon be publicly notified, leading to two rounds of submissions followed by a public hearing in September, before a decision was released in October, a staff report said.
That gave council staff members time to discuss the proposal and work through the issues with the applicants, council senior policy planner Paul Freeland said.
"There are a number of issues at this location," he said, including the site's proximity to a state highway and flood banks.
What weight, if any, to give to the council's draft spatial plan - which sought to limit residential expansion - when a hearing was held would also need to be considered, he said.
It would then eventually be up to the council's hearings committee to determine whether to grant the plan change, Dr Johnson said.
Cr Lee Vandervis questioned whether the council, in accepting the plan-change request for processing, was opening itself up to extra costs, but was reassured by Mr Freeland all costs would be met by the applicants.
An application prepared by consultants Johnston Whitney said the development would meet growing demand for residential homes in Outram, and incorporate the historic Balmoral homestead, built in 1857.
The 6.7ha site was over two titles near State Highway 87, Holyhead Rd and Mountfort St. About 6.3ha was owned by Balmoral Developments (Outram) Ltd, headed by directors Cathrine and Neville Ferguson, of Omarama, and the rest by the Capils.