By-laws accepted

New exco committee.

Civic groups in Oakdale and Boston say they welcome changes to the municipal planning by-law but will keep an eye on how they are implemented. 

Late last month, the City approved amendments to the by-law, which regulates development and land use in the city.
The amendments allow for minor free-standing cell masts (up to 12m high) or minor rooftop masts (up to 1.5m high) – without prior land-use approval from the City or adjacent landowners – on properties zoned for community use such as churches, schools, clinics and hospitals and spaces zoned for utilities, transport, public open space and agriculture.
A single mast up to 1.5m high wall will be allowed, with City permission, on single and general-residential properties.
The amendments allow short-term letting from a house or flat for up to 30 consecutive days, in response, says the City, to the rise in online businesses such as Airbnb.
Meanwhile, third dwellings can be build without prior City approval (although building plans must still be passed) on single-residential properties.
The City put the proposed amendments out for public comment in March, and officials answered six public information sessions in Milnerton, Kraaifontein, Cape Town CBD, Fish Hoek, Goodwood and Strand.
Wimpy Els, chairman of the Boston Ratepayers Association, said he was not opposed to the by-laws, but he would monitor the way they were implemented. 
“Whatever is done has to be done with the accordance of the long-standing agreement between the neighbourhood and the City of Cape Town.”
Mr Els said: “I know the City can put up minor cell masts and I know that there are lots of technical issues that go into the construction of those, but it still has to be done to complement the area. For example, some of the masts have up to 20 dishes on them and that can be an eyesore.”
Mr Els said Boston residents should remember that any changes made on their property also had to be to the community’s advantage.
“There are also certain legislation that were put into place among the residents of Boston, so as long as people keep to their guidelines then there will be no problems. In Boston we have a saying that the neighbourhood comes first, and that should always be remembered by everybody who stays here.
Of course, building extra buildings could bring more money to the their pockets in terms of accommodation or opening a business, and we encourage residents to show initiative, but it must be done in the right way.”
Oakdale Neighbourhood Watch chairman Marius Coetser encouraged those with grievances to voice their concerns via the appropriate avenues.
“It is in the interest of the public to participate in the sessions made available by the City and to raise concerns on these platforms. If the communities are not responding appropriately, there will also be no recourse once these by-laws are implemented. As a resident of the City of Cape Town, I will raise my concerns on the platforms provided.”  

The City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said: “All-in-all we received 131 submissions from residents, ratepayer’s associations and other interested parties and I want to thank them for their valuable input.” 

Ms Nieuwoudt said planning officials had assessed these with great care, and made some changes to the proposed amendments.
“For example, following on from the constructive public engagement process, it was decided to omit the section about emergency housing altogether, as it needs further refinement, and we added provisions to the section that deals with the third dwelling as an additional use right.”
Ms Nieuwoudt also added that the by-law allowing for residents to short-let their properties was met with mostly positive response as it served as a way for homes to make extra income.