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A long-term vision for the development of Dunedin was adopted by the Dunedin City Council yesterday with a warning from councillors to developers.
The Dunedin Towards 2050 - A Spatial Plan document provides the council with direction on managing future growth and development in Dunedin by specifying the nature and location of development in the city in years to come.
It has no regulatory force, but carries some weight in resource consent and district plan change decisions and will guide the current review of the district plan, which is not expected to be operative until 2015.
Mayor Dave Cull described the plan as presenting the vision for the future city and the district plan as setting out the rules for development.
He said cities, other than Auckland, were not legally required to have a spatial plan, but it was good to map out what people wanted the city to look like in 30 or 40 years' time.
He and several other councillors praised the hundreds of people and organisations who were consulted and the 216 who made submissions on the plan - councillors spent four days hearing submissions and many more hours deliberating on it - and said submitters were largely constructive and thoughtful.
"The submitters who spoke at the hearings were positive and supportive of our spatial plan and its intent. They were generally excited that a vision for the city, perhaps overdue, has been developed and expressed."
During discussion on the plan Cr Colin Weatherall, the chairman of the council's hearings committee, issued a note of caution about using the plan as a justification in resource consent applications, because the district plan still takes legal precedence.
"People just need to be aware that we're not going to see a wholesale run in line with what the spatial plan asks for, because it does not pre-empt the district plan. Yes, we have to give consideration or weight to it [the spatial plan], but legally, the district plan trumps it."
Several people had already tried to use the spatial plan as a justification to get consent, he said.
Cr Kate Wilson said she hoped developers would see the plan as the wishes of the people of Dunedin, the way they visualised the city, and work within that vision.