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Private plan change rekindles Arrowtown growth debate

A proposed carve-up of 31 hectares south of Arrowtown is sparking more debate over the historic town’s urban boundaries.

Nine landowners, principally the Mount Soho and Adamson Trusts, are seeking a private plan change to rezone their rural general land to create permit more than 150 homesites. Mount Soho is fronted by long-time local farmer Roger Monk.

The private plan change competes with Queenstown Lakes District Council’s own plan change 29, allowing Arrowtown to grow only within existing urban zones.

QLDC’s plan change responds to feedback from a discussion document issued last summer, and to lobbying from a residents group which found 97 per cent of those polled didn’t want Arrowtown sprawling beyond current boundaries.

But consultants for the owners behind the private plan change say their 31ha of farmland to the south is the last logical addition to the urban zone.

The land immediately abuts Chartres Green and the latest stage of the Adamson subdivision, and is surrounded by McDonnell Road to the west, Centennial Avenue to the east and the Arrowtown golf course to the south.

“Arrowtown can’t spill anywhere else,” says local landscape architect Paddy Baxter. “It marks the completion of the urban growth area.”

His Baxter Design Group proposes that “Arrowtown South” – the subdivision’s working title – should have a series of neighbourhoods with varying densities.

Some sites would be only 450 square metres, others 650-900sq m, and the fringes of the subdivision would have large sections up to 1500sq m.

The land includes a historic homestead dating back to 1867, and stables of a similar vintage would form part of a precinct, possibly with a convenience store and daycare facility.

Baxter says traditional Arrowtown features would include wide-open streets, large trees and design controls on houses.

There would be three to four kilometres of pedestrian/cycling trails, extensive green areas, regeneration of an existing wetland and enhancement of a creek running through the land.

Local planning consultancy John Edmonds & Associates, which has already done a brochure drop round Arrowtown, also seeks feedback via www.arrowsouth.co.nz.

The website includes an economic impact assessment, ecological assessment, infrastructure feasibility report and transport assessment – all of which unsurprisingly give Arrowtown South a big tick.

The economic impact report argues QLDC overestimated the supply of residentially-zoned land in Arrowtown.
After feedback, the private plan change will be submitted to QLDC then notified for submissions.

Arrowtowner Karen Swaine, former frontperson for the in-recess Wakatipu Environmental Society, says the plan change flies in the face of “huge opposition from Arrowtown residents over extending the boundary yet again”.
“Do you just wreck another piece of rural land to conveniently fill in a space or do you say, this is enough, Arrowtown’s infrastructure cannot handle any more houses?

“The same excuses that were made to extend the boundaries over the past 20 years are still being used today.”
Arrowtown South, she says, is “urban sprawl” detrimental to the town’s historic character.

It’s unfortunate there’s already a smattering of houses there, Swain suggests: “It’s what’s screwed the scrum in a way – if those houses and perhaps the Arrowtown golf course clubhouse weren’t there, we wouldn’t have this issue.”