Brothers challenging district plan decision

Two Wanaka brothers are taking the Queenstown Lakes District Council to the Environment Court in an attempt to reverse a district plan decision and open up the possibility for future development.

Brothers Owen and Eric Hopgood have owned the 229ha Hawthenden farm at the base of Mount Alpha since 1994.

Together they submitted on the council’s proposed district plan, where they sought to relocate an outstanding natural landscape (ONL) line that currently runs through the property further up the mountain to coincide with the Hawthenden boundary.

By doing so, it would allow the land to become open for future development.

Eric Hopgood told commissioners Calum MacLeod, Trevor Robinson and Ian Munro at a hearing last year that several developers had approached them interested in creating lifestyle blocks on their Hawthenden farm property.

It is visible from the Wanaka township, Mount Iron, Mount Barker and from the Wanaka War Memorial.

That proved to be the critical factor in the commissioners’ decision. They refused the relocation of the ONL line on that basis.

Mr Robinson said in his report the upper fan was "both prominent and distinctive when viewed from both public and private places in and around Wanaka" and was "a distinctive part of the mountain landscape".

"This is the point which tips the balance for us."

The Hopgoods appealed that decision last week, believing the commissioners did not appropriately consider geological and geographical evidence provided at the hearing, and gave "excessive consideration" to the potential visual effects of development.

They continue to seek a relocation of the ONL line to coincide with the property boundary of Hawthenden farm.

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