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Wednesday Sep 15, 2021

Cape Town puts reduced parking requirements on hold

Property developers are outraged by Cape Town's decision to put its parking reduction strategy on hold because of public participation requirements.

The Western Cape Property Development Forum (WCPDF) said its members were "reeling" from the news which could see a number of developers, contractors and their associated sub-contractors close their doors.

WCPDF chairperson Deon van Zyl said the decision was a huge blow and would have a knock-on effect on the industry.

He said it would see certain developments no longer being feasible and pre-sales agreements with potential buyers fall away due to delays and timing-out contracts.

In addition, development and land use applications, along with building plans currently under consideration by the City, would need to be reassessed, Van Zyl said.

"Even those developments able to survive this will still need to have building plans already submitted sent back to the drawing board with associated costs and delays."

Van Zyl said a six-month delay would increase construction costs by at least 3% plus holding costs on the land.

"For every R1 billion, you are looking at a R1 million per month or R33 000 per day."

Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Niewoudt said she would not speculate on the number of applications that were under consideration, but said the City received a "substantial" number of applications from eight districts.

Niewoudt said the City was advised by its legal counsel that it had not followed a "proper" public engagement process, although she had had engagement with communities in Sea Point, Green Point and the inner City.

"We were advised that we need to conduct a proper public participation process because we had not published the PT1 and PT2 parking zone maps. But developers who had already put in applications can apply for deviation," said Niewoudt.

She would not give a timeline on the public participation process but said it would happen not later than January/February 2022.

"It will be difficult to conduct it now as this is an election period."

The City announced earlier this week that it would have to publish a draft map demarcating the reduced off-street parking requirements for developments in areas with access to MyCiTi, mini-bus taxi and Golden Arrow bus services.

Van Zyl raised concern with the legal opinion commissioned by the City. "Clearly, no one on that legal panel considered the economic impact of this withdrawal. Had there been a well-informed and balanced view, the opinion should rather have resulted in a transitional arrangement wherein the existing strategy would have been adapted for at least those land use and building plan applications that had already been submitted and approved.

"This would also have enabled the City to raise and receive application fees. But this will not happen now," he said, adding that the decision to withdraw the plans was as a result of complaints from "some well-heeled" communities.

He also questioned whether the objecting communities felt they would be impacted by the actual parking reduction strategy, or whether the move was a reaction to the failure of the City to timeously renew its parking marshal programme.

"It means that once again the opinions of a handful are being allowed to derail progress, investment and economic growth," said Van Zyl.

He said the withdrawal also went against efforts to limit vehicle usage and make Cape Town "a sustainable, public- transportoriented" city.

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)12 Sep 2021BULELWA PAYI


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