Council considers SHA expansion

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The door could soon open for landowners and developers across the Queenstown Lakes wanting to fast-track subdivisions.

Queenstown’s council will tomorrow consider an overhaul of so-called special housing area (SHA) guidelines.

The council froze work on SHA proposals seven weeks ago, ordering staff to review its “lead policy”.

Now they’re suggesting fast-tracked projects, previously restricted to the Wakatipu Basin, be broadened to the entire district.

Also, a requirement for proposals to be located “within or adjacent to existing urban areas” would be removed.

However the council would have discretion to reject sites it deems unsuitable.

Senior policy planner Anita Vanstone says in a report to tomorrow’s full council meeting that the government’s extension of SHA legislation has given the council a chance to rethink its strategy for increasing the district’s housing supply.

She’s suggesting land would be categorised as either suitable, potentially suitable or unsuitable for a fast-track.

In the near future, only proposals for land in the “suitable” category could be approved, as land in the other two categories could not be identified until early next year.

Vanstone says that could “temporarily slow” new housing as no SHA proposals have been received for “suitable” category land apart from the council’s one on Gorge Road.

The recommendations in her report would better align the council’s policy with the proposed district plan, she says, as well as two other as-yet-unfinished projects: the Wakatipu Land Use Study and the Ladies Mile Masterplan.

Otago Daily Times