More cell masts, densification with new by-law

The City of Cape Town’s Council has approved amendments to the Municipal Planning By-law (MPBL).

Once promulgated, the amendments will, among others, allow for controlled densification, short-term letting from flats, and minor freestanding and minor rooftop cell masts, either as of right or as a consent use.   

The by-law regulates development and land use in Cape Town.

The approval follows a public participation process which ran from March 1 to April 1 with six public information sessions having been held in Milnerton, Kraaifontein, the Cape Town CBD, Fish Hoek, Goodwood and Strand, with a public hearing in Parow on March 30.

After the proposed amendments were presented to the 24 sub-councils, they were made available at the sub-council offices as well as online.

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

Ms Nieuwoudt said planning officials 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,” she said.

Some of the amendments include a provision that allows for short-term letting from a house or flat for a period not exceeding 30 consecutive days. This, the City said, is in response to the increase in short-term letting via online platforms such as AirBnB.

“Many submissions supported this provision as it will contribute to our local economy and tourism sector, and job creation. We recommend to body corporates, homeowners’ associations and the like to control or prohibit short-term letting in accordance with their own rules and to address issues of security or behaviour,” she said.

The amendment also makes provision for a third dwelling as an additional use right for properties zoned as Single Residential. This means that the property owner is allowed to add a third dwelling on the property without prior approval from the City.

This will be subject to the normal development rules of the property and specified additional conditions (conditions would typically determine the size and height of the third dwelling).