Ages ago I had a lot of trouble with the council and the issue of verandas. Specifically, whether you can built a balcony into a veranda or not. And if you do, do you have to then lease airspace off the council I was told I had to, but managed to fight it off.
Man pays $420 for permission to not build veranda
Last updated 05:00 26/03/2014
A rule in the Southland District Plan is ridiculous and defies common sense, a Lumsden business owner says.
Rob Scott bought the Lumsden bank to convert it into a cafe, but has become frustrated by a rule in the District Plan that has resulted in him paying $420 for permission not to build a veranda.
The Southland District Plan says any building used for a commercial activity must have a veranda that extends across the entire road frontage.
If a building owner wants to be exempt from the rule, the matter is dealt with as a discretionary activity, requiring public notification to allow the community view to be considered.
Scott’s application for building consent for the alterations was noticed by the Southland District Council’s town planning department, which asked him to get a resource consent because the building did not have a veranda.
However, he maintains it was an unnecessary cost for someone taking a risk by investing in a small rural town.
“I’d definitely like to see [the rule] changed. I can see the logic if you’re adding a new building in a town where all the shops on the main street have verandas, but this building has been here for 60 years and never had one.”
When he filed the application, he paid a processing fee of $675, but was told by council staff he would be partially refunded.
His final bill came to $420, he said.
Sounded eerily familiar. And it’s, in a nutshell, what is wrong with this country. A guy wants to start a business, so the council sees fit to TAX him for the privelige. He gets nothing out of it, the council get nothing out of it except money and a bit of control. And that is of course why they do it.
This part, where they explaind their charges:
A report from resource management manager Simon Moran says the 3.5 hours was made up of 15 minutes for a customer service officer to process the application, half an hour for a manager to conduct the original assessment and assignment of the consent, discuss the consent with a processing planner, and check the final draft, and 2.75 hours for a planner to assess whether further information was required, liaise with staff to identify a way to grant the consent because there was limited information and no consideration of the plan requirements, and capture resource consent information in the database to enable reporting and consent tracking.
Is just like a piece of comedic writing isn’t it? How did they write this without bursting out laughing?
And the end result?
All but one of the members voted against giving Mr Scott a further refund, concerned that it would set a precedent.
Mr Moran said it was an issue with the plan requirements, rather than the amount charged for processing resource consent applications.
Committee member John Douglas abstained from voting, and said the council should be encouraging economic development.
“I don’t think an action such as this should trigger the need for resource consent.”
So they voted not to give a refund because it would set a precedent. Yep, turn off their never ending flow of money that is. Expose the whole charade for what it is – a money grab by the council, nothing else.
The last line is at least encouraging, at least one councillor can see that they shouldn’t be taxing those who want to set up businesses. But why only one?
There’s still a long way to go in terms of reducing council red tape and interference in people’s lives.