Land buy an 'insult'
Angry residents forced to sell parts of their properties to make way for a road in Te Atatu are offered sums they say are far short of the true value.
Auckland Transport has started sending people along Te Atatu and Edmonton roads offers to buy property frontages so it can do a road widening project worth $24.8 million.
About 100 owners will be forced to sell at least part of their sections and one property will need to be bought outright.
A 2.88 metre strip on each side of Te Atatu Rd was in 1986 designated for future road widening and in some cases the designation will have to be extended.
Accountant and immigration adviser Coral Wong has a business on Te Atatu Rd and says the $12,000 offer for 38.73sqm at the front of her section is about half what the land is worth.
Ms Wong says based on the size of the land as a percentage of her total property size she should receive about $24,000 using capital value.
Auckland Transport says Ms Wong's property value will drop by $12,000 after the purchase.
She says: "I came to this with an open mind. As long as they give me a fair price I don't mind selling the land. The offer I got was quite insulting.
"We are trying to get our own valuations done which the council has said they will reimburse us for as long as the price is `reasonable'. We are struggling to get an answer on what is reasonable."Te Atatu Rd resident Anne Langford has also been offered $12,000 despite Auckland Transport wanting to buy 52sqm of her property.
Ms Langford is concerned that adding another set of traffic lights, a cycle lane and a median strip will not do enough to ease the congestion on one of Auckland's busiest roads.
"Currently 38,000 cars travel on that road each day. It seems logical that widening the road but not adding any more lanes would not do anything to make it flow better," she says.
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says property owners can get their own valuations but it will only reimburse what it considers to be reasonable costs.
"The term reasonable costs is included in the Public Works Act to stop the potential for rogue professionals increasing their fees beyond what is reasonable," he says.
Te Atatu Property Owners Group spokesman Gary Osborne is concerned that if Auckland Transport takes more than the designated 2.88 metres the front lawns will be smaller than the 3 metres from the house that is the minimum allowed.
Under the principle of existing use rights there will be no breach in this case even if the section becomes smaller than current regulations allow, Mr Hannan says.
Some owners may be compensated further if land purchases stop them doing more work on their properties and extend their values.
Auckland Transport says the roading project aims to provide an integrated system that caters for all road users.
- Western Leader
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