Owners of winery want subdivision

Ed and Carol Lamont. Photo: ODT.
Ed and Carol Lamont. Photo: ODT.
Mount Soho Winery’s owners want to carve up their rural land near Arrowtown.

Ed and Carol Lamont have applied for consent to subdivide two existing titles — a combined 42ha  on the corner of McDonnell and Hogans Gully Rds — into six titles, allowing four houses to be built on what is now rural grazing land.

Two of those proposed sections have existing buildings — the Mt Soho Winery building and the Lamonts’ house.

Queenstown Lakes District Council-appointed commissioners  adjourned the hearing in the resort on Thursday.

Council planner Alana Standish recommended commissioners approve the development, subject to conditions.

In a report prepared for the Lamonts, landscape architect Peter Ritchie said a combination of recessive architecture, earth-mounding and limited planting would ensure the development would have "minimal visual effects".

The report said: "A further four dwellings in this area can be absorbed without compromising the open character and visual coherence of the landscape."

The new houses would only be seen from public viewpoints between 600m  and 2500m  away.

Council-contracted landscape architect Helen Mellsop said the development would be visible from the Crown Terrace and Tobins Track and she disagreed with Mr Ritchie  the houses would be difficult to see.

She also considered one of the proposed sections would represent "sprawl" along Hogans Gully Rd.

Ms Mellsop said ‘‘moderate’’ landscape effects could be reduced by cutting the number of additional building platforms to one or two.

But Ms Standish said the proposed development could be "generally contained within the site", by topography and landscaping,  avoiding unacceptable landscape effects.

The site, 2km  south of Arrowtown, is hemmed in on both sides by golf courses, The Hills and Arrowtown.

Mr Ritchie’s report said the northeast corner of the Wakatipu Basin had changed significantly, with Arrowtown extending and developments at Meadow Park, Millbrook and Bendemeer.

Also, The Hills had approval for 17 houses to be built around its golf course.

The new houses would have underground 30,000-litre water storage tanks.

Soil samples revealed two arsenic results above safety guidelines but RDAgritech said given the samples were taken below-ground, the probability of exposure to humans "is considered remote".

If the proposal was accepted, a  farm track from Hogans Gully Rd would be upgraded to become the winery’s new access road.

Ten neighbours gave  written approval, including Skyline chief executive Jeff Staniland and farmer Roger Monk.


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