Application made 'by book'

Opponents of fast-tracked subdivision Bridesdale Farm have failed to produce evidence justifying its refusal or any major changes, a consent hearing was told yesterday.

Counsel Warwick Goldsmith said the special housing area application had been made ''by the book'', and he urged commissioners to consider the buyers of 129 sections already under contract, who were ''arguably the people most affected by your decision and who have no voice in these proceedings''.

Bridesdale is the first subdivision in the district to get government approval as a special housing area (SHA). Chris and Michaela Meehan want to build 147 houses on 32ha of rural-zoned land next to Lake Hayes Estate.

It was approved by Queenstown Lakes District Council planners last month with a recommendation that 10 sections and an area of proposed garden allotments be removed.

Commissioners Denis Nugent, David Mead and Mel Gazzard reconvened the hearing yesterday after two days of submissions last month.

They also extended the deadline for their decision from November 17 to December 18.

Chris Thomsen, counsel for Walnut Ave residents Marty Macdonald and Sonya Anderson, said Bridesdale was like ''a puzzle piece trying to be placed into the wrong slot'' and could be better integrated into its surroundings.

Mr Thomsen said the couple had commissioned a planner to prepare an alternative design that reduced the number of sections but provided a softer transition into the landscape, particularly along its eastern side.

Lake Hayes Estate resident Bruce Patton said he and his wife faced the prospect of their rural views to the east being ''obliterated'' by a 2m fence and a house only 4m from their boundary.

He suggested design changes including a lower ratio of smaller sections, more low-density sections around the subdivision's edge and more car parking and recreational areas.

Much of the hearing was taken up by discussion about the weighting commissioners should apply to sections of relevant Acts, the council's lead policy on special housing areas and the legal status of the proposed district plan and SHA accord between the council and the developers.

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