A proposed 17-lot Tarras housing subdivision is a farm park concept similar, but smaller in scale, to those operating at Hillend Station in Wanaka and Bendemeer in Queenstown, owner Lloyd Morris says.

Mr Morris is the Auckland-based director of Douglas Developments Ltd, which has applied for development consent for about 132ha of farm land in Jolly Rd, about 1.6km northwest of Tarras.

The land is owned by Bells Lane Holdings Ltd.

Submissions on the notified consent application closed on November 19.

A Central Otago District Council communications spokeswoman said a hearing would begin on February 8.

It is understood seven submissions have been received opposing yet been made available to the media.

One site would be just over 5503sq m, in accordance with a previously granted consent; 15 sites would range between 1753sqm and 1914sqm; and the balance would be a 130ha farm jointly owned by the lot owners.

In an interview with the Otago Daily Times Mr Morris said the Central Otago district plan standard lot size in the rural general zone was 8ha, so it was possible to get 16 houses on 132ha under a conventional subdivision style.

But after consulting interested potential buyers, he decided to co-locate the 16 houses together on smaller lots on the highest of three farm terraces, which is planted with lucerne at present, he said.

A single farm operating productively with shared infrastructure was considered a more favourable use of existing resources, Mr Morris said.

There would be no earthworks scarring, productive soils would be retained and there would be a lighter environmental footprint than a conventional 16-lot lifestyle subdivision, he said.

“We didn’t want to lose that farm. It didn’t make sense to us.”

The terrace is not irrigated.

Any adverse visual effects would be reduced by clustering, setting the houses back from the edges, keeping the houses to single stories, limiting chimney heights to 7.5m and screen planting, Mr Morris said.

The existing double hedge line and shelterbelt would act as a screen and provide wind and shade protection. The houses would be “discreet and difficult to see,” he said.

There would be plenty of room for backyard activities such as landscaping or creating an orchard.

The terrace is above the northern end of Christchurch International Airport Ltd’s proposed airport runway.

Mr Morris confirmed he intended to live on the property and obtained consent for an airstrip there earlier this year to land his own aircraft.

Tarras was a well-known aviation reporting point from the Lindis Pass into the Central Otago region, he said.

Agricultural topdressing, helicopter frost control and personal air transport were quite common in the area, he said.

He believed his airstrip and the “fairly contentious” proposed new Tarras airport could not co-exist, Mr Morris said.

“People have strong views and it is polarising. A strong, robust business and environment argument for the new airport has yet to be made.”

Mr Morris has applied for a 10-year consent period and a staging condition.

Each lot owner must apply for consent for their building platform, giving the council a chance to address the effects of specific development.