Proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law

The City hosted an information session for the public to have their say on proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law.

The City has kept its cards very close when it comes to the proposed amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL).

This was heard at an information session hosted by the City on Thursday, March 7, at the Civic Centre.

The MPBL regulates developments and land use in the city. The public participation period about the proposed amendments to the MPBL is now in its third week.

The information session aimed to make residents and interested and affected parties aware of the impact and consequences of the proposed amendments.

The City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, led the session together with the officials from the land use management department.

The MPBL was adopted in 2015 and it was resolved that it could be reviewed annually.

Some of the 15 proposed amendments relate to, among others, emergency housing, the installation of minor freestanding cell masts, a third dwelling as an additional use right, short-term letting from flats and the role of heritage overlay when assessing a land use application.

At the session, Dennis Katz raised concerns about some property owners who lease out their flats for a few days. He said this causes major security concerns as people walk in and out every three days.

“This transient letting is becoming a nightmare and an unhappy situation for people who’ve been living there for decades. I’ve suggested that they rent out the flats for longer periods so that the residents can get to know the tenants, but they are refusing, stating that they make a lot of money through this.”

Mr Katz asked whether they have a right to lease out the apartments for short-term stay to which the City’s land use management representative, Richard Walton, answered no.

“The City has made it very clear that the current legislation doesn’t allow transient accommodation in flats.”

He said the City has received many complaints from people living in flats about this but it was not within their power to enforce.

Mr Walton said they have had court cases regarding the matter where they have taken people on but unfortunately at times, they struggled to get sufficient evidence to satisfy the prosecutor.

He said this was a difficult situation for the City and some applications to regularise this were still sitting with the City’s appeal committee.

Another resident shared Mr Katz’s sentiments. She said they were now stuck in a situation where one owner wants to rent out his apartment for a short-term.

She asked whether the City could support and help them in this situation.

Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association secretary, Jacky Poking, said they were studying the amendments and would comment once they were clear about what the amendments meant for them.

“The Heritage Protection Overlay Zone( HPOZ) falls within the amendments and we need to understand what this means. At present, all that I can say is that we are studying the amendments and getting input from various sources in order for us to make an informed comment.”

Ms Poking urged the City to advertise the information sessions more widely.

“The City should have more than one information session per ward/ or sub-council. There is definitely a wide interest in these amendments to the MPBL and I think the City should note that and have more information sessions to engage with the public,” she said.

Interested parties, including residents, ratepayers’ associations and bodies corporate must submit their comments on the City’s proposed amendments by Monday April 1. The full set of proposed amendments and the guideline document with more information are available at the 24 sub-council offices and on the City’s website at www.capetown.gov.za/haveyoursay.