A resource consent sought by Te Mata Mushroom Company could have been heard a year ago, the lawyer for the company has said.
The mushroom company is seeking to produce up to 70 tonnes of mushrooms and up to 350 tonnes of compost per week, and has lodged two resource consents, one with Hawke's Bay Regional Council and one with Hastings District Council.
The hearing started on Wednesday, with applicant evidence being heard by independent commissioners Bill Wasley, Louise Wickham and Paul Cooney.
Lawyer Lara Blomfield said the resource consent would have been put before the commissioners a year ago, had the regional council not prosecuted the company in 2015 for odour discharges.
She said it was a misconception the company was only seeking resource consent after an enforcement order from HBRC. It had been something they were working on with co-operation of the regional council until June 12, 2015, when they received a letter advising of the prosecution.
She said the mushroom company has been operating on its Brookvale Rd site since 1967, and in that time, residential development had moved closer to the farm.
"As resident development moved closer to the farm's boundary there was a noticeable increase in the number of complaints received about the odour from the company's operation.
"This is a factor which, in fairness, you must have regard to when considering the applications before you."
She said that since the increase in the number of complaints, the company has checked all aspects of its operations for "fugitive emissions", and investigated and implemented ways to mitigate odour.
This had included a $100,000 effluent storage and treatment pond and aerator, mixing chicken litter and gypsum off-site which annually costs $52,000 and closing down its retail composting operation at a cost of more than $60,000.
The hearing is in regards to two resource consent applications, one to the regional council to discharge to air, and one to Hastings District Council for a new land use consent.
Both Hastings District Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council will have the opportunity to present to the commissioners on Thursday and Friday.
It is not yet clear when a decision will be reached on the resource consent.