Residents fear loss of lifestyle

Arguments over whether a stretch of land on the edge of Dunedin is truly rural dominated a Dunedin City Council hearing on a controversial subdivision.

A proposed 34-lot Halfway Bush subdivision in Dalziel Rd has prompted outcries from local residents concerned it will destroy the area's rural feel, which was why many of them bought their properties.

However, the developers RPR Properties Ltd and council planner Lianne Darby said the site was not typical of rural-zoned areas and was largely surrounded by residential or rural-residential zoned areas.

At the hearing yesterday, Ms Darby reiterated her view that consent be granted for the subdivision, saying she recognised the rural character of the area would be diminished, but the area was not reflective of most rural-zoned areas ‘‘in the first place''.

Granting a consent would not set an ‘‘undesirable precedent'' for this reason.

Her viw, and that of the developer did not wash with most of the submitters, who argued the subdivision would have a negative effect on their lifestyles, make an already unsafe Taieri Rd even more dangerous and threaten the health of livestock in the area.

Nearby resident Angela Ruske, who spoke on behalf of herself and six other concerned residents, said she had owned a property in the area for 13 years, bred alpacas there, and had bought a neighbouring property for use as a farm-stay.

‘‘Our decision to buy was based on a semi-rural lifestyle, the views and the peacefulness of the area.''

Much of this would be lost if the subdivision went ahead, ‘‘significantly'' disrupting the lives of the people who lived in the area.

‘‘With [Dunedin's] 1% growth rate and the negative impact this [proposal] has on current rural-residential landowners and those that enjoy the rural-residential lifestyle ... we don't think this subdivision is necessary.''

She was worried about an influx of dogs into the area resulting in attacks on her alpacas and worried the subdivision lots could be further subdivided in future.

Cr Andrew Noone asked her whether a requirement properties not be further subdivided would ease her concerns.

She replied saying: ‘‘What would appease my concerns is it not going ahead at all.''

Taieri Rd resident Valerie Dempster was worried about the impact of having another intersection on Taieri Rd, which was already a dangerous stretch of road, especially during winter, when snow and ice were present.

She believed there had been ‘‘far more'' than three accidents in the five-year period suggested by the council and had witnessed many accidents herself.

Paterson Pitts Group registered professional surveyor Kurt Bowen earlier spoke on behalf of the developer, saying the subdivision was the ‘‘best possible'' use for the land.

‘‘It offers a unique opportunity for the city to provide a well-integrated and desirable residential neighbourhood that is compatible within its local environment,'' Mr Bowen said.

The area was not typical of rural-zoned areas and had already been developed into residential properties as small as .46ha.

Halfway Bush Rd resident Basil Scott supported the subdivision, saying it was a good opportunity to help Dunedin grow.

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