Paper road in Lepperton sold for $14,000
A paper road in Lepperton that goes nowhere has been sold to a couple whose property almost surrounds the council land.
The issue was the subject of much debate at the New Plymouth District meeting on Tuesday.
The 1000sqm land is a 'paper' road that forms an enclave with the adjoining owner's property on Cross St, bordering it on three sides.
Former Wellington couple Keith Robinson and Charmaine Scott bought their property knowing about the unformed road, Robinson told the council. The land already has a garage on it built by the previous owners.
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"We use it to make tree trimmings into mulch. But we didn't want to use something that was not our own."
So, a year ago the couple approached the council about buying the land.
"We entered into the process with the council then the council declined. The council doesn't want the land and the valuation was agreed and we agreed to pay costs."
The sale was based on an independent registered market valuation of $14,000.
The couple admitted they might subdivide some of their property into two sections, so the council was speculating the land might be worth more in the future, he said.
"We wanted to do the right thing. Is the road surplus? Yes. Is the process to sell council policy? Yes. Is it fair to hold buyers who made an agreement in good faith to wait until price goes up? No."
Legally, because the couple owns the land adjoining the road, they are the only people who can buy the land.
The Waitara community board supported them and board member Jonathan Marshall said the land had been valued and peer reviewed twice.
The report to the council recommended the council not sell the road, but councillors disagreed with only Mayor Neil Holdom and Deputy Mayor Richard Jordan voting to stop the sale.
Councillor Harry Duynhoven said the couple made an offer according to the valuation, which was accepted so council was obligated to go ahead.
Councillor Marie Pearce said the couple were the only buyers for the property.
"This is a small piece of property. There is only one buyer, so this is the price."
Councillor Roy Weaver said $14,000 was the correct value.
"We've got ourselves into a cul-de-sac by the way we've dealt with this. We must find ways to do this better in the future."
Jordan said councillors were obligated to get the best value for their community.
"We're not under any obligation to sell. It's 1000sqm of land defined as rural land. The valuation was done on rural land. We might wait and sell it when it is something else. Please do not rush this."
Holdom said there were people in the district who were struggling to pay for milk and bread.
"The council has to act as a business and look after the district's wealth. This land has to be worth more."
Council's policy didn't say they had to take the first offer, he said.
"They are wonderful people and I'm not saying we don't want to sell this land. We can't sell it to anyone else. This 1000sqm of land has a pipeline down the middle of it, but sure as eggs are eggs it has to be worth more than $14,000."