Council boss turns developer

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Adam Feeley’s embarking on his latest restructuring - this time on his family’s land on the outskirts of Arrowtown.

After being approached by Mountain Scene, the Queenstown council boss admits his family is using government fast-track rules to try and develop its property on the Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road.

The council rates records state there’s a residential portion of land worth $1.35 million and a mixed use parcel worth $370,000.

The online record states, “Your results have been limited”.

However, Terranet shows the land area as 6.175 hectares - and that ASB Bank had a mortgage on it in February 2013.

Real estate sources speculate up to 50 houses could be built on the block.

Feeley says he told Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden in November his family was considering making an application under ‘special housing area’ (SHA) rules.

“Since then, I have not had involvement and have no knowledge of the process beyond what any other resident is entitled to.”

There’s grumbling in some quarters that using the SHA process means the public isn’t notified or consulted.

Feeley says he has or will: withdraw from SHA discussions at council meetings; be excluded from related working groups; hand work to planning manager Marc Bretherton; and have no access to information or assessments which go to council.

He also sought advice from the Auditor-General, whose office says it’s comfortable with his approach.

Feeley says he won’t comment on details - his family’s entitled to the confidentiality enjoyed by other developers.

“However I can say that the proposal is very modest; contains a number of significant concessions regarding scale and other benefits for the area; and is one that we believe fully meets the criteria that council have set for SHAs.”

Van Uden says Feeley pro-actively flagged the ‘potential conflict’ with the whole council.

“I am completely satisfied that none exists.

“The law is clear that simply being a council employee does not preclude anyone from having the same rights and opportunities as any other resident, provided the conflict is declared and managed.

“And, it has been.”

That might be cold comfort for Arrowtown farmer Roger Monk - whose plans to build 215 sections just down McDonnell Road were rejected by the council and, later, the Environment Court.

david@scene.co.nz