Zoning change an 'erosion of property rights'

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 04/04/2014

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Submitters have told the Southland District Council to scrap one of the zoning changes in the proposed district plan.

Federated Farmers representative Tanith Robb was one of the submitters who spoke to the resource management committee at a hearing for the natural features and landscapes section of the proposed plan in Invercargill yesterday.

Robb said the organisation wanted all references to visual amenity landscapes, a zoning change that would impact land owners in coastal areas and Te Anau, removed.

The zoning change would see restrictions on new buildings introduced, and control how some farming activities, such as gravel extraction and earthworks, were carried out.

"Farmers need flexibility around their land use to ensure their businesses remain economically viable," Robb said.

"It seems incongruous that council staff wish to manage the Southland working landscape, which contributes to the Southland identity, by imposing controls and restrictions on the very activities that created the landscape in the first place."

Peter Chartres and his partner Frauke Munster, who own and operate Te Anau Downs Station, an 8855 hectare sheep, beef and forestry farm on Milford Rd, agreed.

The visual amenity of Southland was enhanced by farming activities, Chartres said.

The visual amenity landscape zoning would be an erosion of property rights, would increase costs of compliance, and have a negative impact on property values, he said.

"We expect to be governed by rules, but we don't want to be governed by ridiculous rules."

However, Environment Southland resource planner Gavin Gilder said the visual amenity landscape part of the proposed plan did not go far enough.

It should be renamed ‘Locally Distinctive and Valued Natural Features and Landscapes,' so it was broader than the terminology used, he said.

Gilder also warned the committee the district council could be forced to play catch up if it did not work harder to identify important landscapes so it could prevent inappropriate subdivisions.

Committee member Councillor John Douglas said working to identify all areas in the district that needed to be protected was a huge, expensive undertaking, and the council had tried to identify and protect as many as possible with the plan.

The hearings continue today.

 

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