Thursday, May 27, 2010
'Recreation and Leisure in Our Community: what could make life better in Drysdale & Clifton Springs?'
This is the topic of DCSCA's next Public Meeting, on Wednesday June 2 at 7.00 p.m. at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre, High Street, Drysdale; and this posting is a warm invitation to you to attend.
Is balancing leisure and life becoming a bit of a stretch?
We need to take time out from our busy lives and we know that staying active helps to keep us healthy. However, it's becoming harder to find open spaces for recreation, because urbanisation is replacing them. And while new housing developments often include parkland, this is often taken up with exercise equipment and barbecues. Adults and children certainly need more-or-less formal recreational facilities, such as sports fields, recreation/leisure centres and playgrounds; but we also need simple, open space in which to just ‘be’, rather than do anything active and specific. There is growing evidence that people’s well-being (especially children’s) is suffering because so much of the natural world is being ‘developed’ as urban spaces – including formal recreational facilities. Indeed, researchers have identified a condition known as ‘Nature Deficit Syndrome’ associated with lack of access to natural (non-urban) environments.
At the same time, recreation and leisure is now a major industry and it's becoming harder to find forms of recreation and leisure that don't involve spending money. If you have money to spare, this isn't a problem. But the less money you have, the harder it can be to have good times.
The meeting will feature some very different perspectives on recreation and leisure. We'll hear from Bill Williams and David Cornwell from the Clifton Springs Men's Shed; from Rob Evans and members of Youth Foundations Victoria; and we hope to have a speaker from Parks Victoria - we're just waiting for them to confirm.
The meeting will follow our usual format - three speakers, each given 10 minutes or so, then an open discussion, with a 'snap poll' on white boards for people to fill-in as they leave. DCSCA's public meetings this year have been lively, interesting events: about 100 people came to our first meeting (about shopping) and about 50 people to our last meeting (about transport). For each one, we've invited speakers who will introduce local people to perspectives on the topic that they may not have encountered before; and we hope that our meeting on June 2 will achieve the same success.
Monday, May 24, 2010
On May 24, DCSCA Secretary Patrick Hughes was invited to address a breakfast meeting of the SpringDale Business Network. The Network fosters communication between businesses in the broad area of Drysdale & Clifton Springs, focused on quarterly breakfast meetings that are addressed by a diversity of speakers.
Today's meeting heard briefly about Wesfarmers' insurance services and about Youth Foundations Victoria; and at greater length about the City of Greater Geelong's Economic Development Unit. DCSCA's presentation came towards the end of the event and was accompanied by a handout, an expanded version of which follows.
SpringDale Business Network Breakfast. 24 May 2010
'The Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association: What can it offer local businesses?'
1. Context: DCSCA's aims for 2010-2011
To make DCSCA more visible to local people
• We have a quarterly newsletter (online and in print), plus single-issue mail-outs
• We've significantly increased coverage of DCSCA in the local papers
• We've launched a DCSCA 'blog' - drycliftdays.blogspot.com
To make DCSCA more representative of the local population
• We've initiated quarterly meetings with each local CoGG Councillor
• We hold quarterly Public Meetings aimed at broad, diverse audiences
• We've contacted each local school around teaching civics and citizenship
• We've initiated associations with local youth organisations.
To embed DCSCA more widely in the local community
• We're a member of the Affiliation of Bellarine Community Associations (ABCA)
• We supported a grant application by the Men's Shed
• We're supporting a grant application by local youth organisations
• We're organising the Festival of Glass in February 2011 ('art, craft and industry').
2. What's on offer? Advocacy, Advice and Action
• The Bellarine Strategic Plan 2006-2016
- we initiated a review via ABCA, linked with a review of infrastructure needs.
• Amendments C103 and C194 to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme
- we made a written submission (see blog)
- we ran an information session about Planning Panels for people thinking of appearing before one
- we appeared before a state government Planning Panel (reports on blog).
• The 'Springs Street Community Plan'
- we made a written submission re C194 in collaboration with local residents (see blog)
- we assisted local residents to make written submissions and to appear before the Planning Panel
- we're advising local residents on conducting a survey & writing a report.
• The 'Special Charge' for the Central Road area
- we made a written submission in collaboration with local residents (see blog)
- we will appear before a CoGG Submissions Panel.
• The City of Greater Geelong's Consultation Policy
- we proposed initiating broad benchmarks and measures (see blog)
- no response, so we wrote a draft detailed policy.
