Barlinka battle

One of the objectors to the development is nextdoor neighbour Emma Kane who fears her privacy will belost with the addition of 22 rooms built on next door. This picture is taken from her backyard looking on to the development site.

A Table View woman is distraught that the City may give the green light for a 22-room boarding house to be built on her doorstep.

Emma Kane says she got wind of the planning application for the next-door property when it was shared on her street WhatsApp group on Friday November 6.

The closing date for objections and comments was Monday November 9, and Ms Kane says she had to scramble to notify others in the neighbourhood so that objections could be filed in time.

The proposal includes rezoning the property in Barlinka Avenue from single residential 1 (SR 1) to general residential 3 (GR 3) and extending building up to 1.5 metres from the boundary walls.

The building is currently 4.5m from the boundary wall.

According to the application, the property will be redeveloped into a “boarding house, a home for the aged”.

A five-bedroom double-storey house and pool are on the property.

According to the plans submitted to the City by Zenith Property Consulting, the pool will be filled and 22 en-suite bedrooms will be added to the house along with two storage rooms, one electrical control room, covered walkways and a terrace. It also makes provision for 11 parking bays.

Not all houses in Barlinka Avenue had received notices of the development nor had the closes leading off Barlinka, Ms Kane said.

She received a notice, but by then, she said, she had already found out on Facebook all she needed to about the development.

“My life would be completely ruined if the development went ahead,” Ms Kane said with tears in her eyes.

She only had a few years left on a bond she had been paying off as a single parent since 2003, she said.

“My intention was to retire in peace and harmony on my property.

Now there could be up to 50 people living next door. My privacy will be completely lost.”

Carol Cunningham lives in Muscat Close, which runs off Barlinka.

She said she had not received a notice about the development.

“The entire objection process is unfair to the residents,” Ms Cunningham said.

Those notices the City had served residents should be questioned because most people in the neighbourhood knew nothing about the proposed development, she argued.

On Sunday November 8, Ms Kane and Ms Cunningham printed flyers objecting to the development and went door-to-door to hand them out.

They asked residents to fill out objection forms that Ms Kane then scanned and emailed to the City.

There were over 100 objection letters. She also asked the City for an extension on the comment period but was denied.

Marian Nieuwoudt, mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, said Ms Kane had asked for the extension on the grounds that the advertising process was procedurally flawed.

According to Ms Nieuwoudt, the development proposal drew 88 objections and one after the closing date. She said 148 registered slips had been sent out.

“In terms of the City’s Municipal Planning By-law, objections submitted after the closing date are not valid,” she said.

The developer, Stephen Butcher, plans to run a “home for the aged” fashioned on Jah-Jireh charity homes.

Jah-Jireh homes are designed for the care of elderly Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Mr Butcher runs a similar set up at Jah-Jireh Milnerton in Pienaar Road.

He said the Barlinka home would be open to all seniors in the community, but preference would be given to accommodating Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The property was ideally suited as it was a “quiet middle-class area” with access to public transport.

“I was so shocked to learn people objected to me doing something good. I live in Table View. We are not going in to wreck a quiet area,” said Mr Butcher.

The home would not be a frailcare unit and residents would have to “qualify” to live there and maintain that qualification, he said. There would be no parties or church services, he added.

“This accommodation will be a respectable, cost-effective way to look after our old people,” he said.

He would not comment on the going rate per room.

Ms Kane said a property consultant she had spoken to had told her family-home buyers looking for a property like hers shied away from buying next to larger developments and condensed living spaces.

Besides fearing property devaluation, Ms Kane also fears noise levels and the loss of privacy.

“I will lose all privacy of my main garden, swimming pool and entertainment area, as there will be windows both downstairs and upstairs staring straight into my property. The noise of crockery, cutlery and whatever entertainment will be totally unacceptable”.

But Mr Butcher said the 31m2 rooms would have a small window above eye level for natural light and they would be designed in a “U” shape with the doors and bigger windows facing inward.

The south-easter made more noise than knives and forks banging, he added.

Ms Cunningham said houses in Blaauwberg Road, Briza Road and Arum Road – which were not affected by the development – had received City notifications about it.

Ms Nieuwoudt said City officials decided who might be affected by a proposed development in cases where the law did not require wider advertisement.

“In this case, properties closest to the applications site were notified by registered mail and other methods of advertising were used in order to have a wider reach,” she said.

Tabletalk asked Remax Property Associate Caron Leslie how this development would affect surrounding properties.

Ms Leslie said: “I don’t think a home for the elderly will depreciate the value of the surrounding homes.

“The area is focused on young families and schools. There’s not much in the area for elderly people. As long as the home follows building regulations, I can’t see how it will be detrimental to surrounding neighbours.