No need to consult on SHAs: council

Despite some concerns within the Wakatipu community about a lack of consultation over proposed Special Housing Areas (SHAs) in the area, the Queenstown Lakes District Council says there is ''no obligation'' to consult with anyone.

However, one community association believes the process to date is ''so fundamentally flawed that it would not survive legal challenge''.

On Thursday, the council released details of expressions of interest under the Queenstown Lakes Housing Accord, received from 13 potential developers.

More than 1000 new properties were proposed across the Wakatipu - more than 230 of those around Arrowtown.

An application for a 150-dwelling development was received by Ayrburn Farm, on Arrowtown Lake-Hayes Rd, next to Millbrook Resort; Roger Monk and Don Mahon proposed a 62-section development on Centennial Ave, beside Chartres Green; The Rafa Trust, which is involved with land owned by council chief executive Adam Feeley, mooted a 20-allotment development on McDonnell Rd; and the Park Partnership, including Jeff Dickie and Tony Clear, proposed a development on a 3.43ha site on the corner of Malaghans and Manse Rds - the size still to be determined.

The potential developments have been a cause of concern for the town's village association.

Arrowtown Village Association acting chairman Wayne Hulls said in a letter to Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden, also sent to the Otago Daily Times, the association had ''serious concerns'' about the process adopted by the council to create the Special Housing Areas.

Its three major concerns were the ''lack of consultation with the Arrowtown community''; the ''apparent disregard'' of the town's Urban Growth Boundary; and the process to be used to assess the suitability of the land owned by Mr Feeley's family trust.

The letter said the first principle in the council's implementation guidelines relating to Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas was to ''engage with the community on the identification of potential areas in the Wakatipu Basin for consideration as Special Housing Areas''.

''To our knowledge, no public consultation has yet occurred,'' the letter said.

''This is a serious matter because as the council's own policy document records, critically SHA developments cannot subsequently be publicly notified and there is no opportunity for public input.''

At Thursday's council meeting, council planning and development general manager Marc Bretherton said: ''There is no obligation under the HASHA [Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act] for the council to consult with anyone.''

Mr Bretherton could not be reached for further comment.

In its letter the association said it was concerned about the ''non-adherence'' to the Urban Growth Boundary, as all proposed SHA areas fell outside the boundary confirmed by the Environment Court in a six-year process.

''The question the association wishes to put to the councillors is why, after such a long drawn-out process, the council would wish to reverse the effect of a policy it has expended considerable resources supporting and achieving for apparently little practical gain?''

Its final concern related to any proposal to include land owned by Mr Feeley's family trust within an SHA.

The council's policy included delegation to the planning and infrastructure general manager to enter into negotiations with the landowners/developers interested in promoting an SHA.

The association said it was not sufficient to assert there would be no bias in any of the reports or recommendations made, and ''it is equally important that there be no perception of bias.''

It ''specifically'' requested to meet Ms van Uden and councillors ''for the purpose of settling on an appropriate consultation process in line with the council's stated policy''.

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