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Ballantyne Barker Holdings Ltd, owned by Michael and Caroline Garnham, has applied for resource consent to turn 48ha of land near the Cardrona River in Ballantyne Rd into nine residential lots.
Wendy Baker and David Whitney were the independent commissioners appointed to the hearing.
Most of the land, about 40ha, would continue to be used as part of the couple's deer farming operation, with a farm manager's house built on it.
The land is zoned rural under the Queenstown Lakes District Council's district plan.
Seven of the eight public submissions on the plans were opposed in full or to parts of the consent. Much of the opposition concerned the number of dwellings proposed and the effect on the rural character of the area.
In his legal submission for the applicant, lawyer Phil Page said the proposed developments matched the surrounding area.
Rural living, even if it was not part of a farming operation, was a legitimate activity in an area zoned rural, he said.
In her evidence for the council, landscape architect Marion Read found the proposed development would be significantly more dense than other rural lifestyle developments in the area.
As such, it would change the character of the rural landscape to something more rural-residential, Ms Read found.
The Upper Clutha Environmental Society was also opposed to the development.
Society secretary Julian Haworth said that, if approved, the development would result in the continuing domestication of the rural landscape of the site and surrounding area.
The council's senior resource consents planner, Sarah Gathercole, has recommended the development be declined.
The Garnhams have also applied for resource consent to subdivide about 6.8ha of rural land in Mt Barker Rd, also near the Cardrona River, into three residential lots, with 46.7ha to continue to be used for farming activity.