Developer angry at Mitre 10 zoning appeal

JOHN EDENS IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 10/09/2012

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A Southland business figure behind a plan to build a Mitre 10 Mega store in Queenstown says a council decision flies in the face of development.

Queenstown Lakes District Council on Friday said it was appealing against an Environment Court resource consent to build the store because the site was on land slated for industrial use, not retail.

A decision to appeal against Cross Roads Properties' $20 million store was made behind closed doors in a public-excluded meeting.

Cross Roads Properties' Jason Smith, a member of the prominent Southland business family behind the H&J Smith brand, said the company was angry.

The proposed site is on the Frankton Flats, the centre of a decade-long zoning wrangle between opposing developers.

Mr Smith said the resource consent was a discretionary activity within the proposed plan change zone yet an Environment Court decision to approve a Pak 'n Save store on similarly zoned land went unchallenged.

The court's Mitre 10 Mega decision recognised the owner of a business had the right to choose where to develop but the council's decision added to delays that the organisation and Queenstown Lakes District Council Mayor Vanessa van Uden said they wanted to avoid, he said.

"This decision does not appear logical or consistent, so what is the real reason behind the appeal?

"We have had a full court hearing . . . with an experienced judge working through all the issues and resolving that this use of land is appropriate.

"Now the council wants to further delay and frustrate this process to begin the review of industrial land in Queenstown all over again."

He said district ratepayers did not get a say, they were ignored by the planners and it was a step back for development in Queenstown.

"Why would anyone want to develop in Queenstown when this level of frustration, costs and constantly changing rules and regulations exist?

"No wonder people have developed in Cromwell as council acknowledges - Cromwell are obviously willing to work with people, not fight them at every turn."

On Friday, Ms van Uden said the council did not want to enter the fray of Environment Court appeals but felt its hand was forced by Frankton zoning issues.

The hardware and building supply site is on land set aside under the council's plan change 19 for industrial activity.

Meanwhile, an Environment Court plan change decision is expected within weeks.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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