The proposed new development Mt Iron Junction has been given the green light to go ahead with the granting of consent by the Environment Court.
Mt Iron Junction is a mixed-use development on 6ha of land at the base of Mt Iron bordered by State Highways 6 and 84.
Mt Iron Junction Ltd, backed by Steve Schikker and Peter Green, applied to Queenstown Lakes District Council for resource consent for the development in November 2018. Consent was initially declined by a panel of three commissioners. Their summation was that although the development plan was solutions-based, it was outside the scope of the underlying zone of rural general.
A compromise was reached in late 2020. The amended plan was submitted to the Environment Court and signed off on Monday.
The amended plan consisted of a service station, a dedicated workers’ accommodation village and 13 two- and three- bedroomed terrace houses.
Mt Iron Junction Ltd was disappointed that the motel, childcare centre, mini-golf course and retail area,which were part of the original application, were not included, Schikker said.
“We weren’t granted consent for the other components because the overall zoning is rural-general and they (the Environment Court) struggled with the density of the development,” he said.
“So we had to take out components in the plan and move things around so there was more space and do a lot more landscaping.
“If the land was rezoned mixed-use then we wouldn’t have had this issue.
“Also the Council didn’t want to see another retail area in town when there are retail areas planned for Three Parks and Northlake and the town CBD.”
The process has been a “roller-coaster ride,” he said.
The initial highs of purchasing the land, getting high-level support for the mixed-use development and receiving overwhelming local support through the submission process, were counterbalanced by the lows of being declined consent, the huge financial costs of five years of consultation and the challenges of navigating the RMA.
According to the consent we can’t carry on until we get access so the next move is to get this through the new roundabout, he said.
“So Transit has had meetings and has said our development will bring forward the roundabout by three or four years and they have put it in the 2021-22 budget.
“There has already been geo-testing done out there and surveying.
“What we are hoping is that Transit will move forward quite quickly with their roundabout plan, and from there we would like to put the service station in first.
“Then the worker accommodation will follow.”
Read edition 1023 of the Wānaka Sun here.