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Residents share growth plan concerns with Carterton council

Carterton landowners are providing feedback on the council’s eastern growth plan. PHOTO/GRACE PRIOR

Carterton residents are worried they will be charged residential rates for their rural pieces of paradise, forcing them to subdivide and fulfil the council’s growth strategy.

About 20 residents of Carterton’s east side attended a council-initiated community meeting on Wednesday night after being invited to give their feedback on the council’s Eastern Growth Area Structure Plan.

It is projected the urban area of Carterton would need to accommodate about 1000 new houses from now to 2043, and the plan aims to encourage development in a sustainable and thought-out way.

The plan extends from Park Rd to Moreton Rd and includes the southern area where Premier Beehive is.

Carterton District Council [CDC] wants to identify the area for future development in the Wairarapa Combined District Plan to better enable landowners to subdivide into a range of section sizes.

There is a possibility the council would also lodge a formal structure plan change under the Resource Management Act, which would result in the rural area being rezoned as residential.

No timeframe or certainty was given on this aspect as the plan is still in its early stages, but the rates impact concerned some residents.

Because residential rates are more expensive than rural rates, some landowners were worried they would be forced to subdivide to continue to afford to live or farm in the area.

Carterton District Council planning and regulatory manager Solitaire Robertson said the council could not force people to develop or sell their land and that the success of the plan was dependent on feedback from landowners.

A survey is running until Monday to collate landowners’ thoughts.

“If people have land here and are bitterly opposed to it, we want to know about it,” Robertson said.

“Your views are important.”

Equally, the council was interested to hear from affected landowners who wanted to subdivide.

At the meeting, concerns were centred around road safety if housing was intensified, and rates.

“When you do the rezoning, you’ll charge residential rates, which would be totally prohibitive to farming, basically forcing people by stealth to sell,” one resident said.

Another resident echoed the concern.

“If many people chose not to subdivide, it does sound loud and clear that if the process went through, we could be charged residential rates without any infrastructure. And that is a fairly large concern.”

The resident also acknowledged it was “quite obvious that the town needs to grow, and this is a logical place to go”.

She wanted the council to value landowner feedback and “make sure we are all looked after and respected with the process”.

Council officers have agreed to undertake an analysis of different rating options and mechanisms to ascertain the options available and address ratepayers’ concerns.

Councillors Dale Williams and Jill Greathead were in attendance to hear from residents.

“What we’re trying to do is create something that is logical and doable for everyone,” Williams said.

“There are consequences positive and negative from development.

“We’re keen to hear from you; if this isn’t logical, then what is?” — NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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