Too much focus on farming: developer


Queenstown’s proposed district plan effectively prohibits development in rural areas, a developer says.

The lawyer for three companies linked to property developer John Darby says the plan’s strategic chapters placed too much emphasis on the district’s “historical connection” to farming.

Maree Baker-Galloway told hearing commissioners an objective of the plan’s landscape chapter was to ensure subdivision and development did not “degrade landscape character and diminish visual amenity values of the rural landscapes”.

The objective’s first three policies are “absolute in nature and are restrictive with no enabling focus”.

Now, in the third week of hearings, council-appointed commissioners are hearing submissions on three of the plan’s strategic chapters.

Baker-Galloway says rural land supports activities beyond farming, such as conservation, recreation, tourism and rural living.

If the plan’s strategic chapters only provided for farming and didn’t consider an activity’s effects, it could prevent appropriate development.

The plan also needs to be clearer about non-urban development outside urban growth boundaries, she says.

Her submissions were on behalf of John Darby companies Darby Planning LP, Soho Ski Area Ltd and Treble Cone Investments.

They were similar to submissions last week from companies behind existing or proposed residential property development projects in rural areas, such as Ayrburn Farm Estate, Millbrook Country Club and Bridesdale Farm.

Hearings on the first stage of the plan are expected to continue until November.

Otago Daily Times