Council tweaks development policy
No ‘‘fundamental changes’’ have been made to Matamata- Piako District Council’s development contributions policy, which has faced two high profile recent challenges.
Development contributions are levies for council-funded infrastructure required as a result of growth in development and new homes.
The council recently approved a draft policy to go to Audit New Zealand alongside its draft Long Term Plan (LTP).
officer Jenni Cochrane said the policy has been reviewed to ensure it aligns with the latest growth projects and the draft LTP.
The revised draft policy includes no fundamental changes, she said. ‘‘We are proposing to continue charging development contributions so developers pay their share of the infrastructure costs caused by their developments.’’
However, the council is proposing charging for roading contributions on a ward basis instead of across the whole district.
It is also looking at adding a ‘‘ special assessment process’’ which allows the council to consider an effects-based approach to assessing district contributions where a development clearly does not fall within categories established.
‘‘We have recognised intensive farming, warehouses and coolstores as developments that may be eligible for this process,’’ said Cochrane.
‘‘We believe that the changes being proposed to the policy will help make the process clearer and easier for developers and address some of the issues we have had with a very small number of development contributions, while still ensuring developers are paying for their share of growth.’’
The council canvassed the community on the matter, receiving more than 800 submissions.
Feedback showed a ‘‘very strong preference’’ for developers paying the cost of growth,’’ council said.
‘‘Very few submitters supported ratepayers paying the cost of growth or sharing the costs.’’
This year the council overturned an assessment which saw an Elstow farmer building two chicken sheds on a 2 kilometre road with three houses face a $50,000 roading development contribution.
Bernie McDavitt, outlaying about $2 million on free range poultry broiler sheds at his Clothier Rd property, spent more than $2000 on a consultant’s report which ultimately saw the council account reduced from $49,346.03 to $1694.50.
The report said the ‘‘large discrepancy’’ came from council calculations which corresponded with the two new sheds alone generating 17 times more traffic than the whole operation.
Also this year, chicken processor Inghams Enterprises objected to a $5400 roading contribution.