A’town urban creep fear

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Opponents of a mooted Arrowtown subdivision claim it will ruin rural vistas and fly in the face of urban sprawl-preventing plan changes.

On the rural side of McDonnell Road, the 12-lot residential subdivision’s proposed by local real estate agent Richard Newman, who lives there, and Queenstown developer John Guthrie.

The 6.5 hectare property’s across the road from the Arrowtown urban boundary set three years ago by plan changes 29 and 30.

In her submission, neighbour Dame Elizabeth Hanan writes: “To jump McDonnell Rd is to jump over the urban growth boundary of Arrowtown as determined by PC 29, 30, and to despoil the rural general zone of the [district plan].”

It creates “urban sprawl at its worst degree”, she says.

Owners of high-value ridgeline land overlooking the Newman/Guthrie property are also appalled.

“It will be the beginning of the end of rural land around Arrowtown,” Cotter Avenue resident Trevor Toshach says.

“Everybody else will jump on the bandwagon.”

A joint submission by Cotter Ave property owners states: “We have always believed that our outstanding premium views (which were paid for) would be protected under existing zoning rules and specifically PC29.”

It claims the applicants’ landscape architect put very little emphasis on the subdivision’s effect on residents overlooking it.

“We fail to see how house design, colour choice and plantings can in any way minimise the impact that this ‘in your face’ development will have on the landowners along the ridgeline.

“We believe that approving this proposal will set a very dangerous precedent …”

Toshach says: “Three years ago, when this plan change was instituted, the whole district patted themselves on the back.

“We’d finally come to an arrangement where we weren’t going to have urban sprawl out either side of Arrowtown.”

Cotter Ave’s John Hewson adds: “It’s quite astounding that it can even be contemplated after all the appeals, all the hearings – it’s just a bloody joke.”

Newman, however, believes a precedent for carving up his and Guthrie’s property into 3845-to-5540 square metre lots has already been set.

“There’s the precedent right down [McDonnell Rd] of three different landowners getting one-acre [4047sqm] blocks.

“The whole landscape of McDonnell Rd has changed – it’s no longer rural.”

He doesn’t believe ridgeline residents should be concerned.

“It’s going to be well-screened, it’s going to be done very upmarket.”

Objectors should be pleased they’re only applying for 12 lots, he says – “there could be 50 to 100 sections there if we really went the full hog”.

Submissions to Queenstown’s council close today.

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