Quick de­ci­sion on route

Coun­cil needs clar­ity on Ex­press­way route for large sub­di­vi­sion mas­ter plan

Horowhenua Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - By JANINE BAALBERGEN

‘ Coun­cil of­fi­cers will work with NZTA to in­cor­po­rate a pre­ferred route for the mo­tor­way to pro­vide de­vel­op­ers and new home buy­ers with con­fi­dence.’ — Cr Bernie Wan­den

Faster than ex­pected growth is forc­ing Horowhenua District Coun­cil’s hand in more ways than one.

On Wed­nes­day it an­nounced a mas­ter plan for the largest sub­di­vi­sion in decades to the east of Levin, which could be in the path of any Ex­press­way. Coun­cil has asked NZTA for a quick de­ci­sion on the Ex­press­way route.

The pro­posed de­vel­op­ment is in an area known as Glad­stone Green and has space for 2000 houses, to be build in the next 20 years.

The coun­cil says for this to work a de­ci­sion needs to be made soon about the pre­ferred route for the Ex­press­way. De­lay on an ex­press­way de­ci­sion isn’t go­ing to stop growth as the mo­tor­way out of Welling­ton to Otaki will bring more peo­ple to the re­gion.

Horowhenua District Coun­cil has writ­ten to NZTA ad­vis­ing it of its plans for Glad­stone Green and has called on it to pro­vide clear time­frames for the reeval­u­a­tion process and ex­pe­dite a de­ci­sion on the pre­ferred route of O2NL.

“Coun­cil of­fi­cers will work with NZTA to in­cor­po­rate a pre­ferred route for the mo­tor­way to pro­vide de­vel­op­ers and new home buy­ers with con­fi­dence,” said Cr Bernie Wan­den.

Glad­stone Green is next to SH57 and bor­ders Queen Street to the north and Tararua Rd to the south, an area to­tal­ing 278ha.

The area has in the past been iden­ti­fied for po­ten­tial growth but re­cent plans for smaller sub­di­vi­sions from sev­eral landown­ers for dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the area have prompted for­ma­tion of a mas­ter plan.

Horowhenua Growth Man­ager Daniel Haigh said coun­cil re­alised sep­a­rate de­vel­op­ments could lead to poor con­nec­tions into Levin and could lead to mul­ti­ply un­con­nected culde-sacs.

“Landown­ers have agreed to work with us on a mas­ter plan,” said Haigh. The mas­ter plan in­cludes res­i­den­tial and mixe­duse prop­er­ties.

“It is es­sen­tially a con­cep­tual lay­out to guide fu­ture growth. It will in­clude re­serves and parks, a small re­tail and busi­ness area and po­ten­tial land for a new school.

“It will also help iden­tify the level of in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment that will be re­quired.”

The lo­ca­tion of this sub­di­vi­sion will al­low for easy ac­cess to ex­ist­ing sewage and wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture that has the ca­pac­ity to cope with the de­vel­op­ment, though up­grades will be re­quired.

Coun­cil is dis­cussing the mas­ter plan with lo­cal landown­ers and will take it to the wider com­mu­nity next month.

The Strat­egy Com­mit­tee also

dis­cussed plans to rein­tro­duce de­vel­op­ment and fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions, as in­di­cated in De­cem­ber last year.

“This is to show we have started the dis­cus­sion and are look­ing at how to fund growth,” said CEO David Clap­per­ton, though he said de­vel­op­ment and fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions are just two of sev­eral op­tions to fund growth.

Cr Barry Judd said that in the past many coun­cils got this leg­is­la­tion wrong.

“We need clar­ity first on this, on what we can and can­not do.

“The per­cep­tion that de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions are a tax of right on de­vel­op­ers is wrong.

“The ba­sic prin­ci­ples be­hind the leg­is­la­tion must be cleared up first,” he said.

“Many de­vel­op­ers are not sub­ject to de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions. We must know what we can and can­not do.

“Rules need to be easy to un­der­stand for ev­ery­one in­clud­ing the com­mu­nity. De­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions are not a tax as of right,” Judd said.

Sub­di­vi­sions do not au­to­mat­i­cally re­quire de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions.

Ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture on site that can cope with growth means de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions can­not be charged.

“We need to fully un­der­stand im­pli­ca­tions,” Cr Ross Bran­ni­gan said.

“There are many myths out there about de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions.

“They are nei­ther sim­ple nor a sil­ver bul­let. We need to un­der­stand the reg­u­la­tion first and then build­ing some­thing around it.

“We do not want to stymie growth again,” Cr Neville Gim­blett said.

“It is im­por­tant to get this right.” “This is very chal­leng­ing,” David Clap­per­ton said.

“We first need to know where the growth will be and then what the cost of any new in­fra­struc­ture would be, if any is needed. Then we can de­cide the level of de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions.”

De­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions en­able coun­cils to re­cover the costs of pro­vid­ing in­fra­struc­ture for growth ar­eas. The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act 2002 re­quires coun­cils to have a pol­icy on de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions, and to re­view that pol­icy ev­ery three years.

“Es­sen­tially, de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions ap­plied to any change of land use that would gen­er­ate more de­mand on in­fra­struc­ture,” he said.

“That in­cluded in­fill hous­ing on ex­ist­ing sec­tions by res­i­dents who would not think of them­selves as ‘de­vel­op­ers’, as well as new multi-home sub­di­vi­sions,” Clap­per­ton said.

He said Horowhenua District Coun­cil re­moved de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions in 2015, af­ter feed­back that the con­tri­bu­tions were a dis­in­cen­tive to busi­ness and new res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment.

“At the time, the district had low pop­u­la­tion growth, av­er­age eco­nomic growth, be­low av­er­age em­ploy­ment growth, and a fairly flat prop­erty mar­ket.

“De­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions could be the tip­ping point in a de­ci­sion whether or not to in­vest.”

He said there are strong rea­sons both for and against charg­ing de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions, and there is no right or wrong stance to take.

*Deputy Mayor Wayne Bishop de­clared a con­flict of in­ter­est in re­la­tion to the de­vel­op­ment con­tri­bu­tions at the start of the meet­ing and stepped back from the coun­cil ta­ble when the topic was dis­cussed. He took no part in the dis­cus­sion at any time.

Mayor Michael Feyen and Cr Vic­to­ria Kaye-Sim­mons had sent their apolo­gies and were not at the meet­ing.

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