Morrison and Eagle want city-wide review of Encroachment Fee
8 October 2013
For Immediate Release Morrison and
Eagle want city-wide review of Encroachment Fees
Morrison and Eagle want city-wide review of Encroachment Fees
A call for a city-wide review of road reserves and encroachment licences has been sparked by 19 Adelaide Road property owners who are embroiled in a dispute with council officers over their front fence boundary line.
John Morrison Mayoral Candidate and Paul Eagle Labour candidate for the Southern Ward said the Adelaide Road situation highlighted the ludicrous situation of overzealous council officers discovering an old map of Wellington with a line marked inside the owners’ fence lines.
Paul Eagle said in 2011 council officers had informed the Adelaide Road property owners they would have to apply for a licence and pay administration fees of more than $400 including GST for land they had fenced, gardened or paved for 90 years.
The residents joined forces, held a public meeting and hired a lawyer to research the situation and it appeared the council had backed off.
But in June this year the Adelaide Road residents were sent letters and invoices for the disputed encroachments. Then a week later, after another barrage of criticism the council did another U-turn and sent another batch of letters saying they didn’t have to pay after all.
In the case of the Adelaide Road dispute, Morrison and Eagle said the administration costs and subsequent bad PR for the council, would probably have offset any additional fees that could be garnered through encroachment licences for many years to come.
Morrison said this demonstrated time-wasting incompetence that failed to recognise or comprehend the service element that should go hand in hand with council’s relationship with its ratepayers.
“This is a septic situation right on the current Mayor’s back doorstep and she has failed to do anything about,” Morrison said. “It is another item on a growing list of things that I will attend to if I become Mayor on Saturday.”
The boundary lines have always been the roadside fence lines along Adelaide Road and an encroachment had never been recorded over the property titles. Property owner Kim Dewhurst said there was an order in council rescinding the rediscovered and disputed boundary and this provided clear evidence that council officers were wrong.
These officers have been harassing residents to sign over their property rights. They had been coming through her front gate and onto her land taking photographs and telling her they could say and do what they liked, Ms Dewhurst said.
“They won’t listen. They say the matter has been dealt with…end of story.”
Morrison said by the time administration is taken into account, the net proceeds to council were usually pretty negligible.
“Why not sell land (where it is redundant road reserve) for a nominal amount, and let the extra land value add an additional small component to the rates. That way everyone wins,” Morrison said.
On a wider front Morrison said the Adelaide Road row highlighted the need to see whether there was any logic to council charging 6000 Wellingtonians $11.97 a square metre for road reserve land that is not required for roading. In many cases the land was maintained by local residents, which represented a saving for council.
Morrison said another area that should be reviewed is an alleged case of air space encroachment double dipping for small decks on an apartment block in Dixon Street, which completely defied common sense.
“I just wish the council officers were as inventive at finding solutions that helped people, instead of hindering and harassing them,” he said. “We’ve got to turn this attitude around on council and live up to the new mantra of being open for business.”