Eleventh-hour appeal against fuel stop

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Arrowtown’s proposed petrol station is headed to the Environment Court following an eleventh-hour appeal.

Independent commissioners granted consent to RD Petroleum for the $750,000 unmanned fuel station in January, after a resource consent hearing in November.

An appeal was filed by a group of 11 Arrowtown residents on Monday.

The appellants are Andrew Morris, Nadia Morris, Susan Cleaver, Carol Bunn, Maureen Jenkins, Warrick Jenkins, David Kennedy, Sandra Kennedy, Carol Warren, Grahame Warren and Howard Scott, all of Arrowtown, submitters on the original application by RD Petroleum.

The council received 26 submissions in full support of the application last year, with two more giving conditional support.

Warren was a submitter opposed to the proposal and at the hearing told hearings commissioner John Milligan his Wiltshire St home was only 30m from the site.

“If a petrol garage goes ahead, we will be losing our unique piece of paradise,” he says at the hearing.

In their appeal, the residents outlined 15 reasons.

They submitted the proposed location, on vacant land on the corner of Berkshire and Wiltshire Sts, was “not appropriate” and the decision to grant consent was “contrary to sound resource management principles”, provisions of the district plan, and in particular the objectives, policies, rules, and assessment matters of the Residential Arrowtown Historic Management Zone.

The group said the commissioner failed to give adequate consideration to concerns raised by submitters relating to “potential adverse effects on the amenity of their residences” and conditions imposed were “inadequate” to provide protection or management.

Other reasons were that 24-hour operations were “not justifiable” and had potential to result in adverse effects on residents’ amenity of the area nearby; it had the potential to result in adverse traffic and parking effects; and adverse effects which were more than minor and could not be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

They also said the commissioner was wrong on three points – that it would be difficult to close the facility overnight; his finding the district plan recognised the facilities for community needs in the Resident Arrowtown Historic Management Zone was wrong in terms of his understanding of “what might constitute a community facility and, in particular, a fuel facility”; and his finding as to what type of facility might be allowed by the objectives and policies of the Arrowtown Historic Management Zone was “wrong in law”.

The appellants sought the decision be set aside and costs.

Yesterday, RD Petroleum managing director Don Harvey says he is “quite disappointed” the appeal had been lodged, as it had potential to add significant costs and delay the project.

“I thought we certainly had spared no effort and expense in trying to ensure what we had proposed was fit for purpose and was going to add value to the whole Arrowtown environment.

“We couldn’t have done any better … we had every expert we could muster.”

Harvey says his solicitors were reviewing the appeal yesterday.

“There may be some avenues available … the option exists for mediation.

“We’ll explore those options and see if there’s any way we can go through that and avoid the lengthy delays and associated costs [with an Environment Court hearing].”

– Otago Daily Times