Developer’s swipe at ‘greedy’ council


A major Queenstown land-owner says he’s not putting more sections on the market because of the local council’s “greedy” development levies.

Frank Mee, who owns the Deer Park Heights farm above Kelvin Heights, was granted resource consent in May to develop 17 sections off Peninsula Road.

His development company’s lawyer, however, has told the council he won’t proceed “because of the amount of the reserve fund contributions”.

Mee, 93, says he objects to council’s $325,000 development contribution, which works out at $19,000, including GST, per section.

“That’s far too much.

“My argument is that we do enough without putting on that amount of money.”

Queenstown council’s acting planning boss Tony Avery says its 2014/15 development contribution policy applies to all developments. 

Mee says as a developer, “you do all the tarsealing, you put in the power, you put in the telephone, the lights and all of the pipes involved in the infrastructure”.

When that’s completed you then hand the subdivision over to the council “and they put rates on it”.

Mee says he’d be “quite happy” paying just $5000 per section.

The council is being greedy charging four times that amount, he claims - “no doubt about that”.

“My hill, they charge more for developers’ contributions than I think Wanaka and [Queenstown’s] Shotover Country.”

Mee says he expected to sell the sections, ranging from 1506 to 3378 square metres, for about $600,000 a pop.

Asked if $19,000 isn’t too bad compared with the section cost, he notes the subdivision will cost about $2 million to develop.

Proposed to be called The Peninsula, it’s zoned for low-density residential development along with up to 120 other sections which are also on Mee’s former deer farm.

He agrees that it’s unfortunate the spat with council comes when there’s a desperate shortage of sections in the Wakatipu.

“They accuse us of being like landbankers.”

Mee estimates he’s developed about 120 sections since 1965, and his last subdivision was about five years ago. 

While washing his hands of his newly-approved subdivision, he says his son Mike has indicated he might take it over.

Council acting planning boss Avery says by email: “We advised Mr Mee in August that he would not be charged a reserve land contribution as land has been previously vested.

“We advised Mr Mee, through his lawyer, that he could request a reconsideration of the development contributions if he felt that the council had made an error in our calculations, incorrectly applied the policy or had assessed the contribution on the basis of incorrect or incomplete information.

“To date, Mr Mee has not asked the council to reconsider the development contributions that would be applicable to his proposal.”