Tucker Beach residents allowed to join appeal

Land in the Tucker Beach area the Middleton family wants to see used for a 200-home development....
Land in the Tucker Beach area the Middleton family wants to see used for a 200-home development. PHOTO: JOSHUA WALTON
A group of Tucker Beach residents have been successful in their attempt to join an appeal against a farming family's bid to rezone its land, making way for a 200-plus home housing development.

Environment Court Judge John Hassan initially said the Tucker Beach Residents Society Incorporated had "no standing" as a section 274 party and struck its notice out, before recalling that decision a week later.

It follows a decision by a Queenstown Lakes District Council proposed district plan hearings panel to strike out the group's submission on the Middleton Family Trust's plans to rezone a large part of its rural land, near Queenstown Hill, as low-density residential last August.

At the time, panel chairman Denis Nugent said "Tucker Beach Residents" was "not a legal person" as defined by the Resource Management Act and it would be an abuse of process to allow a further submission, not lodged by a legal person, to proceed.

The group then applied to the Environment Court to become a party to the proceedings.

However, Judge Hassan said in his first decision, on August 29, the court had initially deferred determination of whether the society had standing to be a party to the proceeding - the notice was filed out of time and a waiver was granted "to a limited extent" so the society could continue to prosecute its case pending a further decision to determine the matter.

The court directed the society and appellants to file a memorandum of counsel proposing how the matter could be heard and determined, but there was "no response" from the society.

"[In] the interim decision the court was careful to warn the society that leaving matters in an indeterminate state was not an option.

"It was made clear that the society's claimed status was to be evidenced to the court's satisfaction.

"The court advised that failure to do so could result in the ... notice being struck out ..."

In his decision on September 6, Judge Hassan said the society had actually filed several affidavits, submissions and evidence in support which "regrettably had not been considered".

He recalled his first decision and found the society did have standing to be a party to proceedings. Costs were reserved but "not encouraged".

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