An artist’s impression of the proposed retirement community, The Orchards, in Greytown. IMAGE/FILE

MARCUS ANSELM
marcus.anselm@age.co.nz

Claims of a million-dollar discount being given to a Greytown development has been disputed by South Wairarapa District Council.

Letters to the Times-Age and submissions to council have asked questions of SWDC’s leniency towards The Orchards retirement village.

Changes to zoning recommended by an independent commissioner were rubber-stamped at the November council meeting.

One point of contention was the council’s waiving of a reserves contribution. SWDC has disputed claims that the amount totalled seven figures.

Harry Wilson, SWDC chief executive, said the amount being waived was a fraction of that quoted by critics, closer to $247,500.

Wilson said SWDC agreed to set aside the reserves contribution component of the fee given the applicant’s agreement to provide open green space, walk areas, and grounds for public use.

“This decision by council was consistent with the commissioner’s recommendation and decision.

“It’s disappointing when people don’t check the facts with us before taking it upon themselves to misinform the public.”

The council figure comes from district plan rules. These allow SWDC to charge developers a reserves contribution of 0.25 per cent of the total value of the subdivided land in rural zones.

It can waive the fee if certain criteria are met, including that the activity “enhances an existing reserve or the open space of the locality”.