Developers face new fees to build parks

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 12/05/2014

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Developers in New Plymouth could soon be faced with thousands of dollars of extra fees that will be offset onto land buyers.

The New Plymouth District Council is proposing a District Plan change that would see developers of new areas pay specifically for a park, reserve, playground or sports field in the vicinity.

The fee will be based on how much the reserve land in the area cost. One reserve is already estimated to cost $3.82 million.

Rural land between Wills Rd and Airport Dr, dubbed "Area Q", has been rezoned into a residential area.

The council estimates the purchase and development of an open space will cost $3.82m.

Area Q has the capacity for 1000 dwellings and council documents say the extra $3.82m is very likely to be offset onto land buyers at around $3830 per allotment.

Council's senior policy adviser Juliet Johnson said those who had already built in Area Q would not have to pay any extra.

However, if financial contributions for open space in growth areas was not put in place then it could cost ratepayers in the future.

"We haven't had to deal with this scale of development before, but if we didn't put these charges in then the other option would be rates," she said.

"Because we are rezoning additional larger areas for development we are needing to ensure there are additional open spaces. The developer pays for that open space because they have created the need for it."

A report to council on the issue said general rates were not the appropriate way to fund growth related development.

The report said the new fees would mean there were increased financial costs placed on development and those costs were very likely to be offset to the buyer.

Developers already make a contribution towards water, sewerage, stormwater and roading as well as paying a community facilities fee.

Johnson did not believe the added fee would stop developers from investing in growth areas of the district. "Effectively the change will be positive for developers in that it will ensure we are creating space that people in the area will want to use."

In the past many of the parks and reserves were developed as the city developed, with the funding coming from the council.

The 1998 District Plan did not allow for any areas of new growth and instead the council set up the community facilities fee for all new residential developments.

That fee, which is on hold, was used to enhance the council's existing parks and reserves.

Now that there were growth areas, new parks, playgrounds and sports fields needed to be developed, Johnson said.

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The open space base fee will be taken at the time of subdivision or building consent. If it is not taken at the time of subdivision then it will taken at the time of building.

The proposal is out for public consultation and submissions close in Monday, May 19. If the District Plan change goes through the changes could be in place by the end of the year.

- Taranaki Daily News

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