Discount after developer objects to bill

A Dunedin developer has won a $6457 discount on his resource consent application fees after objecting to a bill from the Dunedin City Council of more than $21,000.

Developer Simon Eddy's fees of $21,525 for a child-care centre that did not eventuate were the highest in the last financial year.

The council has admitted its communications were inadequate, and a committee that considered the matter has called on staff to improve that in future.

Mr Eddy's objections to the level of fees for his consent application for a Caversham child-care facility were heard by the committee early last month.

Mr Eddy had objected to the fees that accrued when he applied to build a $1.5 million child-care centre in Hazel Ave.

The development was cancelled last year after the council required him to drop its capacity from 100 children to 60.

It was strongly opposed by residents.

Mr Eddy told the committee he was concerned he had not been told the fees were rising so high as the consent process unfolded.

He said advice he had was the cost of the application should have been between $14,000 and $16,000.

The committee of Crs Andrew Noone and Andrew Whiley, and Colin Weatherall ruled the fee should be cut to $15,067.

The committee said in its decision the fees were largely the result of a complex consent process.

But it agreed communications regarding the fees were not adequate, and asked the resource consents team to "look at improved methods for advising applicants when fees were likely to be significantly above the deposit''.

It also said Mr Eddy had made "fair points'' on the efficiency of the processing of the consent.

Mr Eddy said yesterday he was pleased with the outcome, and felt changes would be made so such a situation would not arise in future.

"I was certainly comforted by the planner's recognition that the communication hadn't been as good as it could have been.

"I took note of the comments the council was going to look at how they could improve that.''

He said while how the council might instigate any change had yet to be seen, the response was promising.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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