130ha farm pivotal in development proposal

Auckland developer Lloyd Morris has proposed a 17-lot farm park concept for Tarras that would be similar to, but smaller in scale than, those at Hillend Station in Wanaka or Bendemeer at Queenstown.

Mr Morris is a director of Douglas Developments Ltd, which has applied for development consent for about 132ha of farm land on Jolly Rd, about 1.6km northwest of Tarras.

The land is owned by Bells Lane Holdings Ltd.

Submissions on the notified consent application closed on November 19.

A Central Otago District Council communications spokeswoman said a hearing will begin on February 8.

It is understood seven submissions have been received — four supporting and three opposing .

One site would be just over 5503sqm, in accordance with a previously granted consent; 15 sites would range between 1753sqm and 1914sqm, and the balance would be a 130ha farm jointly owned by the lot owners.

Mr Morris said in an interview with the Otago Daily Times the Central Otago district plan standard lot size in the rural general zone was 8ha, so it was possible to get 16 houses on 132ha under a conventional subdivision style.

But after consulting interested potential purchasers, he decided to co-locate the 16 houses together on smaller lots on the highest of three farm terraces, now planted in lucerne.

A single farm operating productively with shared infrastructure was considered a more favourable use of existing resources, Mr Morris said.

There would be no earthworks scarring, productive soils would be retained and there would be a lighter environmental footprint than a conventional 16-lot lifestyle subdivision, he said.

‘‘We didn’t want to lose that farm. It didn’t make sense to us,’’ Mr Morris said.

The terrace is not irrigated.

Mr Morris said any adverse visual effects would be reduced by clustering, setting the houses back from the edges, keeping the houses to single storeys, limiting chimney heights to 7.5m and screen planting.

The existing double hedgeline and shelter belt would act as a screen and provide wind and shade protection. The houses would be ‘‘discreet and difficult to see’’, he said.

There would be room for curtilage activities, such as the ‘‘man shed’’, an orchard or landscaping.

The terrace is above the northern end of Christchurch International Airport Ltd’s proposed airport runway.

Mr Morris confirmed he intended to live on the property and had obtained consent for an airstrip there earlier this year to land his own aircraft.

Tarras was a well-known aviation reporting point from the Lindis Pass into the Central Otago region. Agricultural topdressing, helicopters frost control and personal transport were quite common in the area, he said.

Mr Morris said the case for the Tarras airport was ‘‘fairly contentious’’. He believed his airstrip and the airport could not co-exist.

Mr Morris has applied for a 10-year consent period and a staging condition so he can be flexible with construction.

Each lot owner must apply for consent for their building platform, giving the council a chance to address the effects of specific development.

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