Some land-zoning decisions to be reviewed

About 550 Christchurch homeowners unhappy with decisions made on their land will have their zones reviewed.

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The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) today said it had introduced a review process for insured residential property owners who wanted to query their land zoning.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said about 550 people had contacted Cera in the past year to seek a review of their zone status.

Most were in the green zone and wanted to be zoned red, while 80 were red-zoned homeowners wanting to be zoned green.

Zoning of flat land in the greater Christchurch area began last June and was completed last month.

About 7253 properties were zoned red, meaning they were unsuitable for residential occupation because of significant quake damage.

Another 180,000 properties were zoned green, meaning they were suitable for residential occupation.

Brownlee said the advisory group was made up of three Cera officials with expertise in public policy, law and geotechnical engineering.

An independent member, Keith Turner, has also been appointed. Turner is chairman of Fisher & Paykel Appliances.

The advisory group will assess whether zoning changes were appropriate by considering a variety of scenarios, including whether the original zoning was inconsistent with Cabinet classifications or if there were boundary anomalies.

Flat-land property owners wanting to query their zoning have until June 30 to make an application to Cera for a review.

The deadline for the advisory group to complete its review and report back to homeowners is July 30.

A similar review structure will be available for Port Hills residents after their zoning process, which was due to be completed by the end of the month.

More properties included in residential red zone

A handful of properties that were being built when the February 2011 earthquake hit have been included in the residential red zone.

Brownlee today announced the extension of the residential red zone offer to include residential properties that were under construction at the time of the quake, and a small number of not-for-profit non-residential buildings.

The extension would help the 17 residential owners to "get on with their lives following the hardship caused by the earthquakes", he said.

The properties had building works insurance but were unable to get land insurance at the time of the quake, so did not fit the initial criteria of the Crown offer.

Brownlee said most of these homes were completed, or nearly completed, and their owners were essentially in the same boat as their red-zoned neighbours.

"Having reviewed the criteria, it's appropriate that we've reached this outcome," he said.

Seven non-residential properties owned by not-for-profit organisations in the residential red zone are also covered by the extension.

The organisations were able to insure their buildings, but being non-residential meant they could not insure their land.

"Being insured meant these groups did everything they could to protect their interests in the event of a disaster. The zoning decisions will have serious implications for them, given the disruption to their services and activities,'' Brownlee said.

"Extending the offer means they will have certainty to relocate and play important roles in the recovery of the community."

The owners of all of the properties now eligible for the red-zone offer have until next April 30 to settle their sale to the Crown.

The Crown has so far paid out $762 million in red-zone settlements.

The Press