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Friday
Mar022012

1. Development Contributions Policy (3)

The details of the policy changes have finally emerged - they were kept secret until this afternoon, and I can now see why.

What was a firm and rigid policy for very good reason - developers knew where they stood, and the interests of all rate-payers were protected, is to be opened up like a can of beans.  It is of course the desire of developers to pay the absolute minimum contributions, and many an argument leading to expensive litigation is avoided if the policy is clear, and if you like, rigid.

The changes that are proposed are exactly what developers want - flexibility, and the loopholes that are to be opened under the new proposals are to be achieved by way of:

1. Introduction of a "special assessment for developments that have special features".

2. Introduction of a "private developer agreement where significant public benefit is identified".

3. Allowing Council to enter into a "private development agreement with the developer regarding the payment of reserve credits for the value of land vested in excess of the reserve contribution required".

Each one of the proposed changes is a developers dream. It will allow them to customise applications to slide around otherwise firm assessments. This has the immediate danger of setting Council up to being threatened with litigation unless  concessions are granted. The door will be opened for arbitrary assessment, and the potential for  corrupt behaviour will be well established before you can say "Jack Robinson" (sorry Jack!). It is exactly the situation that existed when Whitianga Waterways entered into its open ended arrangements with the Council in early 2000, and which have proved immensely costly to ratepayers as a result. 

These provisions appear almost custom built by and for developers, and one need not dwell too long to understand from whence they originated. The need to "promote a prosperous economy" is the mantra behind the proposals, and we know who repeats that ad nauseum. Leach repeatedly used the expression "site specific" to describe what he is aiming at. What on earth that means one can only speculate, but I suspect what it really means is that every developer from now on gets his/her own deal depending on his/her requirements.

It is extremely important that anyone with any understanding of development contribution provisions of other councils, and of the ways and means by which developers undertake their relationship with councils make a submission on these proposals.

Consultation was made concurrent with the TYP on Wednesday with the introduction by the Chief Executive of a late amendment to the motion adopting the "Special Consultative Procedure - Section 83 and 87 of the LGA. This alone should raise alarm bells.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Mana from Heaven for developers - what a fantastic deal they got by supporting Leach - a rewrite of the DCP --
these changes MAY encourage developement BUT it will be at a cost to ratepayers.
Central Government put in place the legislation that allowed Councils to charge developers some of the cost for existing infrastructure and for future infrastructure- so that subdivisions/property developement were not a financial burden on existing and future ratepayers. One decision Council made, was money not land for reserves - Council could then decide where it wanted a reserve not the useless piece of land that wasn't suitable as a section that the developers wanted to foist on to us- reserve credits caused complcations in a large subdivision on the Eastern seaboard- just keeping track of them was and will be a major costly exercise.
Words like 'special features' and significant public benefit' will need clear definitions as to exactly what they mean- and interpretation on each application will be fraught with difficulty - especially if each Board area becomes the arbitrator of what they think it means and what they think they need as reserve area.
Concern must also be expressed about the fact that in the current round of 'downsizing' - the team involved with policing consents/convenant/reserve areas has all but disappeared from Council despite the fact they have been understaffed and under budgetted for years and most convented areas are not monitored and developers know that and push the boundaries to the max -[currently approximately less than 40% of convented areas are complying with the conditions imposed or have been inspected in the past 5 years]
The Council by it's action has signalled the Coromandel Peninsula is up for sale -and the rules about developement have been watered down - so come one come all -and, if this nonsense is passed developers should at least have the decency to name a street 'Leach's Way' in each new subdivision!!!!

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSand dune

Having been slammed with unexpected and very expensive Development & Reserves Contribution levies when I erected a dwelling on the Te Puru Holiday Park a couple of years ago, I shall be interested to learn if the same levies are applicable to to those people who have since, and are currently, erecting similar dwellings here?? And if not, why not. Perhaps we were simply targeted by Council when we made the dreadful mistake of moving into the TDC domain. AQnd perhaps the levioes paid by us ' without prejudice' will be refunded in the event they have since been, without any apparent reason, deemed unnecessary?

March 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Jones

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