Roberts Line residents object to land restrictions

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 16/06/2012
Susan and Jeff Twigge
WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ

UNDER THE RADAR: Susan and Jeff Twigge face tougher controls on anything they can grow or build on their Roberts Line property to avoid interfering with an Airways navigation device.

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Erecting a windmill and a hayshed or growing a stand of firewood trees – these are all activities that Palmerston North building planner Jeff Twigge and wife Susan might be barred from carrying out on their Roberts Line property.

Mr Twigge is "pretty annoyed" about pending rule changes that would limit use of the property the couple bought two years ago.

He says he will fight the changes all the way to the Environment Court if he has to.

Airways Corporation New Zealand wants better protection for its neighbouring navigation aid that will involve imposing building and height restrictions on surrounding properties.

The modified district plan designation around the Doppler VOR facility would limit what can intrude into the airspace to protect Palmerston North Airport operations.

It is one of a long list of designations, due for review, that will be publicly notified by the city council next week as proposed Plan Change 10 to the District Plan.

Mr Twigge lives next door to the beacon that helps guide aircraft on the approach to the Milson Airport runway.

He bought the property, formerly part of the Linklater Block, from the city council. "And two years later, they are changing the rules."

He said the council had pointed out, when he planted trees for firewood, that they would have to be pruned or removed before they reached 4 metres because of controls surrounding the Doppler VOR.

But the modified designation over airspace radiates out over 600 metres and affects his property rights more than he expected.

It would mean Mr Twigge could not build anything at all within 50 metres of the site, nothing more than 3.5 metres high within 100 metres, and nothing more than 8 metres high or any metallic or conducting building above 5 metres within 300 metres.

His section is only 300 metres long. "I'm absolutely concerned about this," he said.

His proposed windmill would stand about 12 metres tall, and would be about 200 metres from the Doppler VOR.

Neighbour Dave Griffiths said the restrictions were unlikely to affect his family's use of their property.

The family home he has lived in since 1974 pre-dates installation of the Doppler VOR. However, existing rules in the District Plan had restricted building options back then, and he believed the corner of the lounge was just 1 metres off the flight path.

He was "dumbfounded" the Twigge house had been allowed.

The flight path is protected under the transportation section of the District Plan.

When the Doppler VOR was installed 20 years ago, Mr Griffiths requested it be as far away from his house as possible.

"It gives out some kind of microwaves, and we were concerned about that. It is quite a low emission, but we wanted to avoid it as much as possible."

He said Airways gave up its preferred site because of his concerns.

The Doppler VOR and its accessway are on land designated for Airways use.

Airways says in its request for a modified designation that as the area is developed, it needs clearer controls on height and other restrictions over neighbouring land.

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A suite of other designations up for review includes 14 that will be rolled over without change, three to be removed, 70 to be rolled over with modification, and two that are new.

Ministers of the Crown, local authorities and network utilities are all entitled to require designations to protect public works.

- Manawatu Standard

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