3. The focus: CoGG's economic and employment (non-)strategy
• Our towns are becoming dormitories for Geelong and Melbourne
• CoGG's Bellarine Strategic Plan and Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs: more shops, another supermarket and a motel - and that's all!
• No high-wage, high-tech jobs (e.g. post-carbon technologies) to retain youth and wealth in the area
• Inadequate public transport makes increasing numbers of people drive to work, clogging the roads and increasing emissions of greenhouse gases
• There is clearly a need and a role for some form of business association in our towns - DCSCA would be glad to support and assist such an association however it can.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Planning Panel's third and final day of public hearings concerned Amendment C103 almost exclusively. This Amendment re-zones land between Murradoc Road and Woodville Street, Drysdale from its current mix of 'Farming' and 'Rural Living' to 'Residential 1'. Melbourne-based Urban Land Developments owns around 60% of the land and has requested the re-zoning so that it can build a 300-house estate there.
The City of Greater Geelong's Mr. Peter Schembri had introduced Amendment C103 at the end of Day 2. However, Day 3 started with a presentation about Amendment C194 by Mr. Gary Laver, which had been postponed from Day 2. Mr. Laver appeared on behalf of several landowners who live south of Andersons Road, who want CoGG to re-zone their land from 'Farming' to 'Rural Living' and who oppose CoGG's proposal to set aside the whole area for 'Future Urban Consolidation'. (CoGG has recently withdrawn this proposal.) CoGG has said repeatedly that such re-zoning is against policy; Mr. Laver cited several instances of such re-zoning elsewhere, within CoGG's Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan.
At this point, CoGG's Mr. Peter Smith stated that the Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan is 'a community plan, not a statement of council policy'. This is in clear contrast with the Plan's alleged intent:
'The Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan 2006 - 2016 (The Plan) reflects a commitment by the City of Greater Geelong to understand and plan for current and future change on the Bellarine Peninsula.' ('Executive Summary', p. 8)
'The Bellarine Peninsula Strategic Plan will inform future City of Greater Geelong planning policy on the Bellarine Peninsula ...' ('Policy Framework', p. 11)
The second presentation was by Mr. Nick Tweedy, a barrister acting for Urban Land Developments. He argued that C103 was self-evidently appropriate and justified, because it implemented a recommendation of CoGG's Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs; and he called 'expert witnesses' to argue that Amendment C103 won't create an excessive supply of land for housing; that the proposed developers' contributions to the estate's associated roads, drains, etc. are appropriate; that the estate won't interfere with the movement of stormwater through and away from the land; and that the estate won't increase local traffic significantly.
The third presentation was by Mr. Patrick Hughes on behalf of the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA). The Association neither supports nor opposes the proposals in C103 as such, but it is critical of the process by which CoGG invited public comment on C103 and on C194. (See DCSCA's submission on this blog in the article titled, 'Re-zoning Drysdale '.) In addition, the Association is concerned that Amendment C103 will create a 300-lot housing estate, but no jobs for the people who will live there. This isn't the developers' fault; it shows CoGG's lack of vision or concern about our towns' economic development. CoGG's failure is turning our towns into dormitories for Geelong and Melbourne; and the lack of adequate public transport means that increasing numbers of people are driving cars to work, increasing the pressure on our already crowded roads and, of course, increasing the emision of harmful 'greenhouse' gases.
The final presentation was by Urbis Consultants on behalf of Aldi. Currently, Amendment C103 includes provisions for access by pedestrians and cyclists from the housing estate into the service area of the proposed Aldi supermarket at the west end of Murradoc Road; and Aldi wants this provision removed.
Towards the end of the day, there were concluding remarks by Mr. Tweedie (for ULD), Mr. Smith and Mr. Schembri (for CoGG), but these added little to the presentations.
The Planning Panel will now write a report to CoGG that will recommend how to proceeed with each Amendment - C103 and C194. The report is due in eight weeks (i.e. in the week beginning 12 July) and four weeks later (i.e. in the week beginning 9 August), CoGG must publish the Panel's report and decide whether to accept some or all of its recommendations (it is under no compulsion to accept any of them). Following CoGG's decision, the matters in C103 and C194 will go to state Planning and Community Development Minister Justin Madden for a final decision.
