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Tuesday Jul 23, 2013

KZN golf estate objects to 'looming' warehouse

Mount Edgecombe golf estate residents had 'greatly exaggerated' the true impact of a steel-framed warehouse being built on adjacent land which, the developers said, was barely visible from most houses.

The developers of a warehouse on the boundary of the Mount Edgecombe housing estate near Durban say it is 'barely visible' from the 16th hole of the golf course, as seen in the left-hand upper corner of this photograph now attached to the court papers.

'It is not disputed that the estate is an upmarket one, secured from the real world by high palisade electrified security fence, gated access and control by security guards.

'However, on the other side of this fence the real world exists, which includes the industrial area directly adjacent,' the financial manager of Moss Ridge Properties, Yacoob Cassim Salot, said in his affidavit filed in the Durban High Court yesterday.

Salot is opposing an attempt by the management association to stop the construction of the warehouse, which the association says is an eyesore that looms large over the estate and, in particular, the 'signature' 16th hole of the golf course.

The association launched an urgent application claiming the city had told it the warehouse was being built without the required permission.

But Salot denied this yesterday, saying the approval process for the R80 million five-storey warehouse - which would occupy only 40 percent of the site, which had permissible coverage of 80 percent - had spanned a year.

'All requirements have been met and all approvals in place. The only outstanding requirement is the formal communication of the approval of coastal and drainage department,' Salot said.

He said Moss Ridge Properties and Freedom Stationery had common shareholders and the building was intended to be used by the stationery company as a dedicated storage facility with administrative offices.

The site was bought in 1997, before the housing estate was developed.

But a decision was taken only in 2009 - by virtue of a fire which destroyed stock worth R32m in a rented warehouse - to build the new warehouse.

He said the building complied with 'Moreland's beige with a green roof' requirement of the original developers of the land and 'while large' it was sensitive to its environment.

Regarding the specific complaint of one owner, Shaun Duminy, Salot said his house was not oriented towards the building, which was 'considerably less intrusive than was sought to be conveyed' and was, in fact, hardly visible.

He said the layout of the estate was generally away from the industrial area and he believed photographs used in the association's court papers had been taken to 'specifically suit their case' and were aimed at creating an incorrect impression.

'It can hardly be argued they were taken by surprise. They bought property immediately adjacent to an area which allows industrial buildings of five storeys in height to be erected. That was a right which existed prior to them acquiring their properties.

'There is no evidence as to whether or not the building will, in fact, have any effect on the value of the properties in this secluded estate,' he said, asking that the application be dismissed with costs.

The matter has been set down to be argued next week.

The Mercury


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