Sutton softens on zone changes

Posted 17 Jul 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
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Some Christchurch land-zoning decisions are likely to be overturned, the city's recovery boss says.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) said last month it would review all insured residential property owners who wanted to query their land zoning. Residents had until the end of last month apply for a review.

Cera chief executive Roger Sutton had previously said zoning changes were unlikely, but yesterday told local radio some of the 1300 zonings challenges would succeed.

"I think there will be some changes. Some people will go red, some people will go green," he said. "I don't know how many people, but [there are] 180,000 properties in Christchurch [and] 7000 went red . . . you'd expect there'd be some changes, wouldn't you?"

Major changes were unlikely, Sutton said. "I don't think there'll be 1300 happy people at the end of it."

Sutton told The Press in April that a huge amount of work had gone into deciding what properties were red-zoned, and there would be no changes.

A letter sent last month to residents in Baker St in New Brighton echoed that view.

"I must emphasise that changes to zoning are unlikely, and the checks will be based on the area-wide assessment of land damage in these areas," Sutton wrote.

Brooklands red-zone resident Stephen Bourke, who is part of group considering court action to stay on their land, believed Sutton had softened his stance under pressure.

Few of the residents Bourke had spoken to were expecting changes. "It's got to the point that [Cera] have got to do something because they're wrong," he said.

An advisory group will present a report on the land to Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee at the end of the month.

Brownlee has said that the zoning review would not revisit the criteria but would check whether they had been consistently applied and that boundary lines had been drawn sensibly.

A Cera spokesman said yesterday the process had "moved on" since Sutton's letter to Baker St residents. The review was now under way and Sutton had this week spoken to the advisory group about its progress, he said.

The decisions and the announcement would be driven by Brownlee, the spokesman said.


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