5 Dec 2012

Luxury hotel plan is illegal land use, opponent says

10:56 pm on 5 December 2012

A hearing panel has been told a proposed 28-storey hotel for Dunedin's waterfront would be an illegal use of an industrial zone.

Opponents of the controversial $100 million hotel and apartment project at Steamer Basin have begun giving evidence on the third day of resource consent hearings.

John Hardie, a lawyer hired by a major waterfront landowner to fight the project, John Hardie, told the panel on Wednesday the legal test in the Resource Management Act is in two parts, and the building fails both.

Mr Hardie says the rules in Dunedin City Council's district plan designate the site an industrial zone and specifically exclude any non-industrial use.

He says the other legal test is that the effects of the project must be more than minor, and there is no way that can be true for a 28-storey hotel.

Mr Hardie told the panel however good the benefits for the South Island city, the project has to be rejected because it would be illegal to approve it.

Meanwhile, an urban planning expert from Auckland told the hearing the planned hotel is too big for the site.

Clinton Bird said the building would damage the harbourside and city with its look, height and bulk, and possible wind effects.

"I'm not opposed to tall buildings, and nor am I opposed to tall modern buildings. The issue is, you've got to put them in the right place - and I don't believe this is the right place in Dunedin."

Mr Bird says Dunedin's cityscape rises gently with its hills and a 28-storey building would stand out badly.