Northlake family upset by treatment

The main entrance to Northlake. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
The main entrance to Northlake. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
A family living in Wanaka's new Northlake subdivision say they feel more like tenants than the owners of the house they paid for.

``You buy a property because you don't want to be living in a rental and then you still feel like you've got a landlord,'' a member of the family told the Otago Daily Times.

The family did not want to be identified for fear their criticism might upset the developers, Chris and Michaela Meehan.

The family was considering selling their house because living in the burgeoning subdivision had not met their expectations.

There have been rumblings of discontent at Northlake over amenities the developer has suggested could be provided but have not been, and over a plan change that will increase the amount of commercial activity.

A meeting of residents is understood to have been organised for later this week.

Six residents who made submissions to the plan change hearing, withdrew them after receiving letters from the developers' lawyers.

Under Northlake's sale and purchase agreement's ``no objection'' clause, buyers of sections agree they ``will not object to or lodge any submission against any planning proposal''.

Other parts of the agreement require a buyer to ``promptly give its unqualified'' written approval to any planning application.

The family spoken to by the ODT admitted to being ``naive'' in not realising the extent to which the developer could make changes, and be ``able to take out things that had already been put in''.

``You don't imagine a tennis court that has already been built is going to be removed.''

They had other issues too.

A tent they erected in their large section over summer attracted a letter from the developers' lawyer requesting it be removed.

And another letter required them to upgrade their landscaping.

``They tried to tell us the grass on our hill was longer than regulation ... which was not the case.

``But again, they communicated that through legal means - a letter from the lawyer - which is so intimidating.''

Dust and noise from the continued development had been problematic, as well.

``When our houses were all covered in dust and the noise was unbearable, the modus operandi from the Northlake developers was just not to respond.''

It had all added up to Northlake not being the relaxed village-like location they hoped it would be.

``If you look at it in the beginning designs, you saw a nice little community hub with a swimming pool, a couple of tennis courts, a small shop, a little cafe.

``It was all very village-y and quite quaint.

``And now you've got a big supermarket going in, no swimming pool, no community gathering area, one tennis court that is now supposedly being removed and a much larger amount of retail space.''

Developer Chris Meehan, when approached by the ODT on Friday, said: ``I've got no comment. I don't talk to the newspaper, as you know.''



One of the many reasons i'm happy to live in a renovated 100+ year old house instead of a new one in a posh new subdivision.

All the rules and guidelines are absurd for these types of developments and it's pretty much like renting a house instead of owning, as you can't really do much more than buy the house.
Some places don't allow cars with signwriting in the drive. Some all need the same fencing (like along Hagart Alexander Drive in Mosgiel, whatever that development is called). Annoyingly small sections (unlike the section i have at the mo, where i could easily fit another house or two in the backyard). Limited amount of things you can have/put on your annoyingly small section. Grass needs to be at a certain length, not too short, not too long. Etc etc etc.

Not my ideal means of living, i bought a house so that no-one can tell me how it should look (other than the council) and what i can do with it. It's a huge benefit over renting a house. One you don't get in these new subdivisions...

Something wrong with the business management. Try the Commerce Commission. You can't be evicted from property you own.

Looked at purchasing here a few years back. Fortunately my lawyer pointed out all these potential problems. Do your due diligence people! So glad we didn't purchase here.

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter