Application could lead to half-size plots on the North Coast

This wall at 18 Ellis Place is clearly over the normal building line.

Many Ballito residents realised at the 11th hour that an innocuous-sounding municipal notice could, in fact have far-reaching implications for property values throughout the KwaDukuza region.

In August, following a legal notice in this newspaper, residents adjoining Ellis Place, between Townsend Road and Avondale Drive received a notice from the municipality that the developer of a property at 18 Ellis Place had applied for town planning requirements to be changed “from Rode 6 to Rode 2”.

This meant nothing to the average homeowner and most ignored the notice. Objections to the application were to be submitted by Monday this week, September 10.

However, alarm bells went off when a few neighbours realised the implications of this change.

“If approved it potentially means anyone on the North Coast with a traditional special residential site with a minimum lot size of 900sq m will be able to divide their site into two, increase their coverage from 30% to 75%, increase their floor area ratio (FAR) from 0.35 to 0.6, and decrease their building lines on sides from 2m to 1.5m on sides and from 7.5m on front to 3m,” one told the Courier.

This could open the gates for double the number of dwellings on half the land. Even existing homeowners with 900 sq m would be able to divide their properties and build one or more units on the remainder.

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“There may be a number of people in KwaDukuza who for financial or other reason would wish to follow suit and divide their properties, but the impact in the long run is negative unless it is done in an ordered fashion from the outset.

“Developments such as Seaward Estate are designed for a certain density of living and everyone knows what they are buying into. If this is allowed it will be impossible to ensure a fair and appropriate outworking of ad hoc development in an area already established for so many years.”

Professionals the Courier approached agreed and said there could be significant implications on the quality and nature of the urban space in future.

The extent of green space would be threatened as the coverage for the area would be more than double (from 30% to 75%). With hard surfaces required for driveways, dry yards and pathways there would be very little green space left.

“Though this is only one property applying for these rights, it is the long-term implication if many properties start doing the same thing which would change the entire urban atmosphere in the area.”

They stressed that Ballito and Salt Rock were not designed for dense living, which could have knock-on effects for privacy, strain on bulk services such as sewage and stormwater, and increased traffic. Ultimately this would affect property prices.

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One resident who managed to submit an objection just before the time limit on Monday was Dr Kevin Stevens, chairman of the Ballito Business Centre body corporate, just to the north of Ellis Place.

Dr Stevens said he had not realised the implications of the notice until he discussed it with an urban planning professional.

“What is concerning is that the notice, at face value, gave no hint of the seriousness of its intent.

“The average home owner is not equipped to deal with notices for proposed amendments to town planning schemes. Most people do not even know what FAR or coverage refer to and there is no reason they would if they are not in the property industry,” Dr Stevens said.

Property professionals have long called for the re-instatement of a review committee as existed under the old Dolphin Coast municipality representing the general public on any application that will create precedent or have a large impact on the wider community.

Such a committee could be made up of property developers, town planners, engineers, building contractors and municipal town planning officials who could jointly review, in an impartial manner, submissions that affected zoning changes or relaxations to the town planning scheme.

To date the municipality has resisted calls for such a review committee involving the property industry and officials.

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  AUTHOR
Bruce Stephenson
Editor

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