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Monday May 20, 2013

Controversial Zwaanswyk property rezoning goes ahead

Zwaanswyk residents are crying foul after a Cape Town management committee recommended the approval of a new upmarket housing development despite overwhelming opposition - and say the rezoning application was procedurally flawed and contradicted the council's density policies.

The Allandale Holiday Cottages in Zwaanswyk Road, Tokai.

The spatial planning and land use management committee has given the nod to a proposal to build 19 houses for the retirement market in Zwaanswyk, Tokai. It recommended that the mayoral committee and council approve it.

The proposal has been widely opposed by residents and ward councillor Penny East, of the DA.

East says although the committee supports the proposal, the development has no place in Zwaanswyk.

Owners of the Allandale Holiday Cottages submitted a rezoning application to the committee for the construction of 19 double-storey houses to be sold as sectional titles to the "retirement market".

About 30 years ago the Allandale Trust received zoning rights for the property, which now has "special residential rights" for the holiday cottages on the plot.

After strong opposition, it reduced the number of houses. The owners said the redesign was in response to SANParks, the residents and subcouncil's objections regarding the impact on the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), which borders the land.

According to the committee's latest report for the rezoning application, there were 61 objections, including one from SANParks. There were only five letters of support.

Mornè du Plessis, a resident, said the most significant objections were that if the development went ahead, the character and spatial plans for the area would be violated.

"There are about 90 homeowners in Zwaanswyk and most people objected strenuously. We just feel the whole process is absolutely violating city policies. Some amendments to the initial proposal were made and we haven't been asked to comment on it again. It seems they are trying to slip it through for approval."

East said the subcouncil strongly rejected the proposal.

"As the subcouncil we don't feel the level of densification is appropriate," she said.

"Zwaanswyk is zoned for single residential use and in no way does the number of dwellings in the development compared to the size of the land comply with the density in the surrounding area... It's a multidwelling development and this area was not designed to have those.

"I will never be convinced that it is a good idea. It's just out of place in Zwaanswyk, but there is now no good legal reason to decline it, I have to accept that it is seen as compliant."

Derek Chittenden, an urban planner, said: "It's astonishing that officials supported this when we put up a cogent argument. I don't think residents should stop here, it's a major intrusion into the area. The owners are abusing the rights they have for the property."

Committee chairman Christo Kannenberg said: "(The committee) recommended it for approval because the amended proposal was downscaled and removed a number of the proposed properties from the boundary. We saw this as a bit of a compromise. The plot has been zoned for holiday units. The development would be much more upmarket... and more suitable to that environment."

Cape Times


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