Planning by-law concerns

Neil McCarthy, Constantia

I refer to the letter by St John Fuller and reply from Marian Nieuwoudt on behalf of the City where she provides details of planning regulations for single residential zoning (“Questions over valley subdivisions,” Bulletin April 22).

Ms Nieuwoudt provides considerable information on permitted uses in single residential zoning which, although important, is not, in my view, the critical issue.

The two main criteria for appropriate planning are, and always have been, restrictions placed on coverage and bulk.

Ms Nieuwoudt quotes almost verbatim from the City’s Planning By-Law regarding second and third dwellings which provides that both second and third dwellings are permitted, provided that in both cases the floor space may not exceed that of the primary dwelling.

The by-law provides for a maximum floor space of 1500m² for the primary residence for all erf sizes and hence both the second and third dwellings may be 1500m² resulting in a total of 4 500m² on any single erf.

My property consists of two erven totalling about 9 000m², so, if my calculations are correct, structures totalling 9 000m² could be built thereon – consisting of six separate dwellings. I invite Ms Nieuwoudt to come and see for herself what the effect would be on the environment.

In addition to that the height of the buildings is restricted to 11m to the top of the roof, which could accommodate a three-storey building.

There is no coverage limit other than that determined by the boundary building lines.

If what I say is true then as far as I’m concerned these allowances ( I cannot call them restrictions), if acted upon would result in the total ruination of the Constantia valley as we know it today, and I sincerely hope that the Constantia Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CRRA), ward councillor and other interested parties are doing everything in their power to reject what is apparently a one-size-fits-all approach to planning with ridiculous permissible floor areas. I doubt if there is a single house in Constantia of 1 500m² let alone 4 500m².

Marian Nieuwoudt, the City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, responds: The City notes Mr McCarthy’s follow-up letter, however, he has misinterpreted our response.

We would like to point out that the Municipal Planning By-law provides for a maximum floor space of 1 500 m² for all land units that are larger than 650m2 . Thus, counted together, the total floor space area of the primary residence, second and third dwellings may not exceed 1 500 m2.

With reference to the concern regarding the height of buildings: the maximum height of 9m between the existing ground level and the wall plate applies, which is also applicable to erven larger than 650m².