About 35 residents in Gardens have signed a petition against a new tapas bar opening in the area.
Among the residents’ complaints is the lack of consultation from the City of Cape Town in informing them of the matter.
They have said the City favours developments over residents in the area. Another concern is that the new bar will be located in a Heritage Protected Overlay Zone. The bar, which will be located in Kloof Street in Gardens, is set to open soon.
Maggie Mouton, who is acting as spokesperson for the concerned residents, said the City is favouring businesses and developments.
“It was dreadful. We went to various departments and sent emails, but to no avail. No one contacted us or arranged an open process on our behalf.
“We only received one email, and that was yesterday, in that email it was mentioned that approval was granted on March 9 already, but no resident had been informed or communicated with at all about it.
“We feel therefore that the process was most likely done and dusted long before, and not in our favour, as our attempts made no difference.
“Council only cites the building regulations for business zoning as reason, but those regulations were pushed through recently, and favour developers far too much,” added Ms Mouton.
She also said she was concerned that the development was taking place within a heritage protected area. “We feel that developers have taken over in Cape Town and are behind developments that are bad for the city and its character, in that it spoils areas forever. At the same time residents are pushed aside, basically for the revenue this could make.
“Whether that will build a Cape Town we would want to live in one day, is a matter we should be debating, so that we can keep our city in the style that feels good and caring for other people.”
However, in response Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport and urban development, said the tapas bar complied with the zoning of the area.
“City officials have contacted the author of the petition that was signed by some residents who reside in the vicinity of the property. A heritage assessment was undertaken in terms of Section 34 of the Heritage Resources Act, 25/1999 by the provincial body, Heritage Western Cape, and the application was considered by the City’s Building Development Management Department. Since the property lies within the heritage protected overlay zone, it was assessed in light of this.”
Mr Herron added that it was important to note that this property is zoned General Business. “The zoning determines the specific land-uses for the properties within a specific zone. As such, the owners of premises across the city are not required to inform the City about their intended use for a property, unless the land-use is not compliant with the current zoning, in which case they will have to apply for the necessary permissions.”
When asked what residents can do when concerned about developments, Mr Herron said residents may contact their local councillor or the City’s building development management department if they have a concern. In this case, the City’s building development management department has considered the building plan application for this premises recently.
“The application followed due process and was approved as it is compliant with all relevant legislation. “As is the case with all government-related decisions, all residents have the right to approach the courts, should they have the need to challenge a decision,” added Mr Herron.
The owner of the property being developed, Leon Fortes, said he believed the matter had been blown out of proportion.
“The development in Kloof Street is within the rights attached to the property, has followed due process and has all the required approvals which include the heritage council. We have ensured that we have respected every aspect of heritage in our improvements. We expect the development to be completed shortly and the new tenants from the very successful Black Sheep will open their second restaurant /tapas bar in Kloof Street,” he said.