River Terrace objects to council about fees

The developer behind a controversial subdivision in Cromwell has made a formal objection to the Central Otago District Council over fees relating to the plan change for the proposal.

River Terrace Developments Ltd, which requested the private plan change for rezoning to allow an 840-house residential development opposite Highlands Motorsport Park, has made the objection under the Resource Management Act 1991.

A council statement said the council advised River Terrace it would need to request an extension of time to lodge the objection because it was received outside the 15-working-day period specified in the Act.

Last month, it emerged that an independent panel had made a decision on plan change 13, but it was being withheld by the district council while costs were recovered from the applicant.

A council statement said River Terrace advised the balance of unpaid charges was deposited with its lawyers "by way of security for payment".

"The council has sought to formalise that arrangement. It has requested an appropriate legal undertaking with respect to the holding of those funds and conditions for their release and payment upon the objection to fees being determined. The council is now waiting for confirmation from River Terrace that an undertaking on those terms will be given."

The statement said the decision about the plan change would be released "on receipt of the undertaking".

When asked if the objection from River Terrace would further delay the release of the decision, council chief executive Sanchia Jacobs said "the decision will be released on receipt of the undertaking that the payment will be made once the objection is heard. There is no reason this should further delay the release. It is our hope it will speed it up".

Last month, Winton chief executive Chris Meehan (River Terrace is owned by Winton) said: "River Terrace Developments Ltd is also eager to learn the decision from the independent commissioners. In response to your question about costs being paid, invoices from CODC to River Terrace Developments Ltd total $442,669.10. Given the quantum, River Terrace Developments Ltd has gone back to the council to fully understand how these costs have been incurred."

Mr Meehan said River Terrace "paid $180,035.25 to date. The balance is deposited into a ... trust account pending satisfactory resolution of the CODC invoices".

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