Council outflanks frustrated objectors

By Danielle Nicholson


Percival Road residents whose properties will be surrounded by Tainui's proposed inland port and commercial operations development have managed to put a halt to their land being rezoned as 'logistics' in the Proposed District Plan. But the alternative isn't much better.

Spokesman for the group of 30 affected families, Bill Cowie said when the group threatened Hamilton City Council's planning division with legal action, it backed down.

Mr Cowie said rezoning the properties from 'country living' to 'logistics' was a breach of article 85 of the Resource Management Act. Article 85 stipulates that any person with an interest in land which may be unduly affected by planning changes can challenge the plan or proposed plan on the grounds that the land may be rendered incapable of reasonable use. "But instead we'll be zoned large lot residential with 'deferred logistics' hanging over it," which he says renders the land "unsellable".

"They've outflanked us. Nobody will buy a property that in 20 years or so will be valueless".

Mr Cowie said the 'large lot residential' zoning meant owners wouldn't be able to subdivide their land to anything smaller than two hectares (or 20,000 square metres).

A statement from Hamilton City Council to Hamilton News said the land bounded by Percival and Ryburn Rds was zoned 'country living' under the Waikato District Plan, which is administered by Hamilton City Council as a result of a boundary adjustment to the city's boundary. Subdivision within this zone can be subdivided down to 5000m2 (0.5 ha). "The land is also within the Ruakura Structure Plan under the Proposed District Plan and is identified for logistics in the longer term, which in time will be subject to a plan change to put the logistics zoning in place. The zoning at this time is proposed to be 'large lot residential'. Subdivision within the 'large lot residential' is identified as being a minimum of 2 ha."

The Proposed District Plan states "the area bounded by Percival and Ryburn Roads and the Waikato Expressway is identified on the structure plan for logistics, to ensure the utilisation of existing and future planned infrastructure. There are a number of existing dwellings within this area, and as the staging identifies that development won't be required until at least 2021 a Large Lot Residential Zone has been put in place to retain amenity provisions within this area until such time as a future plan change rezones the land for logistics.".

Mr Cowie says residents were never alerted to the proposed developments in the area by any local body authorities. When he wanted to erect a second, smaller dwelling on his property he conducted due diligence. Before applying for resource consent with Waikato District Council, which was granted in March 2010, he went to Hamilton City Council and looked at the long-term plan for the area.

"Not once were we told or warned this was going to occur. Waikato District Council knew something big was happening here. Council planners knew all along."

Hamilton News understands the Hamilton City Council, Tainui Group Holdings Ltd, Waikato District Council and Chedworth Park Ltd were party to the Ruakura Strategic Agreement which was considered by HCC in September 2009 in a meeting from which the public was excluded.

Percival Rd residents are also asking for a 40m wide green belt and a 4m high earthen bund to surround their properties. Ideally, however, they would prefer to be bought out at "fair market prices" as families look to move out of the area.

"If our land isn't needed for another 20 to 30 years we deserve some protective measures just as other residents get," said Mr Cowie. "We aren't asking for over the top compensation."

- Hamilton News

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