OPINION: Ladies Mile offers flat land that is easily developed

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'Logical for development': Ladies Mile PICTURE: KEVIN WAKELING

Queenstown’s council is to be congratulated for having the vision to create a masterplan for Ladies Mile that embraces public transport, green spaces and a community hub, writes Glenpanel Homestead co-owner Mark Tylden.

If it is rolled out, it will lead to the development of a connected community with good urban design outcomes, where people will enjoy living.

In May, landowners on Ladies Mile such as ourselves were invited to a presentation by the council officers of an indicative masterplan for the area.

The purpose was to seek our feedback on the plan before it went out to the wider public for consideration as it has now.

I believe this was a perfectly reasonable approach as it is my land that is directly affected by the proposed creation of a special housing area zone along Ladies Mile and without the support of the land-owners, the whole process would be a waste of time.

It is understandable that there is substantial pressure to re-zone Ladies Mile when you appreciate that flat land that can be easily developed is in short supply in the Wakatipu Basin.

When you combine that with the growth the district is experiencing, and the requirements of the national policy statement on using land for urban growth, one cannot escape the conclusion that Ladies Mile is a logical corridor to develop.

It’s close to existing subdivisions and infrastructure, and the landscape is able to absorb substantial residential development (as shown by the Wakatipu Basin Land Use Study).

In fact Ladies Mile is already being developed with the construction of the Queenstown Country Club (QCC) now under way.

Given some of the comments reported in the local media, I believe there has been considerable misrepresentation of the special housing area (SHA) process.

I felt it necessary to offer some balance to the discussion, as the creation of a Ladies Mile SHA zone directly affects me, as has the development of the aforementioned QCC directly opposite.

Under the SHA process, landowners in a SHA zone have the right to submit an expression of interest to the local council to develop an area under the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act.

The purpose of this legislation is stated in section 4: “The purpose of this Act is to enhance housing affordability by facilitating an increase in land and housing supply in certain regions or districts, listed in Schedule 1, identified as having housing supply and affordability issues.”

Landowners do not have an obligation to develop their land; their rights as landowners are not taken away.

The rights of adjacent and adjoining landowners are also protected under the Act and they have the right to be notified of any proposed SHA development and the right to make a submission on its merits.

In the case of the QCC, some 81 affected parties were notified including ourselves.

The resulting submissions led to changes in the QCC resource consent conditions to address the affected parties’ concerns.

So to conclude, the proposed indicative masterplan demonstrates the desire to ensure that the entrance to Queens-town is enhanced and developed in a sensitive, contiguous and environmentally-cognisant manner.

At the same time it addresses Queens-town’s burgeoning growth and housing affordability issues.

Ladies Mile is already under development.

The council’s approach to propose an SHA zone over the majority of the remaining flat land is laudable.