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Monday Mar 08, 2010

Cape Town council wants to bend urban edge for developer

Despite strong objections from the national Department of Agriculture and residents in the area, the City of Cape Town has recommended changes to the urban edge in Kraaifontein to allow for a 14 000-unit residential development.

The application, made by Garden Cities last April, has been referred by the city's planning and environment portfolio committee to the provincial government for approval.

The 700-hectare site includes portions of two farms, including a portion owned by the city council.

In a report submitted to the portfolio committee, Gert Kruger of the city's strategy and planning office said the council would allow Garden Cities to include its portion as part of their application to amend the urban edge.

But even if the land was not used for the residential development, the city still wanted the urban edge to be changed to open the way for future development in that area.

Durbanville Community Forum (DCF) chairman George Sieraha said the urban edge guidelines were the only protection and safeguard of land.

"The DCF's position is that farming land abutting development, including land that is currently less arable, must be protected for future farming and sustainable food production, as well as for the protection of urban landscapes."

Sieraha said the DCF recognised the need for development and demand for housing.

The Garden Cities development falls within the north-east growth corridor of the Kraaifontein/Durbanville area. There are about 1 000 backyard dwellers in the nearby Fisantekraal and a further 1 000 informal dwellers on the city's portion of the site.

But the agriculture department said the development was "urban sprawl" that would encroach on an agricultural area.

"This is a leapfrog development into an agricultural area, which is against the government's aim and objective of compact cities and towns and infill development."

There has, however, been no objection from the provincial departments of transport and environmental affairs, Eskom, or the city's transport and utility services directorates.

During a public comment period, objections were raised about the proximity of social housing to Fisantekraal Airport, but Garden Cities said the development was 1.5km away from the airfield. District plans for the area noted that land next to the airfield could be used for residential developments and the airfield might eventually be forced to relocate.

In letters of response, Garden Cities planners said only a small area being rezoned was used for agriculture. The site was also within a growth corridor identified by the city.

Cape Times

 
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