by Ishani Chetty
Cape Town has seen an increase in developments as the City of Cape Town has approved a building plans to the value of R20.4-billion over an 11 month period ending in May 2019.
Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Niewoudt explains that there is growing tension between those who are wanting to create new developments to cater to the growing population and residents who are opposed to new developments due to historical or heritage based value. This strife between these opposing interests is only further exacerbated by apartheid’s spatial planning and the need for affordable housing.
“The City must find a balance between urbanising Cape Town and meeting the demand for well-located housing, while at the same time protecting the unique qualities and natural environment that make our sought after destination,” she said.
All development applications and building plans are assessed in accordance of the Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL), the City’s Development Management Scheme (DMS) or zoning scheme. These policies are put in place to determine the land use for every site, including the land parcel which is located within the City of Cape town’s municipal boundaries along with the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act.
City’s Development Management Department
The City’s Development Management Department has the role of regulating the following:
-The construction of new buildings and developments
-The alteration, extension, or conversion of existing buildings
-Changes proposed in the use of existing buildings and sites and the demolition of existing buildings or structures. Municipalities are responsible for managing land use on sites that are located within their boundaries.
The role of Land Management is intended for the following:
-Ensure that the right development takes place at the correct place and at a suitable time. The development must be carried out in a desirable and sustainable method.
-The land use should support economic growth and generate employment opportunities. It should also create a safe, healthy and sustainable built environment.
-Land Management must find a balance between meeting communities needs and protecting our natural and built heritage environment.
-Use land, which is becoming scarce is a wise manner.
-Land Management must support efforts in creating a compact and resource efficient City.
Niewoudt explains how many buildings were approved to amount to the value fo R20.4-billion. “We have received 21 943 building plan applications from 1 July 2018 to 31 May 2019 and approved 19585 applications over the same period. This reflects an average of 1 780 building plans approved per month across eight planning districts. The value fo the building plans approved over this time period is R20.4-billion.
Adding that the City received 9 981 land use applications from 1 July 2018 to 31 May 2019 and finalised a recorded 8 760 applications over the same period.”Thus, the City has finalised 88% of the submissions received when one compares the number of applications submitted with the number of applications finalised.”
As of 1 July 2019 to 31 May 2019, R 3 144 660 has been paid in administrative penalties for contravention of the Municipal planning by-law and the National Building Regulations.
New developments, extensions and land use have an impact on everyone and the City is bound by law to notify those affected by applications which may have an impact on adjacent property owners and residents. Concerned parties have the right to oppose and comment on development applications.
Niewoudt explains the process which proposals and applications undergo before they can be approved and set in motion. “The approval of development applications usually takes longer when submission is objected to, or opposed. Often the final decision is taken up for review in the high court. The point is, all developments and building plans must be approved by the City, and all residents and interested parties, as well as developers and landowners, have the right to appeal the final decision.”
Applicants must note that an assessment process will be delayed if applications are incomplete. Applicants must obtain all prerequisite approvals, undergo an environmental assessment authorisation along with an array of other conditions before it can be reviewed by the City.
“The City’s Development Management Department is executing its duties with urgency and intend, and we are guided by the MPBL, the DMS and the applicable policies that have been approved by council over the past decade,” said Nieuwoudt