Retirement village and residential development a possibility for city

A retirement village, residential development and an industrial area are among options being considered for a piece of Maori land on Rotorua's eastside after the landowners went to court to get it rezoned.

Consultant John Long from RCG said while details of potential developments for the land were still confidential, the zone changes were a big step towards them coming to fruition.

The land, next to Lumbercube and Lynmore Junction, is currently used for grazing and sits between Te Ngae Rd and Vaughan Rd.

It is owned by Owhatiura South 5 Inc and has been rezoned to Industrial 1 and Industrial 1E while some of the land stays residential.

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The decision was signed off by the Environment Court earlier this year following an appeal by land owners on the proposed Rotorua District Plan. The new zoning was reached after mediation and signed off by the court in January.

Mr Long said RCG was now working with the New Zealand Transport Agency to finalise a masterplan for the site, which has access to Te Ngae Rd, as well as looking for potential investors.

He said the changes allowed Owhatiura South 5 to retain ownership of the land, while making it profitable.

Some of the users could be major generators of employment. It will be win win.

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Mr Long said with the residential zoning they were looking at doing a comprehensive residential development in a way that was a bit more innovative than traditional subdivisions.

Mr Long said his Auckland-based company, which had been involved with developments in Rotorua including Rotorua Central, had been working with the land owners for several years.

"It has been a long time coming."

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He confirmed one of the scenarios being looked at was a retirement village, which he described as "very attractive".

Mr Long said he expected the owners would be in a position to make an announcement "very soon".

He described the zoning change as "very significant".

"It has repositioned the land so the development can be consistent with the trust's undertaking to its inter-generational stakeholders."

He said it allowed the owners to put leases in place and identify potential tenants.

Mr Long said the owners wanted to maintain its footprint and keep ownership of the land as it "represents their history".

"They want to hang on to what remains. The zoning allows that to happen."

Owhatiura South 5 Inc did not respond to a request for comment.

What the zones mean:

Industrial 1:

provides for a mix of light industrial activities including food processing, mechanical servicing, selling of farm machinery, car sale yards, building depots and lunch bars. Features include larger bulky buildings, high levels of noise, odour, signs and heavy vehicle and car movements and ability to store hazardous substances.

Industrial 1E: light industrial and commercial and activities. Wholesale and retail of bulk goods, heavy machinery etc don't require resource consent, and convenience retail, trade retails, supermarkets, drive through restaurants, medical centres, and outdoor recreation outlet stores do require consents, but requirements are not as prohibitive as the Industrial 1 zone.