Dunedin developer Tim Barnett has received a public
apology and a $200,000 payout following a lengthy battle to
recover his costs after the Dunedin City Council restricted his
ability to develop his harbourside property.
The property, at 41 Wharf St, has since been sold to
developers who are hoping to build a 27-storey hotel on it.
DCC chief executive Paul Orders yesterday apologised to Mr
Barnett, of Arthur Barnett Properties, for the inconvenience
caused by the council's decision-making since 2008.
The $200,000 covers Mr Barnett's out-of-pocket costs (just
under $118,000), the interest on his costs ($41,000) and a
contribution to his legal fees during his lengthy attempt to
first remove the restrictions on developing the site and then
recover from the council the cost of those restrictions.
Mr Barnett had intended to build on the vacant site but was
unable to do anything with it between 2008 and 2011, after
the council placed a notice of requirement on it as part of
its ''harbourside'' plan, later severely curtailed.
The site had been identified by the council for possible use
as a road linking Wharf St with a new on-ramp to the nearby
The notice for requirement was imposed in February 2008, two
months after Mr Barnett had applied for consent to build a
3105sq m building there.
Mr Barnett opposed the notice and in May 2008 was granted
consent for the development, but with the council's plans
creating uncertainty, it did not proceed.
In June 2010, the council's harbourside hearings committee
decided the notice of requirement should be dropped. The
''harbourside'' zoning was dropped in October 2011 for all
but the southern side of the Steamer Basin. In January 2011,
Mr Barnett had applied to the council for costs related to
the notice of requirement. In the usual process, costs are
sought within a six-month time frame.
However, because the notice of requirement was dropped in
June 2010, the council declined his application, saying it
was made outside the time frame.
In October 2011, Mr Barnett, under the Public Works Act, made
a formal request for reimbursement of his costs, followed by
a claim to the Land Valuation Tribunal in June 2012.
Council services and development general manager Dr Sue
Bidrose said the council agreed to reimburse him for
out-of-pocket costs based on the evidence he produced in
April this year, showing why he felt he was within the time
The formal apology, issued by Mr Orders yesterday, read:
''Council apologises for the inconvenience, and also thanks
Mr Barnett for working with council in good faith as the
parties explored options over some years.
''Mr Barnett has a long history of commitment to the city of
Dunedin. Council trusts that the good working relationship
that has developed between Mr Barnett and the council over
the years will continue.''
Dr Bidrose said the issue came down to what councils should
do when it came to telling people what they could and could
not do with their properties.
''When a council intervenes with private property rights, if
you cost property owners something as a result of that
process, you should pay.''
Mr Barnett declined to comment, but a council statement said
the matter would not be taken any further.