Residents who intend to build a second dwelling, such as a granny flat, greater than 60m2 for their children or elderly parents have to pay a hefty development fee to the City of Cape Town.
The Penlyn Estate Civic Association (PECA) held a workshop on Wednesday April 6, to discuss the issue.
The policy, which was adopted by the council in May 2014, indicates that a once-off fee of between R18 000 and R30 000 will be charged on new single residential properties which have been rezoned and are less than 350m2 plots, as well as for a second dwelling such as granny flat which is bigger than 60m2.
According to Brett Herron, mayoral committee member of transport, the development charge makes provision for the cost of installing additional bulk engineering services to cater for the extra demand imposed by the increased land use that the City will have to supply to accommodate the new land use. “The primary land use planned for in the past was serviced by the existing infrastructure. However, as our population increases, the new developments will require more infrastructure and the principle was adopted that the user (in this case the landowner who develops a second dwelling) must pay for this demand for additional infrastructure for the provision of the services (roads, stormwater, water, sewer, solid waste) rather than to offload the cost onto existing ratepayers who will not have the benefit of the additional development and eventual increase in land value,” said Mr Herron.
The residents at the meeting said it is already pricey to build a second dwelling, and now an extra fee had to be paid before the building plans could be approved.
Residents also said they were not told about the development charges but recently found out about them through PECA treasurer Fuad Japtha who is also a spatial planning consultant.
However, Mr Herron said the issue had been the subject of a full public participation process across the city in 2014. According to him, the final implementation of the policy had been advertised in all the leading newspapers.
Mr Japtha said as a result of these charges, family values were being eroded for those wanting to help elderly parents and young married couples.
“This is a significant component of our society especially on the Cape Flats,” said Mr Japtha.
He said children or young couples could not always afford their own homes and a second dwelling was therefore a standard on most families’ properties as a starter home.
Mr Japtha said the City should encourage this practice and not penalise it with development charges.
“These development charges also have a negative impact on the economy as they push the cost of developments up by five to 10 percent, which, in most cases, results in the project not going ahead, which contributes to unemployment and other social ills, as the ordinary man in the street’s livelihood is severely affected,” he said.
Mr Herron said the City would not be able to reduce the development charges as they were calculated to reflect the actual cost to the City of providing the infrastructure for roads, water, and sanitation.
“If the City does not recover the actual cost from the developers (landowners), it may compromise service provision in the future,” he said.
“The development charges are included in the land-use approval as a condition, which is payable prior the approval of the building plans or in cases where no building plan approval is required prior to the utilisation of the dwelling,” he said.
But not all land development will require development charges.
The City outlines those land development applications for which a developer will have to pay development charges. This includes most rezoning applications, subdivision of properties, permanent departure of zoning scheme regulations, and consent use applications that result in a more intense land use as well as applications to amend conditions on a previous applications where the conditions limited the land use.