Apartments ‘block’ best view

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Five Queenstown Hill property owners are going to the High Court to protect their million-dollar views.

Queenstown’s council has given the green light to an Aussie developer for a major apartment complex on York Street, off Hallenstein St.

But lawyers for five people who own land immediately above the site say they weren’t even told about the application, never mind given a chance to have their say.

The 24 apartment block will obscure views down Queenstown Hill towards Lake Wakatipu, they argue.

In technical terms, the council issued a ‘non-notified’ resource consent in October, not considering the property owners above to be ‘affected parties’ under the Resource Management Act.

Lawyer Phil Page says that’s a “serious error”.

“We are instructed to apply to the High Court for orders quashing the resource consent decision.”

Neither the council nor two of the five property owners contacted by Mountain Scene would comment while the stoush is before the courts.

Another owner, veteran weatherman David Crow, also prefers not to comment, beyond confirming their main concern is the height of the newly-consented development. “I’ve got to have a view,” he says.

Lachlan Francis, the director and co-owner of developer CSF Trustees, didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment by deadline.

However, in his resource consent application, he maintains that the balcony entrances to four York St apartments – owned by the subsequent objectors – will be some 23 metres from his building wall, and “they are all elevated with the ability to look over the Watermark Development roofline”.

He’s also developing the 16-unit Freshwater apart-ment complex, on Hallenstein St, below 1 York St.

Muddying the waters is the fact that in May last year, 1 York St was rezoned from ‘high density residential’ to ‘lower density suburban residential’ under the proposed district plan. But CSF Trustees appealed that change, and due to the appeal a council senior planner says the zone change wasn’t a con-sideration.

Lawyer Page says that’s another error – the council should have ignored that appeal, as CSF Trustees hadn’t submitted to the proposed district plan, “and had no right of appeal”. Two weeks ago, Environment Court judge Jon Jackson struck out CSF Trustees’ zoning appeal, for that very reason.