Eatery owners go to court in bid to get Msunduzi’s approval

2019-10-11 13:39

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A couple have gone to the Pietermaritzburg high court to try and get the go-ahead to operate a restaurant and pub in Northdale.

Nirvan and Anusha Maharaj want the court to order Msunduzi Municipality to approve their rezoning application — from special residential to general business.

The case came before the court this week and has been adjourned to a date to be arranged.

The municipality is opposing the matter, saying that the necessary requirements to get final approval have not yet been met.

Nirvan Maharaj said in court papers that he and his wife bought the property in Bangalore Road in July 2017, specifically to open a restaurant and pub to service the area.

“In order for us to proceed with our plan to open a new business in the area, we applied for the property to be specially rezoned as a general business zone as the surrounding area is largely zoned as a special residential zone,” he said.

The couple then applied to the municipality for the special rezoning of the property.

He said the planning approval authority initially approved the application. However, this was subject to there being no objections.

Maharaj added that there was one objection by a community member, which was dismissed, but that person appealed the decision.

The appeal advisory committee then handed a report on the Maharajs’ application and the objection to the municipality’s executive committee to decide on a way forward.

He said it approved the application, subject to certain conditions that Maharaj claims they complied with. He said the matter then went back to Exco.

He was advised by a general manager that the only outstanding item preventing the approval was an application for an amendment of the scheme, for the relaxation of the required parking bays.

However, Maharaj added that no such requirement is recorded on Exco’s resolution.

He complained about this to the general manager and the matter has not been resolved.

Acting municipal manager Neliswe Ngcobo said of critical importance were two issues: the need for sufficient parking on the property for patrons of the proposed restaurant, and the need for the couple to make use of the road verge to secure access to the property and for the purpose of additional parking.

She said the couple failed to submit the required amended traffic impact statement in order to meet the requirements.

Ngcobo also said that the couple’s conduct throughout the land use application process has been unfortunate. They initially commenced with building or renovating the then existing residential property without having first complied with the relevant laws. This resulted in the municipality issuing various compliance notices that were not adhered to by the couple.

The municipality then had to go to court for an order compelling them to comply.

There were numerous other statutory non-compliances.

Ngcobo added that the municipality can’t go against its by-laws and Land Use Scheme and approve the application when the couple have not met the necessary requirements.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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