Council planners keep eye on city's outskirts

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 13:44 02/02/2013

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The Christchurch City Council is moving to protect large tracts of greenfield land on the city's outskirts from ad hoc development.

With landowners in the greenfield areas around Hornby and Belfast lining up with requests to have their land rezoned, city council staff are recommending the council start preparing outline development plans (ODPs) so they can set a clear direction on how those areas are developed.

ODPs spell out how an area should be developed and usually include details such as the road layout, where stormwater facilities and reserve areas will be located, and what planning regulations will apply.

The council has approved the preparation of ODPs for two greenfield residential areas - one in the Upper Styx area and the other in Sparks Rd - and now wants to prepare ODPs for 98 hectares of greenfield land in Belfast and 171ha in Hornby that could be suitable for business purposes.

The council is worried that it if does not take the lead in Belfast and Hornby, where several landowners within the greenfield areas are proposing to lodge requests for private plan changes, the planning and development of these areas will be done on an ad hoc basis.

Since 2009 there have been several privately initiated plan-change requests seeking to rezone land within greenfield areas to accommodate residential and business growth. This situation has been exacerbated since the earthquakes.

Council senior planner Mark Stevenson said there had been two private plan changes approved in the Hornby area and there was likely to be pressure for the council to notify further privately requested plan changes.

"These are likely to have potentially significant cumulative adverse effects on the environment, and more particularly on stormwater and transport infrastructure, unless there is a development framework in place for this important growth area," he warned.

He said that by preparing an ODP, the council would be giving landowners the confidence they required before proceeding with developments. That would assist with the economic recovery of the city and the wider region by speeding up the consenting process and providing certainty to developers.

"In each of the areas, there are multiple landowners, each with their own commercial or strategic interests," Stevenson said. "The council can independently and objectively determine the best planning outcomes to be achieved through the ODPs."

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- The Press

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