Winery and council in secret settlement

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014

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A long-running dispute between Napier City Council and the owners of Mission Estate Winery has been settled out of court - but ratepayers will not be told what it has cost them.

The dispute, settled this month, began in 2006 when the council used the Public Works Act to take 1.5 hectares from the winery to realign Puketitiri Rd. A valuer employed by the council, Mike Penrose, put the land's value at $168,000.

The council offered that sum to winery owner Marist Holdings (Greenmeadows), which disputed the estimation and obtained an independent valuation of $320,000.

In a second valuation by Penrose, in 2009, he said the realignment meant a 50ha block of Mission land identified for potential subdivision had increased in value by $2.95 million, from $14.8m to $17.7m.

The council claimed the new road meant the winery's owners would be able to subdivide the land. It withdrew its original offer and said it would not pay anything to the winery.

A Land Valuation Tribunal ruling in 2010 went Marist Holdings' way, with the value of compensation assessed at $306,000.

The council appealed to the High Court, and in 2012 the court ruled that the matter should be reheard and advised both parties to engage new valuers. The parties met this month and agreed to settle the matter out of court.

Council chief executive officer Wayne Jack would not divulge the amount paid as settlement, but said it was "reflective of the valuation of the land". He said the council's legal costs since 2006 had been $135,929, exclusive of GST.

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- The Dominion Post

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