Geraldine area rezone proposed

A large area to the north of Geraldine will be opened up for residential development, if a plan change proposed by the Timaru District Council is successful.

Yesterday's resource planning and regulation committee is recommending that the council proceeds with a plan to rezone as residential an area bounded by State Highway 79 and to the north of Templer St, southwest of Raukapuka Stream and northeast of the existing residential properties along Connolly St.

The area covers around 16.5 hectares, of which 7ha is subject to a proposal to develop a lifecare village. It also includes the McKenzie Lodge and hospital. The area is divided into six properties at present.

The council has also received applications for residential developments in Hislop St (18 lots) and Gresham St (30 lots).

Previous reports have indicated around 100 new homes would be required in Geraldine between 2006 and 2021. That figure was based on past trends, the town's attractiveness as a retirement location, and the age and composition of the existing population.

A report by Opus International suggested the lifecare village might cater for much of the predicted future demand for smaller housing in Geraldine in the short to medium term.

Demand for residential land, which caters for a more diverse market than the lifecare village, could be accommodated through infill housing and development and extension of the infrastructure required to service the lifecare village. The area was seen as ideally positioned to maximise the additional infrastructure installed as part of that development.

No major issues were identified in the report.

Councillor Michael Oliver suggested council undertake a structured plan for the area, as it did for Washdyke and Temuka. He noted they were caught out in the past without enough industrial land at Washdyke.

He believed the council should put the Geraldine land aside, as what would be required in five to 10 years was not known.

The council had also been caught out with not having enough residential land in smaller areas, Councillor Pat Mulvey said, favouring the plan change.

Landowners in the area had been spoken to and were all in favour of the area being rezoned.

While the council would need to fund the infrastructure until the sections were purchased, doing so was core council business, chief executive Warwick Isaacs said.

Mr Oliver said the council should do what it thought best for the district.

The Timaru Herald