Subdivision plan placed on hold

David Whitney.
David Whitney.
An application to subdivide an 80ha area near Lowburn, classed as a significant amenity landscape, has attracted 28 submissions - mostly in opposition.

That has seen proponent Seaview Farm Trust put its application on hold while it gathers more information.

Following public consultation, the application for subdivision and land use consent was to be considered by the Central Otago District Council hearings panel this week but was pulled from the agenda. Acting on behalf of the proponent, BTW South planning manager Anita Dawe said due to the nature of the submissions, ''we need to do a bit of work before we front up''.

That work would include input from an archaeological assessor, as called for by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in its submission.

The trust opposed the proposal but said because there was no assessment of archaeological values, it considered there was not enough information on which to make a decision on the application.

The application was to create six allotments on top of the Sugarloaf landform for a mix of residential and horticultural purposes. The area in question is the terrace tread of the Sugarloaf, or the Upper Clutha Terraces, a landscape feature alongside Lake Dunstan at Lowburn classed as an outstanding natural feature (ONF) in the Central Otago District Plan. The plan says the terrace face and riser is a nationally recognised landform created by glacial outwash. Twenty of the 28 submitters were opposed to the proposed subdivision.

Of the remaining submissions, only four supported the proposal. The others neither supported or opposed.

One submission from the latter group, by James and Glenda Cutler and Andrew Burton, said though they neither supported nor opposed, the council should grant the consent subject to conditions.

Those that opposed the proposal cited significant adverse effects on the landscape that would be inconsistent with the objectives of the district plan, because of the significant amenity landscape (SAL) and ONF classifications.

They also argued any building on the landform would destroy the visual appeal of the area.

In its submission, the Cromwell and District Community Trust said the development would create an ''inappropriate frame'' for the ONF.

Several submitters cited a similar but larger-scale application of a Dunedin-based company about seven years ago that was declined.

Then, 169 submissions were received, with 153 opposing it.

That application was considered by independent commissioner Michael Parker, who said the proposal had ''a level of subdivision, use and development of the landform that is inappropriate''.

Supporters of the proposal submitted the development would stimulate growth in the region.

Council planning consultant David Whitney said, in the context of the district plan, the proposed subdivision was inappropriate and could set a precedent for development on the Sugarloaf.

''In essence, all or part of the development ... will be seen by viewers of the Sugarloaf ONF."

He had recommended council refuse consent for the application.

It was unclear when the proposal would come before the hearings panel again.

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