Plans for flats raise red flags

An artist's sketch of what the units would look like from the outside.

Windsor Park residents have raised red flags about a property developer’s plan to build a three-storey block of flats in De Jager Street.

They argue the flats will create a level of densification and increase traffic congestion, crime and overcrowding at schools.

Another block of flats, York Place, is on the opposite side of the road, and residents say entering their complex is already a daily ordeal because “De Jager Street is too small for road users”.

Chrysalis Projects submitted an application to the City of Cape Town on behalf of Vitatype Trading 66 CC to rezone 39 De Jager Street from Single Residential 1 to General Residential 2, to allow 30 units of approximately 50m2 each to be built in a secured complex.

Monday November 18 is the deadline for all objections and comments to be submitted, but, to date, there are no objections on the City’s records.

The application, drawn up by Chrysalis Projects town planner Nazeema van Rooyen, shows the 2267m2 plot will accommodate 41 on-site parking bays, four on-street parking bays, a refuse room, and a garden area including the 30 units and four flights of stairs.

But Neil Clarke, resident at the York Place complex, said, “it’s almost impossible to fit the flats and parking bays on that small plot”.

Traffic would be chaotic leading onto the N1 adjacent to York Road, he said.

“I am in disbelief that the City would even accept the application because it is common knowledge that the plans do not fit the description of the property.The property is in the shape of a triangle.”

Mr Clarke said he had not known about the plans but had then found a notice on a lamppost after being contacted by Northern News.

“We (residents) expected to receive emails or letters posted to us. I don’t know if I will be objecting just yet as I am shocked at the plans,” he said.

The land-use application seeks consent for a building line setback 1.7m from the plot to the York Street and 1.83m relaxation for the departures on De Jager Street.

Each flat will have two bedrooms, a bathroom containing a basin, toilet, bath and a shower. There is also a 4.9m2 balcony planned for each flat and the flats will be “sold in the open market and not merely rented,” according to the application.

When Northern News emailed questions to Ms Van Rooyen on Tuesday October 22, she was happy to respond by our deadline. However, in a follow-up call with her on Monday, October 28 she refused to comment.

“If we had the answers for you, we would respond to the email, but I don’t,” she added.

Northern News called the phone number Ms Van Rooyen gave us for Vitatype Trading 66 CC, but the number is no longer in use. When we tried to check the number with her or get an alternative number, she said: “That’s the only number I have.” She wasn’t prepared to comment further.

According to company records, Wouter le Roux and Albertus Engel are listed as the owners of the close corporation. Northern News was unable to reach them for comment by the time this edition went to print.

Windsor Park resident, Annalene van der Watt, said although the plot was an eyesore because of unkempt grass and “bad elements”, having a “cramped up” block of flats was not a good alternative.

“This plot would be a great spot for a play park for children in our community as our kids have no place to play. These plans were not properly thought through, and we were not aware. So these flats were just going to be put up here without our knowledge?”

Residents had yet to meet to discuss the issue, she said.

Ward 102 councillor Rhynhardt Bresler said he had received the application and had arranged a meeting with officials to get clarity on the project.

“In principle, I have no objection to it (the plans) as there is a similar development across the road, but we will wait and see for the public participation process,” Mr Bresler said.

City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said the application could be viewed at the City’s Planning Development Management offices on Brighton Road in Windsor Park Estate.

He encouraged residents to “view the motivation for the application.”

A traffic assessment was unnecessary, he said, because there were plans for a splay (widening of a road) on the corner of De Jager and York Streets.

Had residents been notified of the plans to develop? He replied: “The public participation process started on October 14. Residents and interested parties were notified via an advertisement in the media, an on-site notice, and registered mail to surrounding property owners.”

Mr Tyhalibongo said the development was a private one and would not contribute to the City’s need for social housing.

Comments and objections can be sent to Comments_Objections.Northern@capetown.gov.za

Cn rk windsor park 1- A new block of flats is on the cards for Windsor Park.

Cn rk windsor park 2- The site development plan for 39 De Jager Street, Windsor Park.

Cn rk windsor park 3- An artists sketch of what the units would look like from the outside.