Fonterra's complaining neighbour request

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 06:36 07/11/2012

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Fonterra wants to be protected from new neighbours moving in close to its sites in Palmerston North, and then complaining about its activities.

The dairy giant wants the city council’s District Plan ‘‘City View’’ section to include a reference to the need to manage ‘‘reverse sensitivity effects’’.

The planning term refers to the prospect of new land users setting up alongside existing ones, then finding some of the neighbour’s activities offensive, and seeking to curtail them.

Fonterra’s case to have potential problems addressed was put to a panel of resource management commissioners hearing submissions on proposed Plan Change 8 yesterday by Fonterra’s environmental team leader Campbell Dodds.

He said new development had potential to adversely affect important established sites within the city boundary, at Longburn, opposite Massey University and in Mako Mako Rd.

The three sites employ more than 500 staff.

Mr Dodds said the plan’s issues and objectives section did not go far enough in recognising reverse sensitivity effects.

Fonterra already had problems with new neighbours trying to curtail its activities at other sites, one in Hamilton, where multimillion-dollar properties were created ‘‘on the doorstep’’.

There was potential for something similar to happen in Palmerston North as the city grew out toward Longburn.

'‘If a person applied to subdivide and build next door, they look up and see a factory and assume it’s going to be noisy.

‘‘If lifestyle or urban development are allowed to advance in proximity to these sites, new owners tend to place more urban and residential expectations on what they consider is acceptable in relation to noise, odour, traffic generation, dust and visual amenity.’’

Similar concerns were made in submissions from Radio New Zealand, the New Zealand Defence Force, Mighty River Power and KiwiRail.

City planner David Murphy said Fonterra raised legitimate concerns, but he believed they were addressed in principle in the plan section in an objective covering ‘‘the effects of other activities’’.

Reverse sensitivity effects would be captured in that section, he said.

Hearing chairman Chris Mitchell said he would expect reverse sensitivities to be dealt with in policy and rules sections of the District Plan dealing with specific zones, but not necessarily in the overview.

The commissioners will consider their decision in private.

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- Manawatu Standard

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