Civic counters land-use application

An aerial view of the guest house which is at 9 Bellevue Avenue in Constantia.

A Constantia boutique hotel seeking retroactive land-use approval from the City has hit flak from a civic group.

The City of Cape Town is considering an application to rezone the Purple Rayn Boutique Hotel’s premises, at 9 Bellevue Avenue, from Single Residential Zone (SR1) to General Business (GB1).

The application also seeks to remove restrictions so as to permit the use of the existing buildings on the property.

This would allow for a hotel, three restaurants capable of seating a total of 90 guests and visitors, a beauty spa, a 72-seat, 250m2 marquee and 81 new off-street parking bays.

The closing date for comments and objections is Monday November 18.

According to the Purple Rayn Boutique Hotel website, the property already has 12 “luxurious” suites, three restaurants, two outdoor swimming pools, a hair salon and more features.

A separate application has been made to pay a fine for unauthorised building work and for running a hotel on residential premises.

GB1 provides for general business activity and mixed-use development of a medium to high intensity. Its primary use is for business premises, dwelling house, flats, place of worship, institution, hospital, place of entertainment, hotel and conference facility and more.

The application says the existing “single residential” land use allows for two houses and a bed-and-breakfast with up to three guest rooms on the property, whereas the proposed hotel rezoning would allow for guest accommodation, “in accordance with the City council’s guest accommodation policy” as well as restaurants and conference facilities.

Describing the hotel as a “guest house”, the application says it won’t be disruptive because it will be on large premises; traffic won’t be a problem because guests usually arrive sporadically and outside of peak hours; the marquee will be a tourist attraction for Constantia; and the rezoning will help to create jobs.

The application was submitted by the landowner, Mohammed Carriem, and Plan Africa Consulting, a town planning company.

The Constantia Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association (CRRA) are against the development.

CRRA manager John Hessom said they opposed the application and would meet this week to discuss the way forward.

The CRRA stated in its September newsletter that the property continued to operate without the appropriate planning permission despite protests by neighbours and the CRRA.

The CRRA claims the owners of Purple Rayn are now submitting a formal planning application in an attempt to legitimise what already exists illegally.

In February last year, the CRRA rejected Purple Rayn’s proposal for the removal of title deed restrictions because they said a guest house would hurt the character of the area.

In the rejection letter, Mr Hessom said: “Nowhere in Cape Town does one find large residential properties against the mountain like in this area. The exclusivity of these properties is protected by various parts of legislation, including restrictive conditions in the title deeds from when this township was established. To lose the special appeal of these properties will be a loss to the area, a loss to Constantia and a loss to Cape Town as a whole.”

Mr Hessom said a group of concerned neighbours was preparing to launch a court interdict against Purple Rayn Boutique Hotel and had asked the CRRA to support them.

Sara Carriem, chief executive officer at MFC Holdings (which owns Purple Rayn) said she had not received any complaints from any of the neighbours about any disruptions at the hotel. She said she was a member of the CRRA and a Constantia resident herself, and, at times, some of the CRRA members made use of the hotel themselves.

Ms Carriem said Purple Rayn had made a positive contribution to Cape Town tourism and that they had been trying to get the property rezoned since 2017.

She said she would only be available next week to give more detailed comment.

Ms Carriem did not allow the Bulletin to take pictures inside the property because she said she needed to protect her guests.