Following is a question by Dr the Hon Lau Wong-fat and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Bowen Leung, at the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):
Will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the number of cases in which approval has been given for changing the use of private land from agricultural to industrial;
(b) of the basis adopted by the Administration for determining the annual fee payable in respect of the land concerned after it has been changed to industrial use; and
(c) whether the level of fee payable in respect of such private land is on a par with the level of rent payable for the industrial land leased under short term tenancy; if so, the basis of determination by the Administration and whether the income receivable for agricultural use of the land should form a deducting factor in the fee calculating formula?
(a) During the past five years, no application was received to rezone "agriculture" land to industrial use. Nevertheless, there are currently 1,116 cases in which private agricultural land is temporarily allowed to be used for industrial purpose by way of a short-term waiver.
(b) Private agricultural land temporarily allowed to be used for industrial purpose by way of a short-term waiver is charged a short-term waiver fee which reflects the enhancement in the annual value of the land arising from the change in land use. The Lands Department has prepared standard rates for each district according to the location of and permitted structures on a site.
The standard rates are assessed on a full market value basis by reference to the rentals for similar short-term tenancy sites granted by way of open tender or rentals agreed upon rent review for these types of short-term tenancies in the previous 12-24 months. The standard rates are applied to the sites upon the commencement date of the waivers and are subject to review every three years.
(c) The banding system and rate zoning for the assessment of standard short-term tenancies and short-term waivers rates are by and large similar. The short-term waiver fees are designed to take account of the value of the agriculture land to which the owner is entitled, and the short-term waiver rates are assessed at about 50% of the levels of the short-term tenancy rents.
End/Wednesday, November 11, 1998