Council ordered to pay developer $4 million in compensation
A COURT has ruled Coffs Harbour City Council must pay more than $4 million in compensation to the developers of a local housing estate.
The judgement was handed down by Justice Terrence Sheahan at a Land and Environment Court hearing on Tuesday.
Developers of the "Lakes Estate" in North Boambee Valley, Noubia Pty Ltd, first took the council to court in 2017 with claims the council was not complying with its agreement to pay compensation for the transfer of three lots of land, as outlined in its modified Development Application.
The lots Noubia claimed were valued at around $3.3 million, $265,000 and $560,000 were transferred to the council in 2007, 2008 and 2012 respectively.
The total claim exceeded $4 million plus interest and costs.
However the council valued the compensation costs of the land at around $0, $110,000 and $110,600 respectively.
The council had approved Noubia's DA in 2003 subject to the condition that land nominated for koala management, traffic management, water quality and community facilities would be transferred to the council on a staged basis.
The DA stated land not detailed in the Boambee Valley Stage 1 Release Area Developer Contributions Plan would be dedicated at no cost to the council.
Council, who "in substance" denied Noubia's claims, argued compensation for lot 96 worth $3.3 million was not payable as it was mapped koala habitat and a high-hazard bushfire area, and claimed it did not form part of the contributions plan.
The council claimed it did not deny its obligation to pay compensation the two other lots, stating it had paid $190,000 in total.
Noubia argued the other two lots could have been developed for residential purposes.
After much debate Justice Sheahan ruled in favour of Noubia, determining the value of the lots were around $4 million, and that the council must pay the compensation within 28 days.