(Image: Linda Gallus.)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Today, May 13, is the second of three days of Public Hearings by a Planning Panel appointed by State Planning Minister Justin Madden to review proposals by the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) to rezone parts of Drysdale & Clifton Springs.
(For a report on Day 1, see 'Planning Panel Day 1' on this blog; for the background to the Planning Panel, see other articles on this blog under the titles 'Rezoning Drysdale & Clifton Springs'.)
Today's Hearing started at 10.00 a.m. and, for much of the day, the Panel considered Amendment C194. The first presentation was by Mr. Patrick Hughes on behalf of the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association (DCSCA). The Association neither supports nor opposes the proposals in C194 as such, but it has detailed criticisms of the process by which CoGG invited public comment on them. (See DCSCA's submission on this blog in the article titled, 'Re-zoning Drysdale (3)'.)
The second presentation was by Mr. Ian Cook, who asked the Panel to make two recommendations to CoGG: retain the public open space in the Springs Street area of Clifton Springs, with some low-level recreational facilities; and require property developers to make their developments 'water neutral' by including infrastructure to recycle storm water. Next came Mr. Ian McGuiness, who described the Community Plan being developed by local people for the Springs Street open space, emphasizing that the Plan will be based on local people's views, unlike CoGG's proposals for the area.
In different ways, three presentations by residents of the Drakes Road area of Drysdale - Mr. David Burke, Mr. Ron Vernieux and Mr. Ric Gower & Mrs. Sue Gower - argued that CoGG's proposal to re-zone their properties from Rural Living to Future Urban Consolidation disregards the significant environmental values embedded in their properties and contradicts several recommendations in the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Structure Plan. Ms. Renate Kint emphasized the environmental richness of the Drakes Road area as she asked the Panel to recommend that CoGG re-zones her nearby olive farm from Farming to Low Density Residential. CoGG's Mr. Peter Smith responded to these presentations by saying that that it's possible that CoGG should re-examine the properties in the Drakes Road area before deciding to re-zone them.
Other presentations addressed different proposals in C194. Mr. Gerhart Herzer asked the Panel to recommend that CoGG allow him to subdivide his land in south Drysdale; Mr. Ray Gamble (via Ms. Sarah Wright) supported the proposal to zone his land as Future Urban Consolidation; Mr. Eddie Hoyer asked the Panel to recommend that CoGG withdraws its proposal to extend the Business 4 zone in Murradoc Road further to the east; and Ms. Joanne Preece, of TGM (representing Lascorp Development Group p/l), asked the panel to recommend that CoGG remove the phrase 'small to medium' from its description (in the Structure Plan) of the type of supermarket that could be built on the site of the Drysdale Bowling Club. CoGG has agreed to this proposal.
At 3.30 p.m., the Panel switched its focus to Amendment C103, when it heard Mr. Peter Schembri, of CoGG's Strategic Implementation Unit, present the council's case for the Amendment. If adopted, Amendment C103 would agree to a request by Melbourne-based property company ULD that its land south of Murradoc Road should be re-zoned from Farming to Residential 1, allowing ULD to build a 300-lot housing estate there. CoGG supports ULD's proposal, because it believes that it is consistent with the Structure Plan's recommendation that the land should become a housing estate. Council officers have worked with ULD to prepare the Amendment - specifically, the 'Section 137 Agreement' that sets out how much ULD should contribute to the development's infrastructure and to community facilities.
Tomorrow - the final day of Public Hearings - will start with a short return to C194 as Mr. Gary Laver presents his views about the Amendment. For the rest of the day, the Panel will hear presentations concerning C103 by ULD (which will call several 'expert witnesses'), by Aldi and by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association.
(Image by L. Gallus.)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Today, May 12, is the first of three days of Public Hearings by a Planning Panel appointed by State Planning Minister Justin Madden to review proposals by the City of Greater Geelong (CoGG) to rezone parts of Drysdale & Clifton Springs.
(For the background, see other articles on this blog under the titles 'Rezoning Drysdale & Clifton Springs'.)
The proposals take the form of two Amendments to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme - Amendment C194 and Amendment C103. CoGG is proposing Amendment C194; ULD, a Melbourne-based property developer, is proposing Amendment C103.
The Panel consists of two people, each an expert in planning policy: Ms. Gaye Mckenzie (Chair) and Ms. Susan Porter. The Panel had already visited Drysdale & Clifton Springs to see the area that would be affected if the proposed rezonings were adopted; at the end of today's Hearing, they made a second visit, accompanied by some submitters, to see specific features of the area that submitters were concerned about.
