A decision that could decrease property values, downsize development and increase insurance premiums on houses in parts of the Coromandel Peninsula is due out next month.
The decision on Thames-Coromandel District Council's flood rezoning in its district plan will bring to a head more than three years' work by the local authority and the Waikato Regional Council in future-proofing flood-prone communities on the peninsula.
Thames, Te Puru, Thornton Bay, Coromandel Town and Tairua are just some of the areas affected by the district council's proposed variation 24 and plan change 3.
Its aim is to protect people, property, the environment and the regional economy from increased flood risks after weather bombs in the region in 2002 that claimed a life and in 2008 that cut off townships and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars damage.
But more than 100 homeowners and groups wrote to the council over the proposed changes, with three-quarters of them challenging the zone of their property.
Thames homeowner Mike Voykovich said he was worried the proposed zones, which marked his house as high risk for flooding, would make it difficult for him to insure the Maramarahi Rd property and ultimately reduce its value.
"It will affect our ability to gain insurance, and also the house price, and our ability to do any alterations," Mr Voykovich said.
The 20-year-old house, which Mr Voykovich said had never to his knowledge flooded, sat on 2.5ha of land that tapered off at the bottom, which he admitted flooded every couple of years.
"Part of our section is without doubt in the high-risk area, it's down low. The problem I have is the definition of the survey they used it's inaccurate. The boundary they have applied is ill-defined."
If the changes were approved, Mr Voykovich would likely need consent to make alterations to the house which he rents out.
His concerns were echoed throughout 72 pages of submissions made on the issue, which was first notified for public consultation in February 2009.
Submitters aired their complaints at a two-day hearing in June this year and the council is expecting a decision from Independent Commissioner Paul Cooney next month.
TCDC said on its website the focus of the plan change was on avoiding the intensification of homes within flood hazard areas, while still allowing additions to existing properties in the lower hazard areas, provided the proposed work did not increase the existing risk to life and property.
The proposed plan change was supported by a large amount of flood modelling work undertaken by Waikato Regional Council covering 15 catchment areas in and around Thames, the Thames Coast, Coromandel Town and including Grahams Creek in Tairua.
It said the Government had placed responsibility on territorial authorities to deal with the consequences of natural hazards.
The work on a plan change to manage development in flood hazard areas was government-funded.
ZONE PLAN AREAS THAT MAY BE AFFECTED
* Coromandel Town
* Te Puru
* Thornton Bay