OBS comments on proposed MPBL

2019-04-09 06:01

Following the City of Cape Town’s invitation for public comment on the proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-Law (MPBL), the Observatory Civic Association has tabled its comments on the invitation.

The MPBL is mandated to regulate developments and land use in the city.

A number of amendments to the by-law as part of its annual review process and to give effect to the policies and strategies that have been adopted by the city council over the past few years was proposed.

Mayco for spatial planning and environment Marian Niewoudt said six information sessions were held across the city. “Officials gave presentations about the impact and consequences of the proposed amendments and attendees had the opportunity to ask questions. The outcomes at the first three information sessions were below expectation. I want to remind residents who own property in Cape Town that some of the proposed amendments may have an impact on property rights, as well as on future developments and land uses,” Niewoudt explained.

The following are some of the proposed amendments:

. Amendments to the emergency housing provisions which will include the City to provide temporary housing on land that may not be zoned for such purpose for a period of six months without needing to undertake a public participation process beforehand;

. To insert provisions that will control the height and permeation, among others, of standard boundary walls;

. The City is proposing an additional level to measure height. Height is a contentious issue on sites and in areas with steep slopes and most complaints relate to the impact of height in neighbouring views, privacy and sunlight. The intention is to, in the end, produce a ground level map that will cover all sites and land in Cape Town so that there is certainty in terms of the allowed height for each and every site/ property across the city;

. A new provision that allows for short-term letting from a house or flat for a period not exceeding 30 consecutive days. This is in response to the increase in short-term letting through online platforms.

The civic association questioned the seriousness of this consultation process and whether it was adequate in terms of the Municipal Services Act.

In a statement sent to People’s Post, the association said that the City published amendments to the MPBL for comments in November 2015 and the public was given the same one-month period to comment.

“At that time, the number of amendments put out for comment totaled to 58. This round of amendments totaled 87 changes; which is a 57% increase in the number of changes that members of the public are expected to scrutinise by the due date,” the statement read.

“Six information sessions of two hours each were held in six localities to the City, after hours. Two of our members attended one of these meetings and their experience was that there was insufficient time to deal with a lot of very complex matters and the meeting content was not able to allow them to feed back any useful information to their civic.”

In the statement it was said that extra time for consultation would have been beneficial to the process, which would have allowed for a better response and more informed feedback.

The public comments process ended on Monday last week.V For more info visit https://bit.ly/2uLwkfJ and to read the OBS comments visit https://bit.ly/2VnxWZ1

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