Call for rezoning of farms for industrial business

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 08:03 04/10/2012

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Three west Christchurch farmland sites totalling 100 hectares should be rezoned for industrial business, and development rules for the city-controlled airport's business park should be relaxed, the Christchurch City Council planning committee says.

The rest of the land between Christchurch International Airport and the city's urban edge - about 760ha - should be given the special designation "rural-urban fringe" to reflect the land's "strategic significance" to the airport, the committee said.

The committee made its recommendations yesterday. They will be voted on by the full council on October 25.

Tait Communications' planned 10.7ha campus development behind its Wairakei Rd offices would get a boost from the rezoning because it fell within the largest - 50ha - site near Russley golf course. So would the airport.

Under the proposal, the 80ha Dakota Park business estate would be opened up to a wider range of business activities, rather than constrained to freight and airline-related tenants.

Several developments and tenants outside the intended business activities have received council approval to operate at Dakota.

The council said that was because of limitations in the rules and pressure for non-airport-related businesses to move in. Council papers say the council gave permission to those businesses as a matter of course.

The most recent was a Gen-i data centre, announced this week, which appears to have been the catalyst for reviewing the business park's rules.

In a resource consent decision approving the project, a council commissioner said the airport was treating Dakota Park as "just another business park", rather than a special area for aviation industries. "In doing this it is ignoring the clearly expressed description of what the zone is for ... and the reasons for [the] rules."

The other two sites are a 15ha site on the south side of Johns Rd opposite The Press' print plant and a 35ha site between Russley Rd and Hawthornden Rd on the opposite side of the road from Dakota Park.

The Johns Rd site is owned by the council.

The committee said the rezoning and changes to the business park's rules would help ease pressure on the area caused by the earthquakes and shrinking available land.

Community consultation on uses for the 860ha stretch of land between the airport and the edge of the city, from Yaldhurst Rd in the south to Johns Rd in the north, was done last year.

A council staff report on the land-zoning proposals says most submitters wanted to ensure the land retained a rural feel.

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However, it said land rezoning was a strong theme among submissions.

"Submitters used the earthquakes as the primary driver for zone changes they sought, claiming that the land in this area is stable and that demand for commercial and business land meant that council should look at rezoning immediately,'' it said.

"However, most seem to desire their land to be rezoned for financial gain, as opposed to the future sustainable use of land in the northwest for the next 30 years." 

- The Press

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