'Farm base area' among ideas in district plan discussion document

Gary Kircher.
Gary Kircher.
The Waitaki District Council could introduce a "farm base area" where more intensive development was allowed.

It could create "new provisions to protect high-class soil areas".

It could investigate offering financial incentives to landowners who have "significant natural areas" on their property, or introduce subdivision rules that would keep those areas intact.

It could create stronger rules around the demolition of or damage to heritage structures.

All these possibilities are outlined in draft responses to "key issues" identified in "Waitaki 2030" - a discussion document approved this month before the coming draft district plan expected next year.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said he believed most of what was included in the document "makes sense" but the overarching goal for an updated district plan was to ensure development was suitable for a site - "whether it's farmland, whether it's residential subdivision, whether it's commercial activity".

"It's trying to find the areas where there is the ability to have more intensive farming, but equally identify the areas that are special - that need protection," Mr Kircher said.

"The discussion there is `OK, rather than just imposing a rule on a farmer and it's all their cost and so on, how do we work with farmers? The protection is for the benefit of the region and for nationally significant things for New Zealand.

"That's where the input from people is really valuable. They can have a look and say, 'What's the chance of something happening around my place that I don't like?'"

The Waitaki 2030 discussion document shows the council could restrict built development, forestry and irrigation in sensitive areas; create new rules that control recreational and commercial surface-water activities during salmon spawning; protect the visual and natural values of the Cape Wanbrow headland in Oamaru by limiting urban expansion in some areas and allowing for further residential development within some areas of the cape.

The new plan could address light pollution and noise issues and manage "visual cluttering effects" through rules around off-site signage.

The council could also bring in new standards for large-scale temporary events on private and public land to restrict "cumulative environmental effects".

It could create commercial zones for the district and develop policies to "ensure that town centres remain vibrant".

A webpage for community engagement on Waitaki 2030 went live yesterday, along with the release of the document.

The public has until July 31 to provide feedback.

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