High Court Rejects Appeal on Waimauku Development
High Court Rejects Appeal on Waimauku
The High Court has rejected an appeal seeking to overturn a Rodney District Council decision, confirmed by the Environment Court last year, to reject a private plan change request to provide for a residential and business development at Waimauku.
The decision follows a ruling by the Environment Court in August 2009 in support of Rodney District Council’s decision to reject the plan change request.
The private plan change was originally lodged in December 2007 by Cornerstone Group. Their proposal was to develop a residential and business area on rural land northwest of Waimauku which would accommodate 1,375 properties and house 3,000 people. Waimauku currently has a population of 930.
The Council rejected the private plan change request in September 2008. The land was subsequently sold to the Malory Corporation who wanted to progress the proposal. The Malory Corporation appealed this decision to the Environment Court and, when this court ruled in the Council's favour, subsequently appealed the decision to the High Court on five points of law.
The High Court released a decision this month which rejected the appeal by the Malory Corporation and upheld the decision by both the Environment Court and Rodney District Council to reject the private plan change request.
Rodney District Council declined the developer’s application on the grounds that the proposal was inconsistent with a Structure Plan it had recently adopted for Waimauku which limited growth in the area. Through the Structure Plan consultation Waimauku residents expressed a preference to limit growth and retain the town’s rural character. The community also voiced strong opposition to the Cornerstone development option which was included as one of the proposals for Waimauku's future. The Environment Court noted that the consultation process used to develop the Structure Plan had been “broad, public and participatory.”
The Environment Court found that the developer’s plan change request was not in accordance with sound resource management principles and that the Council was justified in rejecting the application on the grounds that it had already considered the development of this area as part of the Structure Plan process.