Problems grow for suburb proposal

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 17/07/2013

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Challenges for developing a new suburb of Palmerston North at Whakarongo are mounting.

The NZ Transport Agency does not want any more road connections to State Highway 3 to cater for the growing area, and will not pay for improvements to the existing intersections.

KiwiRail will oppose any level railway crossings for vehicles or pedestrians. And developers say proposed planning rules will be expensive to comply with and make sections too dear.

The issues have been raised in some of the 18 submissions on proposed plan change 6 to the Palmerston North City Council's District Plan.

The plan change affects about 50 hectares in the Whakarongo area, changing the zoning from rural to residential to create the city's next new housing area.

The council wants to impose design rules that will provide a blueprint for all future greenfields subdivisions. The goal is to create attractive and safe neighbourhoods with good connections and a variety of housing types.

But the Whakarongo location has some problems.

It is bounded by a state highway on one side, with a railway line running through the middle, and airport noise issues affecting much of the block.

NZTA's submission supports the overall plan, but opposes a planned new road on to the state highway. Its approval would be needed to allow the link to be built.

It also said if the James Line and Stoney Creek Rd intersections needed to be improved to carry extra traffic generated by the subdivisions it would not subsidise the costs.

KiwiRail wants level crossings to be prohibited, and for an underpass on the main collector road through the area to be built before development goes ahead.

It also wants the council to be more clear about rules for buffer zones between houses and the railway line to avoid complaints about noise and vibration.

Kevin O'Connor and Associates is one of several submitters to object to the "onerous" amount of information developers would have to supply to the council for subdivision consents.

The consultants said the extra costs would have an impact on the price of sections and undermine attempts to make housing more affordable.

Others have challenged the council to provide more information about how stormwater generated in the area will be dealt with, and whether city services have the capacity to cope with extra demand.

Rules restricting the length of cul-de-sacs and maximum height of fences have also drawn objections.

Policy planner Daniel Batley said most of the issues raised by submitters had been anticipated, and would have to be worked through.

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Further submissions on the plan change will be accepted until July 26, at which stage he will begin a detailed analysis and prepare replies.

Submissions and responses will be referred to a hearing before planning commissioners who will make final decisions on whether development of the area will go ahead.

- Manawatu Standard

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