Ratepayers to receive new flood-related data

DANIEL ADAMS
Last updated 05:00 10/11/2012

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City property owners concerned about new flood hazard mapping will need to wait for the detail to assess any impact on their values, say experts.

Hamilton City Council will next week tell 6700 ratepayers that new analysis of the impact of a 1-in-100 year flood have implicated their properties.

The data adds the impact of a huge rainfall event to its knowledge about the reach and effects of river flooding and blocked stormwater culverts.

Land information memorandum (LIMs) will tag the properties as subject to some level of flood hazard and advise applicants to seek expert advice.

The council expects its identification of flood hazards to become more definitive over the next decade, and is obliged to disclose the new data.

Valuers Telfer Young chairman Doug Saunders said the impact on values was difficult to determine until the detailed assessments are released.

"That's the six million dollar question," Mr Saunders said.

"If they're identifying low areas in the city that could flood when stormwater can't cope, if that's on LIMs, people would naturally be cautious, and that could lead to an effect on value.

"This one-in-a-hundred-year concept is almost ‘out of sight, out of mind', but these documents will bring it to people's attention, and some will react strongly to it, while for others everything they like about a property will override any concerns that they have about flooding," he said.

TSB Bank Hamilton branch manager Sandra Streak said while the bank would "obviously have to look at it", there was not yet enough detail to say whether the assessments will influence its mortgage lending decisions.

The assessments are for potential flooding from rising waterways, and for a significant proportion, rainfall flowing or ponding in localised low points.

Letters being sent next week will advise property owners to contact their insurers to discuss any impact on premiums or insurance cover, with many policies requiring the holders to advise of any new hazard information.

They also state council "cannot make any comment about what the affect on property values may be".

"We are required to make flood-related data publicly available, especially if someone is looking to buy in the area."

Revenue manager John Gibson said the assessments would not be grounds for ratepayers to challenge the just-released triennial property revaluation.

"Council's new flood modelling has not been taken into account in the recent property revaluations . . . the valuations, which are as at September 1, are a reflection of the sales and market evidence leading up to that date."

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- Waikato Times

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