The Public Hearings are being held in the Council Chamber at City Hall, Geelong. For today and much of tomorrow, the Panel will consider C194; tomorrow afternoon and friday, the Panel will consider C103.
Today's Hearing started at 10.45 a.m. and the major event was a two-hour presentation by Mr. Peter Smith, CoGG's Co-ordinator of Strategic Implementation.
Mr. Smith presented the proposals in Amendment C194 as part of a continuing process of managing land-use that is consistent, rational, logical and based on precedent - each planning decision is seen to be consistent with previous planning decisions. Thus, Mr. Smith stated that the proposals in C194 are consistent with previous planning decisions - from very localised ones to state-wide, strategic planning decisions. For example, he stated that C194 is consistent with CoGG's Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs; and that it is consistent with the designation of Drysdale & Clifton Springs as a growth area by CoGG and by the state Department of Planning and Community Development. Further, Mr. Smith stated that the previous planning decisions on which C194 relies/builds were arrived at appropriately (in terms of planning policy and practice) and so, for example, he stated that CoGG's Structure Plan for Drysdale & Clifton Springs is the result of 'community consultation', as defined in planning policy and practice.
(That policy and practice defines 'community consultation' as a series of steps that a local council must take. These steps include advertising a proposal in local papers and in the Government Gazette. They don't include a council talking with local people, listening to their views and then either acting on them or explaining why it can't. In its presentation tomorrow, Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association will argue that C194 shouldn't be adopted at present and in its current form, because community consultation about it has been inadequate and inappropriate.)
Mr. Smith's emphasis on precedent and process highlights the 'technical-legal' nature of the Planning Panel process. A Planning Panel is appointed to establish whether proposals for change - irrespective of who makes them - are consistent with planning policy and practice. Ms. Mckenzie, the Chair of this Planning Panel, made it clear at the Panel's 'Directions Hearing' in April that this Panel would review C194 and C103 from the particular perspective of professional town planners.
The 'technical-legal' nature of the Planning Panel process means that presentations before a Panel are meant to convince the Panel that the proposals before it are either consistent or inconsistent with established planning policy and practice. People who appear before a Panel may wish to argue for or against a proposal on its intrinsic merits (e.g., 'This is a good proposal', or 'This is a bad proposal'), but a Panel doesn't judge a proposal on its intrinsic merits - only on its consistency or inconsistency with established planning policy and practice.
However, most people who are appearing before this Panel to talk about C194 aren't concerned with its consistency with established practice. They either support or oppose C194 (in whole or in part) because of its potential effects - good or bad - on their lives and their property. This means that the two sides are arguing at cross-purposes. The proposer of a change (in C194, that's CoGG) argues that it's a change consistent with established planning policy and practice; but submitters want to argue that the change is good or bad for them and aren't interested in policy and practice. Given that a Panel's job is to judge a proposal on its consistency with established planning policy and practice, submitters' 'personal' judgments about a proposal become, in effect, irrelevent! More on this tomorrow.
After lunch (1.00 - 2.00 p.m.), Mr. Charles Fegis, a Planning Consultant based in Geelong, gave a one-hour presentation on behalf of Ms. Kerry Bell and others who live on land south of Huntington Street, Drysdale. At present, their land is designated in the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Structure Plan as 'Future Urban Consiolidation'; and they want C194 to rezone it to 'Low-density residential'. They argued that this would be consistent with CoGG land-use policy elsewhere in Drysdale; that it would be consistent with the low-density occupation of land in their area; and that if the land is rezoned to low-density housing, it would still be a form of 'Future Urban Consolidation', because 'consolidation' doesn't equal high-density housing.
Mr. Smith accepted that these arguments had merit and said that CoGG was certainly willing to consider the proposal. However, Ms. Bell and others have tried several times over the last three years to achieve this re-zoning. Each time, CoGG hasn't refused - it has said that it would consider it in the next stage of planning ... and the next ....
Tomorrow, 13 May, is the second day of Public Hearings about C194. Most of it will consist of presentations by local property owners who are likely to be affected (positively or negatively) by the proposals in C194; and by the Drysdale & Clifton Springs Community Association. At 3.45 p.m., the Panel will switch its attention to Amendment C103, when Mr. Peter Schembri, from CoGG's Strategic Implementation Unit, will present CoGG's case for that Amendment. Further presentations concerning C103 will occur on Friday May 14.
