Undeterred by subdivision setbacks

A Dunedin developer is counting the cost of yet another delay in his decade-long fight to progress a residential subdivision.

But Tom Richardson, a director of RPR Properties Ltd, remains confident the development will eventually win approval, despite a bill for costs now approaching $500,000.

Mr Richardson has just publicly notified revised plans for 34 new lots - to accompany six already consented or built - on land bordering Dalziel Rd and Taieri Rd.

Members of the public have until February 11 to have their say on the latest plans, which include revised vehicle access arrangements designed to alleviate neighbours' concerns.

The move was the latest twist in Mr Richardson's stop-start fight to develop the area dating back to 2004.

His original plan for a 100-lot subdivision was scrapped after running into planning difficulties, but, following an Environment Court appeal, he eventually won consent for a nine-lot subdivision at 41 Dalziel Rd in 2013.

But plans to subdivide more of the land - at 35, 41, 43, 47 and 49 Dalziel Rd - ran into fresh opposition from neighbours late last year, with 20 of 29 submissions opposed to his plan.

Opponents' concerns included that vehicle access to the subdivision from Dalziel Rd would increase traffic and make the area unsafe.

Mr Richardson, speaking to the Otago Daily Times this week, said he had acknowledged the potential traffic difficulties and submitted a revised plan for vehicle access via Taieri Rd late last year.

But, at a consent hearing on December 8, the change was deemed to be beyond the scope of the original application, which the public had been consulted on, and could not be considered, he said.

Mr Richardson said he was instead left with the ‘‘Hobson's choice'' of deciding whether to proceed with his original application, despite the opposition to vehicle access from Dalziel Rd, or start again with a revised application for public consultation.

‘‘I didn't feel like paying for three days of hearings ... the reality is the planner was recommending against it [the original plans]. The chances of the committee going against the planner's recommendation was not, in our view, likely to be in our favour.

‘‘It really left us with a Hobson's choice,'' he said.

Mr Richardson opted to present a revised application, despite the setback adding another six months to the project's timeframe, and another $30,000 to $40,000 to his costs.

He was now hopeful a new hearing would be held sometime in March or April, and that the revised plans would assuage most of the earlier submitters' concerns.‘‘We would be hopeful two-thirds of submitters this time around wouldn't be there,'' he said.

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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