Flats get green light

Despite objections, the Municipal Tribunal Planning (MPT) has approved an application for departures on Erf 932 on Victoria Road, Bantry Bay.

The applicant, through Tho-mas Geh Architect, proposed to develop a five-storey apartment building comprising of eight units and eight parking bays.

A departure to allow the building to project above an abutting footway along a scenic drive is also proposed.

The proposed total height of the building is 15 metres and a building up to 25m high can be permitted on the site.

The property is zoned General Residential 4 (GR4), which allows for a range of residential land uses.

In its motivation for approval, the applicant stated that the departures are consistent with the high-level objectives of social development strategy which include buil-
ding and promoting safe households, communities and promote and foster social integration. They said the proposal increases accessibility, efficiency and sustainability of public transport.

The applicant added that the departures will enable additional dwelling units to be built which would contribute to the efficient use of existing infrastructure and additional amenities. They stated that employment opportunities would be created and this would not only have a positive socio-economic impact on the area but the increase in residential accommodation would also enhance social aspects of the area.

In terms of safety, health and wellbeing in the community, the applicant stated that there would be no impact and the increased density would lead to informal surveillance and security which would lead to better investment decisions to benefit the community. They said the proposed units would result in better welfare of households who take up residency. The applicant said the proposal is sensitive to the character of the surrounding built and natural environment.

Residents objected to the departures, with the planning committee of the Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Ratepayers’ Association SFB) saying that the departures viewed in their entirety and in the context of the affected neighbours and surrounding streetscape, would result in an overbearing and oversized building that cannot be justified by relying on “densification”. “What it, in fact is, is an unconscionable attempt to maximise the developer’s profit at the expense of the surrounding property owners’ rights,” they said.

The committee added that the departures do not serve the purpose of improving anomalies occasioned by the shape, characteristics of the erf thereby justifying necessary departures from zoning scheme regulations in order to produce a more viable or rational outcome.”On the contrary, they make a fool of the regulations which are honoured only in the breach were they to be allowed,” they said.

They said the did not wish to encourage the development in the area and expected planning authorities to respect their position as a responsible ratepayer association. “The application is egregious because it is disrespectful of neighbouring property rights and will produce a building that, in terms of its size and shape, is desirable only in the developer’s pocketbook.”

Some residents were concerned that allowing this degree of coverage of their property could only result in other owners applying for the same departures, eventually turning this section of the road into a city centre type of street bounded by large unattractive buildings.