Coffs Harbour bypass land buy-up
PROPERTY holders owning land along the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass route should soon start negotiating with the Roads and Maritime Services before the compulsory acquisition process starts.
Local solicitor Vincent Butcher, who has acted in hundreds of compulsory property acquisition cases, said it was important landholders along the bypass route negotiated fair and reasonable settlements.
"The bypass is moving forward progressively now and we've got clients who have been engaging for some time with the government in regards to the acquisition of their lands and now that is moving to the compulsory process," Mr Butcher said.
"The government has been quite proactive in trying to acquire properties by negotiation without entering into the compulsory process."
Once that process starts, strict time frames will apply to affected landowners.
"They should seek the advice as early as possible. Sometimes the first offer is not the best offer and sometimes the market value of land is not the only thing the property owner is entitled to in these situations," Mr Butcher said.
"For instance, we did a lot of work on the Woolgoolga bypass and the first offers made in regards to land sometimes were increased by threefold once we included all of the items of disturbance and what the person is entitled to under the compulsory acquisition laws."
The 14km deviation west of Coffs Harbour was first identified by the then-Roads and Traffic Authority as the preferred route in 2004.
Since 2009, Coffs Harbour City Council has preserved the road corridor in the Local Environment Plan.
In its most recent update on the project, the RMS reported about 44 per cent of the land required for the road corridor had been acquired.
Testing and drilling has been conducted on the bypass route and an environmental impact study has been completed.
Construction is earmarked to start in 2020, although the tender is yet to be awarded.