Council’s height fight with major developer


Remarkables Park wants to reach for the sky and Queenstown Lakes District Council wants the developer to lower its sights. 

A scrap over height limits is just one of many clashes looming between the council and the big developer over a private plan change the latter’s trying to push through. 

With millions of dollars at stake, the proposed change to the district plan has the potential to escalate into one of the Wakatipu’s biggest planning battles. 

Most controversially, the developer wants to double the building height limit in a specific area of the large Remarkables Park Zone from its present nine metres to 18m. 

In comparison, most recent buildings in the Queenstown CBD – for example, Ngai Tahu’s new Post Office Precinct – are 12m or three storeys. 

The council vehemently opposes lifting the height limit, saying in its submission that “there is no justification” for it.
Remarkables Park homeowner Neki Patel also abhors the thought of being surrounded by 18m-high commercial buildings. 

“Large buildings take views from residents who bought in the area before all the commercial zoning occurred,” Patel says in his submission. 

“[It will] change from a village to a full commercial area,” he fears. 

Going by the council’s 14 specific objections to the plan change, QLDC likes virtually nothing that Remarkables Park is pitching for. 

QLDC accuses the developer of failing to assess “likely demand on the water network” and “the effects of development on the Kawarau River”. 

There’s also an attempt to slide zone changes through allowing “large format retail activities” that may not suit “the wider context of Frankton”, the council claims. 

Carparks may be “oversupplied” and could undercut the council’s drive for public transport. 

The retail component of Remarkables Park is now mostly owned and managed by DNZ Property Group – but the development of large tracts of land surrounding the shopping centre remains under the control of brothers Alastair, John and Neville Porter. 

Through their Porter Group, they hold a majority of Remarkables Park Corporation. 

Although this is a private company, Mountain Scene has obtained accounts for its 2007 and 2008 fiscal years which illustrate its sheer financial scale. 

Over 2007-08, RPC sales totalled $46.4 million and produced an after-tax profit of $10.5m.