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Criffel Station owners Jeremy and Mandy Bell have sought resource consent to subdivide part of their land into seven lots and establish residential dwellings on five of them.
In their application, the Bells described the 3.15ha site, located at the western end of the station on Smith Rd, off Mount Barker Rd, as an "unproductive and unused piece of land that does not support or contribute to the sustainable farming practice of Criffel".
Large rocks scattered throughout the site "exacerbated" the unproductive nature of the site.
The dwellings would all be built on 750sq m building platforms, and lie on lots ranging from 5365sq m to 7700sq m.
Criffel Station is zoned rural general and is contained within the visual amenity landscape and outstanding natural landscape of the Clutha Basin.
Establishing multiple buildings within those zones was a major factor in QLDC senior planner Sarah Gathercole's recommendation to an independent hearing panel to refuse consent.
In her report, she said she believed it was likely the lots would be used for residential purposes and as such would result in adverse effects to the "rural character" of the area and would be "inappropriate".
In her opinion, the proposal did not comply with the relevant objectives and policies of the operative and proposed district plan, while she was also concerned about the potential "sprawl" of urban development across and along Mount Barker Rd, she said.
"Overall, I consider the proposal does not promote sustainable management as per the purposes and principles of the RMA [Resource Management Act]," she said.
No submissions from the public were received.
A hearing has been set for April 30 in Wanaka and will be heard by independent commissioners Bob Nixon and Jane Sinclair.