Land Use Scheme brings wave of change

A large number of Kensington residents attended the consultation meeting regarding the draft land use scheme.

By Busi Vilakazi

Kensington Residents and Ratepayers Association (KRRA) held a consultation meeting about the draft land use scheme on September 20.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the draft scheme and for residents to provide input.

On June 29 the City of Joburg granted approval for public consultations to commence.

The scheme seeks to do away with the city’s old planning schemes adopted in the 1970s and early 1980s, in favour of a new single, consolidated regulatory tool.

Issues that the draft scheme deals with that were discussed at the meeting were:

• Where to open a spaza shop in Kensington?

• Can one build an extension to their house?

• Who can rent out rooms and under what conditions?

• How many storeys can a building be?

Residents expressed concerns about the effects of the new land use scheme on their suburb and property value.

Residents said the city is failing to enforce bylaws allowing suburbs like Kensington to have spaza shops.

They questioned how CoJ will ensure the situation is controlled and questioned the need for spaza shops in Kensington.

Residents called for the policy to protect property owners and consideration for the area’s historical value.

Ward 118 Clr Neuren Pietersen said the consultation meetings are important as the land use scheme will affect everyone.

“Times have changed and the policy we are currently using is three decades old. There are 13 different historic town planning schemes in the city. They differ in the definition of land use and also prescribe different processes to obtain land use rights.

“The current situation cannot be sustained and makes it difficult for law enforcement. With this new land use scheme it will be easier as it will be consolidated,” said Pietersen.

He urged residents to get involved in the process.

“When a community speaks in one voice it carries more weight. People need to join community groups as they are the correct platforms to discuss community issues and keep records. These records can be used when you complain to the city and have supporting information. That way problems can be addressed,” said Pietersen.

MMC for Development Planning, Funzela Ngobeni, said the scheme is an important tool for zoning law enforcement in the city.

Kensington Residents and Ratepayers Association chairperson, Brendon Burmester, addresses the residents.

“The scheme can be used to drive economic development within the city by increasing employment opportunities for many of our residents, particularly the youth,” said Ngobeni.

The aim of the draft land use scheme is to:

• Establish new processes for land development that will promote economic development and attract investment.

• Implement the City’s Spatial Development Framework to provide meaningful redress.

• Introduce compatible land use and lawful enforcement with respect to zoning in order to safeguard land development investment and reduce risks to public health and business confidence.

• Make provision for socio-economic zones with customised rules for development.

• Ensure that land development preserves natural and heritage resources for future generations.

KRRA chairperson, Brendon Burmester said they were pleased about the attendance at the meeting.

“As the association, we have been working to put together the comments and objections to the proposed policy. We are concerned about the lack of bylaw enforcement and the impact this would have on the new land use scheme.

“However, we are pleased with the prospect of a single policy for the entire metro,” said Burmester.

He said they are concerned about a number of aspects of the policy and have included those items in the minutes which are available on their website at www.KRRA.org.za

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Busi Vilakazi

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