(Image: L. Gallus)
Friday, May 7, 2010
On 7 May, DCSCA committee members met Councillor Rod Macdonald at Geelong City Hall. This was the second of a series of quarterly meetings that DCSCA has initiated with the two Councillors whose wards coincide with DCSCA's area - the other is Councillor John Doull, with whom we had our second quarterly meeting on 19 April. (See DCSCA meets Cllr. John Doull (2), Tuesday, April 20, 2010 on this blog.)
This meeting, like its predecessor, was positive and productive. First, we discussed the 'Special Charges' that CoGG is using to fund new infrastructure, such as the proposed drain in the Central Road area of Clifton Springs. Cllr. Macdonald said that he agrees with Special Charges on equity grounds, i.e. when publicly funded infrastructure (e.g. footpaths, drains) adds value to a property, that property's owner should pay part of the cost. When people buy properties where such infrastructure is already in place, a developer will have already paid some or all of the cost, so there is no need to levy a Special Charge to recover it.
Regarding the Central Road scheme, Cllr. Macdonald said that some property owners have agreed to pay the whole of their share of the cost outside of the Special Charge scheme and through a Section 173 Agreement. They will be reimbursed a share of the cost by the developer. He also said that CoGG will take the final decision on how people will pay their Special Charge only after CoGG's internal Submissions Panel has heard from people who submitted their views. Cllr. Macdonald agreed that DCSCA's suggestion that caveats be placed on title deeds (so that the Charge is payable only when the added value is realised) is a possible way forward.
Next, we said that CoGG's Manager of Community Development Mr. Paul Jamieson, had failed to reply to DCSCA's letter to him in January about CoGG proposals for Drysdale Town Centre. Cllr. Macdonald said that he will ask Paul Jamieson why he hasn't replied.
The third item on the agenda was CoGG's consultation policy/practices - specifically, DCSCA's draft Consultation Policy for CoGG. Cllr. Macdonald said that he believes that present CoGG policies and practices around consultation are working well, but accepts that CoGG has no evidence to substantiate this. He will read DCSCA's draft Consultation Policy and respond to it. He asked DCSCA to alert him when officers' reports deal with consultation submissions in summary only and said he would ask why there wasn't more detail.
Our final topic for discussion was CoGG's forthcoming budget and plan for 2010/11 and whether money is allocated to specific projects or to project areas. Cllr. Macdonald said that most funding goes to program areas, which will have proposed specific projects, so new projects won't be funded in 2010/11. However, there can be some room within a program to re-order priorities and new projects may fit within this. We asked whether it would be possible to apply for funds for signage at the entrance to Drysdale. Cllr. Macdonald said that a 'Welcome' sign and a 'community notice board' could be funded by Councillors' Community Grants. He also said that in Leopold, the community bank sponsors a community notice board, places items in it and removes them when they're out of date. DCSCA might explore a similar arrangement for Drysdale & Clifton Springs.
Still on the subject of projects, DCSCA has started to consider how we keep our green spaces free from 'over-structured' play and recreation, i.e. leave them much as they are. Cllr. Macdonald believes that open spaces should be attractive and should contribute to a sense of community as people use them. Thus, they might be improved minimally by, e.g., new planting and/or landscaping, new seats. There should be a balance between sites with facilities for 'active' recreation/leisure and sites that are purely for 'passive' recreation/leisure.
Finally, we brought Cllr. Macdonald up to date with recent DCSCA actions. First, preparations for the Festival of Glass (February 2011). He remains very supportive and suggested various people to contact re different aspects of organising the Festival. Second, DCSCA's recent public information session on Planning Panels; and third, DCSCA's next quarterly Public Meeting (scheduled for 2 June at 7.00 p.m. at SpringDale), which will consider recreation and leisure in our community.
Our next quarterly meeting with Cllr. Macdonald will be on 6 August at 10.00 a.m. at City Hall.
Would you like us to discuss any issues with Cllr. Macdonald at that meeting? If so, please leave a comment below, e-mail DCSCA: email@example.com or write to DCSCA at P.O. Box 581, Drysdale 3222.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The City of Greater Geelong is increasing rates and levying Special Charges on the basis of a 'phantom value' whose existence it believes in but can't prove.
