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However, he accepted Waitaki District Council planning manager Hamish Barrell’s explanation as to why an extension was not granted for an 18-unit, 300sq m lot subdivision in the North End.
"It’s that dual role we [the council] have of wanting things to happen, but also having to be the regulator with our hands tied a bit by legislation," Mr Kircher said.
Barry Monks, of Oamaru, applied to the council for an extension to an eight-year resource consent granted in 2009 to subdivide his now vacant property at 14 Farnham St into 300sq m lots for the construction of 18 residential units. His application for an extension was denied. Mr Kircher said Oamaru was "facing an environment" where housing was becoming harder to secure and the small units proposed could have been ideal for empty-nesters and would have freed up the larger properties they occupied for others looking for housing.
"If the opportunity is there for developers to fulfil that need, and allow people to move out of those family homes, that frees them up ... whether it’s rentals or for first-home buyers or people moving up the property ladder."
Mr Barrell said the decision to decline the extension was made because Mr Monks had not shown he had "done anything of substance" at the site, which was a requirement for the council to approve the application. Mr Monks said he respected the decision and was weighing up his options for the site.
However, he believed if the site was to be developed as an 18-lot subdivision now would be a good time.
"Things can change quickly — they have in the past," he said.
"It hasn’t really been viable in the past, but now, [given] the Oamaru market, it probably is viable."