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A Macropara hedge drew attention at a resource consent hearing last week for Henley Downs Farm Ltd's application to establish a Delta services depot at Jack's Point.
Henley Downs, owned by Jack's Point developer John Darby, proposed the subdivision and land-use consent to operate the depot within the resort zone, as the infrastructure specialists look to expand their depot from their Ladies Mile-Frankton site.
It would include eight buildings, two of which would exceed the 4m height limit, and three storage containers, all covering 1sq km. The proposal attracted 11 submissions, nine in opposition.
The developers made amendments to the original proposal, including a macrocarpa hedge to mitigate the effect the buildings would have on the view from State Highway 6.
However, in her report to the council, Lakes Environmental planner Andonica Giborees said that was inadequate and the proposal did not achieve the objectives and policies of the district plan.
In her recommendation to commissioners David Collins and Gillian MacLeod, Miss Giborees said the application should be declined because "the adverse effects are more than minor".
The increased volume of traffic and the development would "degrade the rural character and visual amenity values of the surrounding area".
Vanessa Robb, of Anderson Lloyd, said in her submission on behalf of Henley Downs the proposal "appropriately achieves the purposes of the [Resource Management] Act".
Miss Robb said the amendments were to protect the views from the state highway across the site.
Opposing submissions from neighbours John Troon and Jo Boyd made reference to the hedge.
Mrs Boyd, a horticulture and landscape technology diploma holder, said the views from the roadside "assume increasing importance as they give visual access to the mountains, lakes and landscape" and are "integral to the economic wellbeing of the district".
She displayed photographs to the commissioners to indicate the hedge would not sufficiently cover the buildings and not meet "the level of screening required".
"The hedge will appear quite manicured and, I believe, quite unnatural and out of place in this environment."
Graeme Todd, of GTodd Law, on behalf of Mr Troon and the Triumph Trust, said the developers' visibility analysis was flawed.
"It assumes you have got a 4m hedge in a day, and clearly you haven't."
Mr Todd said if commissioners granted consent to Henley Downs it was likely more similar developments would take place at Jack's Point.
"I find it very had to believe the adverse effects of this activity fit in. This proposal flies smack in the face of what the whole Jack's Point development is about.
"All of the land west of the highway is owned by the applicant. If you grant consent this week, what happens next week?"
The commissioners will reach a decision after considering all submissions and the applicant's proposal.