Wedding venue plan opposed

Pascal Sirguey
Pascal Sirguey
Dozens of Ocean Grove residents want their opposition to a proposed wedding venue on a farm near Tomahawk Lagoon to be heard.

Julie and Mark Caldwell yesterday presented their application for a proposed function venue on their property to a Dunedin City Council hearings panel.

The pair want to develop a woolshed and an outdoor area on their 41ha farm to host weddings and other "special" events.

After limited notification, three neighbouring residents opposed the application and seven others gave their consent.

Nearby resident Pascal Sirguey, who was not notified, said at the hearing yesterday he believed the panel did not have enough information to make an informed decision.

He showed a petition from 25 people in his street who also felt they should have been notified and allowed to submit on the application.

A further 38 Ocean Grove residents had other concerns about the consent.

As it is considered a "controlled activity" in the operative district plan, notification was limited to select neighbours.

Dr Sirguey said there should have been an ecological assessment of how the operation would affect the area.

Noise effects were not properly assessed in what was a "natural amphitheatre" where sound reflected off the water of the lagoon, he said.

Planner Allan Cubitt, on behalf of the applicants, said as it was considered a controlled activity in the district plan he did not think any further notification was required.

He thought acoustic and ecological surveys were not required, he said.

They would also add up to $30,000 for what was already a "costly process" for the applicants, he said.

He rejected several of the conditions recommended by DCC planners,  which he said would make the business unviable.

These included halving the maximum capacity  of the venue to 75 people after 9pm.

Mr Caldwell said he and his wife were committed to a sustainable future and were surprised when the venture  met with opposition.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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