A bid to subdivide the former Icepak Coolstores site into a precedent setting number of residential blocks has been declined.
In a decision released yesterday, Waikato District Council Hearing Commissioner David Hill said the application to subdivide the 2.1ha block into six lots, all less than the 5,000 square metres provided in the district plan, could not be justified.
The application, which came almost 10 years after the Devine Rd site was razed by an explosion and fire that killed a fireman, was made by former Icepak managing director Wayne Grattan.
The Icepak company was sold to Halls Group, a refrigeration transport company, in February 2016 but Grattan bought back the site in June that year for $865,000 when Halls put it up for auction.
Grattan told the commissioner at the hearing last December that the gambit for an extra two lots off the site was partly motivated by an estimated $250,000 bill to clear it of the large concrete foundations left behind by the razed coolstores.
The 5000sq m section size in the Tamahere Country Living Zone has been in place for 20 years.
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Grattan told the hearing that a four-lot subdivision was commercially viable but the commissioner noted that “clearly, however, the project’s commercial viability increases proportionately with the number of allotments.”
But as the project could viably go ahead with fewer lots, Commissioner Hill said he was “not inclined to attach too much weight to the prospect that without a 6-lot subdivision the site is likely to remain undeveloped for another substantial period of time.”
The application was not unique and because of that was likely to lead to other subdivision applications for lots of less than 5000sq m, Hill said.
The proposed six lots ranged in size from 2898sq m to 3907sq m.
Three submissions – all in opposition – were made to the application with two neighbouring submitters, Arnold Koppens and Gail Jones also speaking about their concerns at the hearing.
As the tenth anniversary of the fatal, 2008 fire draws closer, on April 5, it now remains to be seen how much longer the site will remain derelict, claimed only by the occasional skateboarder and passing motorhome driver.
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