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The planner representing a Dunedin DVD hire store caught up in a resource consent hearing after moving to industrial-zoned land says 85ha of such land is empty in the city.
Conrad Anderson, representing Network Video owner Paul Whelan, said the Hillside Rd building was not required for industrial use, and was unlikely to be required in the near future.
"It is not a threatened resource.''
Mr Whelan, who did not appear yesterday, last month described a decision to send his application to a hearing, costing him thousands of dollars, as "bloody ridiculous''.
He applied for consent for the move of his Network Video store from Andersons Bay Rd to 257 Hillside Rd, a building that had been a retail outlet before he took the site.
However, he was told his business was non-compliant, as the land was zoned industrial 1 in the city's district plan, and industrial in the 2GP, the city's next version of the plan, which is yet to be finalised.
The consent document said the effect of the business opening there had been determined as no more than minor, and nobody would potentially be affected by the application.
But under the 2GP provisions as they stood, the proposal was non-complying.
Staff initially determined the application could proceed without being notified, but changed that decision, meaning a hearing was required.
At the hearing, before Cr David Benson-Pope, council planner James Coutts said no commercial retail activity was authorised by resource consent in the area.
"There may be commercial retail activity that is authorised by existing use rights; that is difficult to ascertain.''
Mr Coutts said retail and industrial activities were not compatible, and the proposed store did not align with the direction of the district plan.
He told the hearing allowing the consent could create an undesirable precedent.
"I consider that other retail activities could foreseeably use this development as justification for taking advantage of cheaper rents and applying for consent to locate in the industrial area.''
He said the application should be declined.
Mr Anderson said in his evidence the site was not required for industrial activity, nor was it likely to be in the near future.
Industrial land with residential neighbours, which the site had, was "quite uncommon'', and the proximity of homes would affect the usability of industrial land there.
"It is a very unusual situation.''
The building the video store was in had limited industrial use, and the proposal was an efficient use of the resource in a city with a lot of vacant industrial land.
Mr Coutts agreed there was a lot of vacant industrial land, but not necessarily for the sort of smaller scale activity expected under the plan in the Hillside Rd block.
Mr Anderson questioned whether the district plan was open to non-industrial activities in industrial zones.
"I say yes,'' he said.
He questioned whether it would restrict the permitted activities there, and whether the industrial land was required by industry.
"I say no.''
Cr Benson-Pope adjourned the meeting, and said afterwards a decision on the "not hugely complex issue'' should take no more than a week.