Auckland developer Douglas Developments Ltd has obtained resource consent for an "unorthodox" 17-lot farm park subdivision near Tarras.
The development in Jolly Rd does not comply with Central Otago district plan minimum lot size rules and the consent is conditional on no further subdivision.
Farm park subdivisions have been created in the Queenstown Lakes district but this appears to be the first in the Central Otago district, where district plan rural subdivision rules provide for an average lot size of 8ha.
The Central Otago District Council hearings panel comprising chairman Neil Gillespie and councillors Martin McPherson and Stephen Jeffery, said "the very nature and form of this development sets it apart from other rural subdivisions which have previously gone before the panel".
They agreed the subdivision was intended to reduce potential fragmentation of rural land and encourage cohesive management of productive soil and rejected the Otago Regional Council’s submission that the application should be dealt with by way of a plan change.
"While an unorthodox approach within Central Otago, the proposal does not exceed the anticipated residential carrying capacity of the land and provides for cohesive productive management of the balance lot and, therefore, does not necessitate a plan change approach," the panel said.
The Jolly Rd subdivision comprises one 5503sq m lot, 15 lots from 1735sq m and 1914sq m, and a jointly-owned farm block of 129ha.
Council consultant planner Kirstyn Lindsay told the panel the clustered development would enable a more cohesive and productive use of the remaining 129ha than the land being split into 16, 8ha blocks.
The Otago Regional Council opposed the subdivision, concerned about the residential scale and density in a rural area, precedents, loss of productive soils, reverse sensitivity and no functional need for development of that particular land.
Neighbouring property owner Greenlight Land Ltd supported the development but sought a no-complaints covenant in relation to its own subdivision, still in the consent process.
The Hokonui Runanga opposed the development, but said if it was granted, conditions should include no further subdivision and groundwater protection.
The panel said reverse sensitivity effects could be managed to be no more than minor, imposed a condition for a secure, reliable potable water source and said individual wastewater systems, with secondary treatment, could serve the 16 lots without adverse environmental effects.
Attempts to contact developer Lloyd Morris, of Auckland, proved unsuccessful.