A new study recommends dramatic planning changes in the Wakatipu Basin with areas around Arrowtown and Ladies Mile tagged for urban growth.
It says the Arrowtown and Ladies Mile areas have “high” capacity to absorb growth and should become low or medium density residential zones.
At the other end of the scale it says Malaghans Valley, Gibbston Highway Flats and the Crown Terrace are assessed as having “very low” capacity to absorb further growth.
Queenstown Lakes District Council planning and development general manager Tony Avery said the report, authored by Auckland-based consultants, had not yet been formally received by the council.
It was based on landscape values only and council would have to consider implications such as providing for future growth and infrastructure.
A council agenda item recommends a detailed review of the study is conducted.
“I expect there will be quite a bit of debate and discussions around the council table about what some councillors think about some of the aspects,” Avery said.
Ultimately the council might decide to renotify the part of the District Plan regarding the Wakatipu Basin and seek further submissions. If that happened it would likely be at least 2018 before it was heard.
The report was commissioned by the council following a minute from the panel hearing the Proposed District Plan submissions.
The panel was concerned that the current discretionary planning regime was unlikely to deliver the strategic outcomes the council was seeking.
Council planning and policy manager Ian Bayliss said the Wakatipu Basin was mostly zoned as rural land. There was still some farming and large properties there but an increased amount of lifestyle activity.
The current regime meant that almost every development was notified.
“It’s a pretty rigorous regime but it doesn’t address that incremental change over time.”
The incremental development was “death by a thousand cuts”, he said.
The study looked at farming activities, where people valued rural amenities and identified locations where development could happen without impacting on sensitive locations.
It recommended the creation of a Wakatipu Basin Rural Amenity Zone with a minimum lot size of 80ha.
It would be overlaid by a Wakatipu Basin Lifestyle Precinct where some areas would have minimum lot sizes of 4000m sq and buildings requiring consent as a restricted discretionary activity.
There would also be a Ladies Mile Gateway precinct and an Arrowtown Precinct where areas could have density similar to low or medium density residential zones and have an “urban parkland” character.
The full report is on the council’s website.