City of Cape Town is ‘hell-bent on development’

Cape Argus
March 6th, 2014

The City of Cape Town may soon be able to make changes to the urban edge, allowing for developments to take place on agricultural land anywhere in the city, without the approval of the provincial government.
Civic organisations say it could open the door for development on land earmarked for agriculture.

‘This is changing the law to promote development outside the urban edge,’ said Gavin Smith of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance.

According to a report submitted yesterday to the city’s economic, environmental and spatial planning committee: ‘The executive mayor has formally requested the premier in terms of section 4(7) of LUPO to have the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework withdrawn as a section 4(6) structure plan.’

‘We are not sure of the full intention as it will allow the mayor to alter the parameters without the province,’ said Smith. It would effectively excise the province’s oversight role in planning decisions, he said.

De Lille told the Cape Argus yesterday the city had sought the withdrawal because the ‘dual approval status of the Cape Town Spatial Development Framework has created duplicate procedures whereby parallel processes have to be followed to amend the framework, which are unnecessary’. The request was made last month. Smith said areas like the Philippi Horticultural Area could come under review.

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell has turned down an application to extend the urban edge in this area to allow for a housing development.

Smith said the primary role of the urban edge was to protect the city’s rural, natural and agricultural resources.

Although the portfolio committee yesterday turned down an application to change the urban edge in Kuils River to allow for a private residential development, the implication of the mayor’s request was that this decision could be reviewed if the province’s approval was no longer required for planning decisions.

The application, which was for a middle to high income development on ‘high potential and unique agricultural land’ just west of Zewenwacht farm, received more than 20 public objections. Most of the affected city departments also objected to the development or wanted to impose strict conditions.

Both the provincial and national departments of agriculture said the application was a ‘major deviation from the spatial vision’ of the city as outlined in the spatial development framework.

The Western Cape Department of Environment Affairs and Development Planning said the application was not compliant with the provincial spatial development framework.

Smith said if De Lille’s request was approved, she could make changes to the city’s planning framework that would no longer be in alignment with this provincial framework.

Meanwhile, the economic, environmental and spatial planning committee yesterday approved a recommendation to move the urban edge in Durbanville to allow for high potential agricultural land on a portion of Farm Uitkamp to be used for a mixed use residential development.

Although Bredell has given the project environmental approval, the city would still need to amend the urban edge before the development could go ahead. Bredell’s decision is being challenged in the Western Cape High Court by the Durbanville Community Forum, which represents 13 ratepayers’ associations.

George Sieraha of the forum said he would take advice from his lawyers on the committee’s decision to refer the urban edge council as the environmental authorisation was still being dealt with in court.

But he said the committee’s decision on Uitkamp showed the city’s disregard for urban edges or agricultural land. Uitkamp was protected by a ‘celebration edge’, which meant it was a ‘non-negotiable permanent edge’.

The city was ‘hell-bent on development with little regard for who or what is negatively affected,’ said Sieraha.

Leave a Reply