District plan errors may be costly to fix

Last updated 11:35 17/05/2014

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A district plan botch-up has zoned all businesses in Mangaweka, Ohingaiti, Utiku and Turakina as residential rather than commercial.

The Rangitikei District Council mistake was presented by council staff at a policy and planning meeting this week, and means a potentially costly change may need to be made to fix it.

There is no commercial land zoned in any of the four Rangitikei towns, meaning any new businesses wanting to set up will have to apply for a resource consent.

The council is now investigating the cost and the process required to fix the problem with a report to be delivered in September.

Mayor Andy Watson said it might be better to not fix the issue.

"This is a council-initiated plan change and they are expensive. I don't know how in the heck we can say we're just going to do it until we at least have a cost-benefit analysis.

"When you start playing around in zone changes you can start getting rating changes."

Councillor Angus Gordon said he was concerned that any changes to the District Plan could open a "can of worms" that could mean a rewrite of the whole document.

Council policy analyst Steve Costelloe said the District Plan was a living document that had a small number of errors in it.

Other issues included a problem with the quality of liquefaction maps in Rangitikei, which could mean those building new houses would need to fund geotechnical investigations themselves.

Utiku Wool Company owner Margo Riach said the business always had "a bit of an inkling" that something was up with the District Plan but she was not too concerned to be sitting on residential land.

"I can't imagine there's going to be an influx of businesses coming to Utiku so I can't see it being an issue in the short term," Riach said.

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- Manawatu Standard


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