Turn-around time decreased

2018-07-26 06:01

KOUGA Municipality has set out to decrease the turn-around time for the approval of building plans in order to stimulate economic growth in the area.

Planning, Development and Tourism Portfolio Councillor Bryan Dhludhlu said the municipality’s Town Planning department was being beefed up to address the many challenges that used to delay the processing of applications.

“The previous municipal leadership cut the department down to the bone,” he said.

“There were serious staff shortages and they had to operate from a residential house in Humansdorp without sufficient office or filing space. There also wasn’t an integrated electronic system that enabled staff to track progress on applications from start to finish.”

He said critical appointments had already been made to strengthen the department while its new offices, at Woltemade Street in Jeffreys Bay, would also improve operations.

“We have further budgeted for the roll-out of an integrated electronic system in this new financial year. There are various roleplayers other than Town Planning involved in the processing of applications. These would include, for example, the Fire and Environmental Health Department. The system will allow Town Planning to track the progress on applications and boost the overall service we offer to applicants.”

Dhludhlu said that while internal challenges had been contributing to the delay in the approval of building plans, applicants also had a role to play in ensuring that their applications met all the requirements.

“There are instances where plans have to be referred back to the applicant because they do not comply with the requirements set by the National Building Regulations. This adds to the delay in granting approval.

There are also instances where the building plan opens up the possibility of that property being used for something different to what the zoning allows, in which case a rezoning or land-use application also has to be submitted.”

He invited prospective applicants to contact the Town Planning department at 042 200 2200 to discuss the requirements before applications are submitted.

“This will help applicants to ensure that their submissions are complete and cut back on the turn-around time.”

The monetary value of building plans submitted from April to June 2018 amounted to R167 million while the value of those approved during the same time totalled almost R137 million.

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