Big changes planned for business areas

Future demand for increasingly rare business land, particularly for major developments, is one of the reasons behind planning the first major change in more than 15 years to where and how businesses can operate in Oamaru.

The Waitaki District Council has taken the first step, in reviewing the business zone in its district plan. This could lead to a plan change.

The aim is to account for changes since the Waitaki district plan was first formulated in 1996, demand for business-zoned land and future development around Oamaru Harbour.

Some of the major changes proposed include creating a new business zone north of Oamaru, incorporating the harbour area into the business heritage zone and extending it and adding to the business zone around Humber St.

Last week, its committee of the whole recommended the council start the plan change process. The process could take a year or more.

Draft changes to the business zone have been prepared, along with new maps, which went to the committee as the basis for consultation with affected property owners and businesses.

Some councillors wanted to discuss the draft in more detail, but committee chairman Cr Jim Hopkins said it was only a draft and councillors would have several opportunities during the process to discuss changes.

The council is being asked to approve, at its meeting on May 15, the preparation of a consultation document for a business zone plan change.

The document would be sent to key stakeholders for their consideration and response.

The next step would be to prepare a plan change, including the costs and benefits, to be approved by the council and then notified for public submissions. That is proposed for August.

The present business zone was formulated when the first district plan was prepared in 1996.

Since then, there have been additional business developments, such as the arrival of The Warehouse.

The plan change would incorporate those new developments, but also manage growth from future demand.

One of the plan's major components is to create a business 3A zone north of the Oamaru boundary on the east side of State Highway 1 between the highway and railway line as far north as TY Duncan Rd.

That incorporates the north-end business park, at present on the market, and other land, both council and privately owned, which has been proposed for business parks.

The new zone would provide for industrial, service and commercial activities including large retail outlets up to 1000sq m.

A change is proposed regarding the Oamaru Harbour, which in the present plan is business 7.

The harbour will be taken from that zoning and the harbour area, extending north to Wear St between the railway line and foreshore, will be included in business H (Heritage), the zone which controls the neighbouring historic Tyne-Wansbeck-Harbour Sts area. Business H has special controls to maintain and enhance the heritage importance of the area.

Other changes include designating front lower Humber St, south of Eden St properties into business 1A (inner commercial) and extending the mixed business zone around Humber St into business 3.



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