A CHARLESTOWN landowner whose property dropped in value by $154,000 after Lake Macquarie City Council rezoned it from residential to parkland is concerned that he will not recoup the money.
Tom Oaten received a letter from the Valuer General's office yesterday valuing his land at $50,000, down from $204,000 in September 2007.
Mr Oaten's land is one of seven Carl Street properties the council intends to acquire, when owners are ready to sell, to create a park.
The park would be part compensation for the loss of Ferris Oval, which the council sold to shopping centre owner General Property Trust (GPT) so it could expand Charlestown Square.
The council's property services manager, Eric Neville, said the council was required to pay the "highest and best use of the land, disregarding the [new] zoning".
"Logic tells me that use is probably residential, but it could be a higher use than that," he said.
"The act of rezoning won't affect the price the owners get for their properties when they sell it to the council, I can guarantee that."
Mr Oaten, who had owned his Charlestown land for 33 years, said the council had not consulted him about the rezoning.
He said he had spoken to his solicitor who had advised him not to trust the council.
"If they were fair dinkum they would have paid me a fair price for my property, let me live in it for 10 years or until I want to vacate, with me paying all outgoings," he said.
Charlestown residents' spokesman Les Powell was among those who had urged the council to make GPT buy the properties at market rates, before it was rezoned.
"The council has done over these property owners; I think it's wrong," Mr Powell said.
Charlestown MP Matthew Morris said the council should have made GPT buy the properties, so the council had no future liability.