Court drops subdivision plans for Arrowtown

JESSICA MADDOCK
Last updated 05:00 08/02/2013

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Arrowtown's existing boundaries have been secured following an Environment Court decision which rejects a large subdivision south of the town and supports the council's plan to prevent urban sprawl.

Judge Jon Jackson has endorsed the Queenstown Lakes District Council's decision to contain development within Arrowtown's existing boundaries - called Plan Change 29 - aside from allowing about another 12 sections on McDonnell Rd.

Around 500 people lodged submissions on the council's decision to set the town's urban growth limits at its existing boundaries, with most supporting the move, but an Arrowtown landowner appealed to the Environment Court.

Roger Monk, who also represented other landowners, applied for a private plan change - called Plan Change 39 - which proposed about 215 sections on the southern edge of Arrowtown, essentially developing the area between the existing houses and the Arrowtown Golf Club.

Mr Monk's proposal was rejected by the council and he appealed to the Environment Court, which this week upheld the council's decision.

Yesterday he said he was disappointed with the court's decision.

A lot of Arrowtown people had supported the subdivision, he said.

He had not decided whether he was going to pursue the proposal further.

The council's policy and planning general manager, Phil Pannett, said the court's decision was a victory for the Arrowtown residents who had been battling for nearly a decade to ensure the town did not expand further.

"That's been the wish of a lot of Arrowtown residents for a long time."

The council's bill for the proceedings, which began in 2008, is yet to be calculated but Mr Pannett estimated it would be about $100,000.

One of the people who gave evidence at the court hearing, John Hanan, said he was disappointed another 12 sections had been allowed, but relieved the Arrowtown's boundary had not been further extended.

Mr Hanan had doubted there would be demand for another 215 sections in Arrowtown in the foreseeable future, given the lack of movement on the properties already for sale on McDonnell Rd.

Real estate agents in Arrowtown contacted by The Southland Times declined to comment on the implications of the court's decision, but the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand's Queenstown spokesman, Kelvin Collins, said it may mean families could not afford to live in Arrowtown.

"I think the question is ‘Queenstown is going to continue to grow, so where is the right location for families to live?'

"I don't think that has been answered. I think it was a logical extension of Arrowtown.

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"It's all very well us saying we have got land in Queenstown to develop. It's very steep land - it's not family land.

"People want to live in Arrowtown. Is it going to change the face of Arrowtown? I wouldn't have thought so, but the Environment Court did."

Mr Collins predicted the court's decision may "put stress" on property values in Arrowtown - which he said were already higher than in Queenstown - in the medium to long term.

- The Southland Times

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