Properties with a total value of six and a half million dollars are being assessed for suitability for disposal by Councillors at tonight’s monthly ordinary meeting of Yass Valley Council.

The report identifies 24 separate parcels of land deemed no longer useful under the Council’s current strategic direction. However, reviews and reclassifications are expected to be necessary as some land falls under particular titles and rules as to sales conduct. For example, whether land can be legally sold due to its classification as community land.

The properties identified for sale include Commercial land which can be sold on the market generally for business and commerce or private use dependent on its zone.

Other parcels of land include Operational land that Council has identified as surplus to need under that category. Operational land is usually required to carry out council functions such as water, sewage and waste delivery or parks and gardens and facility space.

The last sellable category is land which has been identified as no longer meeting Strategic Value, which is land that is effectively on hold for future needs, whether it be state, community or commercial.

Community land, however, is possibly the most contentious among this review, as it is land that is non-sellable between private sales and is used for, as the name would imply, community purposes such as parks. To sell these lands, consultation with the community is necessary, so that the Council can review and effectively redefine it.

Community land earmarked for future sale includes lots on Merriman Drive, Yeo Crescent, Cnr of Discovery Drive & Cooks Hill Road, 7 hectares of Walker Park listed as Lot 1, Lot 14 Woods Close in Murrumbateman and 4.53 ha in Wee Jasper village identified as lot 14.

Some of the properties Council has deemed a high priority for immediate disposal, or continued steps towards that end due to their strategic value include the 286 ha which comprises the property Hawthorn, 67 Rossi Street, Corner Red Hill and Bowning Road, Mullion Schoolhouse for handover to the department of Education and the list continues.

The first mentioned, Hawthorn, is of particular vendable value, currently estimated at a general value of just over three million dollars.

However, not all high priority properties are such financial powerhouses, with some meeting in a lower $52,000.

The Old Yass Sales Yards is valued at just over half a million dollars as is the old Gasworks on Dutton Street. Sited in a prime CBD locality, close to schools, riverside recreation, it is zoned for medium density housing. Still, there is work to be done to prepare it for sale.

Dutton street Old Gasworks site zoned medium density housing

The report to Council advises there is a need or requirement to undertake a structural/heritage assessment on the Squatter’s Home Inn ruins in 2020-21. Obtain a quote for contaminated land assessment. Include funding for assessment in a forthcoming budget. Review occupation of Lot 12 and prepare formal lease of the site if appropriate. Progress creation and acquisition of strip of land at the rear from NSW Land Registry (not in any ownership). Depending on the outcome of the above assessments dispose of Lots 9, 10 and 11.

Should Councillors agree all these properties are ripe for disposal, then the report advises Council of its options to engage either open market sales or where buyer numbers could be expected to be constrained to neighbour properties, negotiate directly with landowners. This decision will be made by assessing the value of the property, deeming which properties fall under which of the previously mentioned categories, and defining which properties meet Councils land needs or require further work before developing it and selling/leasing.

For those properties that fall under community title, processes of reclassifications will need to take place to make previously unavailable properties fall within sellable lines.

Griffin Palen