Carve up Ladies Mile: council bosses

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Changes afoot: Ladies Mile, stretching between Lake Hayes and the Shotover River

Queenstown council bosses want the resort’s tree-lined entrance to be opened up for potential development.

In a report to Thursday’s full council meeting, planning bosses Tony Avery and Blair Devlin — who previously ran secret meetings promoting a potential carve-up — recommend including Ladies Mile in the district’s Special Housing Area lead policy.

If approved, that would open the door to potential development of 136ha of land along the section of State Highway 6.

Council officers believed the Queenstown Country Club, under construction, set a precedent because it was the first major development on the upper, more visible part of Ladies Mile.

Opponents fear plans for multi-storeyed, densely-packed buildings on the north side of Ladies Mile will create “another Queenstown”.

But proponents of greater development say it’s flat land that can easily be developed to address the resort’s housing shortage.

There were 310 responses for and against the proposal.

In their feedback, some people questioned whether development of Ladies Mile would result in affordable housing.

Devlin’s report, endorsed by Avery, said Queenstown had a “severe” housing problem and the purpose of special housing legislation is not to provide affordable housing, but enhance affordability by helping increase land and housing supply.

The council’s approach had been to specify a certain percentage of developments be one- or two-bedroom units, “as they are smaller and more affordable”.

Regarding traffic and transport implications, the council noted at its June meeting the Shotover Bridge was a key “capacity restraint”.

While roads either side of it could be two-laned, the bridge could not.

If 1000 medium-density dwellings were developed along Ladies Mile by 2025, the bridge would reach capacity that year, or in 2032 if a 10 per cent shift to alternative modes of transport was achieved.

The NZ Transport Agency was “comfortable” with 1025 houses on Ladies Mile, but it was opposed to the full extent of development enabled under the indicative master plan.

The report said to address NZTA’s concerns, a “pause” button was proposed in the lead policy.

That meant no new expressions of interest would be considered for SHAs once applications for qualifying developments had been lodged which exceeded 1100 units.

“This will allow time for further assessment to be undertaken of the impact of additional housing on the Ladies Mile beyond the 1100 residential units that the NZTA were able to support through the [Housing Infrastructure Fund] application.”

The council also proposed to reduce the potential yield to 2185 – down from a maximum of 2874 units – by removing the potential for a small, second residential unit above the garage on areas identified for medium density.

The report’s recommendations also included the reinstatement of the public feedback stage for each expression of interest lodged for an SHA on Ladies Mile and for an additional area of “mixed use” near the Ladies Mile Pet Lodge.

“Council is faced with a series of decisions which involve balancing a series of competing elements,” the report said.

“It needs to decide whether it does see the need to enable further greenfields sites to be developed, or to continue encouraging land that is currently zoned to be developed and come to market.

“Council can either enable development that (like all SHAs) is not consistent with its operative and proposed district plans, and do so relatively quickly using the SHA mechanism.

“Alternatively, it can look to address the Ladies Mile area through the proposed district plan as part of the response to the Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study, over a longer time horizon.”

Its preferred option was to include the area in the lead policy.

Otago Daily Times