Procedure was followed

Brett Herron, Mayoral committee member for transport and urban development

The article “City under fire” (Atlantic Sun, October 19) refers.

The land use applications in question (from the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa) were processed under the Land Use Planning Ordinance (LUPO – Act 15/1985). Despite the repeal of the ordinance, any action taken or application made before the commencement of the Municipal Planning By-Law (2015) which has not been finalised immediately before the commencement of this by-law, must be finalised in terms of the Land Use Planning Act.

LUPO and the time frames and procedures that were applicable at the time are different from the Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL). I must point out from the onset that the building plans that were submitted after the land use approvals were primarily to regularise unauthorised uses relating to the helipad, the massage huts and the tan deck.

One of the conditions of the land use approval was the need for the developer to submit a fire management plan before building plan approval, which the applicant submitted before the building plan was approved. It is also important to note that the applications that the City processed were basically to regularise the status quo, including the fire break and other unauthorised uses/buildings.

The land use application record was created on December 17 2014 and fees generated and paid on the same day. The applications were assessed for completeness and an extensive list of outstanding information was identified and communicated to the applicant on December 29 2014 (within the permitted 14 days). The applicant submitted the additional information on February 5 2015 and thereafter an advertising notice was prepared and sent to the applicant on March 20 2015.

The applicant undertook advertising and comments received during advertising and internal circulation were sent to the applicant for a response on May 19 2015.

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) authorisation was still outstanding and was only received on 15 September 2016 after which a report was drafted and approved on February 8 2017. The applicant confirmed on March 2 2017 that no appeal will be lodged and a final notification was issued on March 7 2017.A record for the building plan was first created on 30/03/2017 for the following unauthorised structures/uses: a helipad, tan deck, massage huts as well as fire extinguisher housing.

The plan could not be cleared as it did not comply with the conditions of the land use approval, especially the one relating to the submission of a fire management plan. The applicant subsequently complied with the land use conditions and a compliant building plan was submitted only on September 15 2017 and was approved on October 4 2017 (19 days in lieu of the statutory 30 days).

Again, given that all the applications that the City was processing were primarily to regularise the existing situation, I fail to see the connection of City approvals with the applicant’s ability to deal with any threat arising from any fire.