Sub-council 7 is holding off on approving a City bid to sell public land worth almost R4 million for a place of worship.
The City wants to sell the 2000m² plot, in De Villiers Avenue, through public tender open to all religious organisations.
Councillors say they want a clear plan of the site drawn up before giving their blessing to the sale of erf 4481, situated between the Durbanville clinic and the New Apostolic Church and currently zoned public open space.
The issue was discussed at Sub-council 7’s meeting on Tuesday February 14.
Suzette Little, mayoral committee member for area north, said the sale of the land for religious purposes was in line with City’s general disposal programme.
Ward 105 councillor Ruan Beneke said vacant land in Durbanville’s CBD was scarce and while he was not against a place of worship, he felt they needed a “formal plan” for the area.
“We need more planning for the area and need to consider the knock-on effect that it would have on this area in particular and other businesses,” he said.
Chairman and Ward 103 councillor Gerhard Fourie agreed that an oversight plan should be done.
This item was previously tabled at a sub-council meeting in May and June last year, when councillors called for a broader public participation process.
Rashad Davids, an official from the City’s property management department, said they had consulted with various departments and sub-branches within the City, to determine if they needed the property, before considering the sale of the land.
Mr Davids said they had also advertised more extensively during July 2016, to comply with the sub-council’s request for wider public canvassing.
According to a council document,only one objection was received during this time.
The resident who objected asked how the sale of the land would affect traffic and parking in the already busy De Villiers Avenue.
The resident said the land was already being used for extra parking by the church and the clinic, and he was worried about the impact the development would have on the community.
Mr Fourie admitted in the meeting that De Villiers Avenue was indeed “busy”.
Mr Beneke asked why the land could not be sold and used as parking.
Ms Little said various city departments, including traffic and the transport urban development authority, would consider public concerns as part of the rezoning application.
During the 2016 public participation process, residents took to Facebook to voice their opinions.
“It is not my place to argue for or against,” said one commentator, “but a point to consider – has enough space been allocated for parking. I am aware of such an institution in Panorama, which uses an open public park to park their cars.”
Another said: “Please residents… don’t come and complain after the fact. If you have comments or objections, please forward them with good reason to Mr Davids at the City.”
Proportional councillor Franklyn Raymond questioned how the 60cm-wide servitude, which was needed on the land, would affect the size of the property and whether the space was big enough for a place of worship.
Ms Little said there was a 60cm-diameter stormwater pipe running along the western and southern boundary of the site over which a servitude would need to be registered.
“It is not expected to have a significant impact on the development of the site,” she said.
Mr Raymond said although the final decision did not rest with them, councillors brought valuable local knowledge to the council and it was important for them to consider the bigger picture for the area.
“We need to look at the greater plan for the area, as councillors we owe it to the public,” he said.