The 'phantom value' haunts CoGG's current proposals to re-zone parts of Drysdale & Clifton Springs. These proposals - in Amendments C103 and C194 to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme - will re-zone areas as high-density housing ('R1'), triggering rates rises for many local people. (See earlier posts on drycliftdays under the title 'Re-zoning Drysdale & Clifton Springs'.)
CoGG argues that increased rates will merely reflect increased property values, but gives no evidence that this 'phantom value' exists. CoGG's belief in 'phantom value' leads them to charge rates on a re-zoned rural block (e.g. 2-5 acres) as if the owner has subdivided their block according to its new status as high-density housing - even if they haven't!
Of course, any 'phantom value' can be realised only when a re-zoned property is sold (generally following a sub-division). Until then, the property is no more valuable than it was before it was rezoned, yet its owner now faces higher rates bills.
'Phantom value' also haunts CoGG's current proposals to levy a Special Charge of thousands of dollars on landowners in the Central Road of Clifton Springs to pay for a drain for a proposed retirement village. (See 'A "Special Charge" for developer's drains' on drycliftdays.) As if that wasn't enough, CoGG also wants to re-zone the Central Road area as high-density housing and raise landowners' rates accordingly. CoGG argues that both the Special Charge and the re-zoning will increase property values - but gives no proof that this 'phantom value' exists. Indeed, CoGG cannot prove that either the Special Charge or the re-zoning would raise property values sufficiently even to cover the costs to each landowner, let alone generate a profit. Further, many landowners in the Central Road area say that they don't want to realise the 'phantom value', because they don't want to subdivide their homes and sell them.
The 'phantom value' is haunting CoGG's proposal to levy property owners in parts of Drysdale a Special Charge to pay for new footpaths outside their properties; and it also haunts CoGG's proposal to levy a similar Special Charge on property owners in parts of Ocean Grove.
'Rates increase only after a sale', says CoGG
In correspondence with CoGG officers about Amendments C103 and C194, DCSCA has been told that the 'phantom value' is invoked only when a landowner wishes to sell re-zoned land; until then, the rates on the property remain as they were before it was re-zoned. However, this is only half the story.
CoGG's policy is to increase rates after re-zoned land is sold OR after a rates review:
'Council valuations and rates will change in line with changes to sales values, not necessarily immediately in line with zoning. Although there is a rezoning, where the actual land use does not change and there is no other reason to do a supplementary valuation (e.g. building works) it has been Council practice not to change the valuation of a property until there is a sale or subdivision of the property or until the next municipal revaluation is completed. The last municipal revaluation was done as at 1 January 2008 and revaluations are conducted every second year.'
(This came from the CoGG website about Armstrong Creek, but it's general policy, not restricted to Armstrong Creek.)
In other words, if CoGG re-zones your property, you have a maximum of two years before your rates are likely to increase. People whose properties are targeted in Amendments C103 and C194, together with people in the Central Road area, should start saving up!
What can be done?
DCSCA accepts that when an area is rezoned as 'R1', landowners in the area may, if they wish, subdivide and sell parts or all of their property; and that if they do so, they may make a greater profit than if the land hadn't been re-zoned. However, DCSCA believes that current owners of re-zoned land should not have to pay increased rates until they benefit from owning that re-zoned land - i.e., until they sell it for an increased profit.
Similarly, we accept that installing new infrastructure (e.g. drains or footpaths) in an area may increase the value of properties in that area, which may be reflected in increased property prices. However, DCSCA believes that current owners of property in that area should not have to pay (via a Special Charge) for the new infrastructure until they benefit from owning property with an increased value - i.e., until they sell it for an increased profit.
How can this happen? DCSCA proposes that when a property is re-zoned and/or incurs a Special Charge, a caveat should be added to the deeds of that property. The caveat should state that:
1. When the property is sold, its rateable value will be reviewed and may be increased. Until the property is sold, its current owner (or her/his agent) will continue to pay rates as if the property had not been re-zoned.
2. When the property is sold, the current owner (or her/his agent) shall pay the proportion (without interest!) of any Special Charge allocated to the property, provided that this is covered by the increase in the property's price due to the new infrastructure associated with the Special Charge.
In this way, whoever benefits from a re-zoning or from new infrastructure contributes appropriately when the 'phantom value' associated with it becomes real value - in the form of increased profits from the sale of the property - and not before.