Proposed development could set ‘dangerous precedent’

It's thought up to 400 housing units could be built on the site. Photo: ODT files
It's thought up to 400 housing units could be built on the site. Photo: ODT files
A group of Queenstown residents are shocked commissioners also approved a large housing development on rural land - without public consultation - when giving council’s Ladies Mile masterplan the big tick last month.

On the other hand, the local housing trust’s delighted the landowner’s offering it 5% of the sections it’ll create specifically for affordable housing.

The independent commissioners rezoned about 10.9 hectares of former Wakatipu Basin Lifestyle Precinct land, partly bordered by Lower Shotover and Spence roads, in their draft recommendation to council, which now only has to be rubber-stamped by Environment Minister Penny Simmonds.

Till now, the Anna Hutchinson Family Trust land was only zoned for 12 homes.

Now, 4.6ha’s been zoned for ‘medium-density residential’ - allowing up to 40 homes per hectare, up to 13 metres high - and 6.3ha for ‘low-density residential’, allowing minimum-300 square metre sections.

All-up, it’s thought up to 400 housing units could be built.

Mitzi Cole-Bailey, speaking on behalf of five Spence Rd neighbours, says their main beef’s the lack of proper consultation over this extra Ladies Mile land, which doesn’t in fact face the Ladies Mile highway and is on the other side of Lower Shotover Rd.

They’re specially concerned at the lack of traffic-load testing, "which is what most people had concerns about during the Ladies Mile process".

"This new area is too far from the proposed commercial centre in Ladies Mile to stop people using their cars."

There’d also be a lot more traffic exiting Lower Shotover Rd onto the state highway roundabout, she says.

Cole-Bailey notes the commissioners didn’t point out the landowner only put in their submission on the last day, "meaning only people who were affected more than [minorly] could submit against them".

She says the public’s generally not aware what’s called Spence Park will extend along Lower Shotover Rd, "creating urban creep and setting a dangerous precedent for future development".

She and her neighbours had been comforted council had opposed extending the Ladies Mile zone.

Council argued the trust land would "significantly change" the Ladies Mile development, increasing the land area by about a sixth.

Of most concern, a proper evaluation hadn’t been done - for example, of its effects on the nearby Shotover River and the river’s ‘outstanding natural feature’.

There were alternatives like a private plan change, council noted.

Meanwhile, the family trust’s planner, Werner Murray, says they can’t confirm how much housing they’d develop as they needed to allow for "recommended provisions" like not building on escarpments and setbacks.

He also notes 2.2ha closest to the neighbours "was removed from the rezoning request, following agreement with their planner this would adequately address the neighbours’ concerns".