Joburg`s new town planning scheme spells disaster

Joburg`s new town planning scheme spells disaster

SAPOA says the city needs to go back to the drawing board.

Johannesburg, Dec 5 (I-Net Bridge) - The City of Johannesburg's new town planning scheme is unworkable according to the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA).

The City of Jo'burg implemented a new town planning scheme last week - The Consolidated Johannesburg Town Planning Scheme 2011 - intended to combine over a dozen different planning schemes or zoning regulations in the municipal area of Johannesburg into one set of uniform zoning provisions, without altering existing zoning or development rights attached to any particular property.

However, SAPOA argued that instead of streamlining town planning in this growing city, the errors and inadequacies of the scheme were so severe that the city needed to go back to the drawing board.

SAPOA also pointed to a number of alarming bombshells buried in its fine print.An effective appropriation of rights without compensation arose from a clause that provided for approved rights which were not exercised within 24 months to become "null and void".

The scheme also stated that the municipality was not bound by its own town planning scheme.

Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA said, "We acknowledge that there is a need for a town planning scheme that ensures the regulation of land is uniform and more efficient throughout the municipal area, but this is not what this document does".

According to SAPOA's professional and legal advice, the 2011 Jo'burg Town Planning scheme contradicted itself in numerous places, referred to schedules and annexures not in the document, contained an abundance of inadequate and confusing definitions, and even contradicted other legislation, such as its definition of an "erf" which doesn't conform with the Land Survey Act.

"In general the new scheme is poorly compiled. The meaning and interpretation of many provisions is impossible to understand - either logically or legally," according to Gopal, who elaborated that this was the conclusion reached by a large number of professionals and practitioners in the field of town planning.

"In fact, three full sections were missing from the copy supplied to SAPOA and despite repeated efforts requesting this information, we have yet to receive it".

"The lack of interaction in terms of acknowledgement of letters, submissions made, requests for information, and so forth, from the City of Johannesburg is a worrying trend".
He noted that this was only one in a long chain of events where the city had switched off to the needs of its commercial property owners and homeowners, who were the largest rates payers.

He said: "We, and other professionals, intend to lodge an appeal to the Townships Board".


Denny Crane

Denny Crane
It's not me ... yet. Denny Crane from the TV series Boston Legal. Click on picture if you're not sure who he is!