Mixed views on development plans

The application notice next to the gate of 1 Beaufort Road

There are mixed views over a big development on the cards for Milnerton.

Residents received letters alerting them to town planner Tommy Brümmer’s application to the City of Cape Town to rezone two Koeberg Road plots from single residential to general residential subzone and build a three-storey block of flats there – 44 flats and 55 parking bays.

The plots, erven 302 and 35639, would be consolidated.

Peter Walsh, chairman of the Milnerton Central Residents’ Association (MCRA), said it’s suspicious that they should only hear about a development of this size through the grapevine.

“We wouldn’t have known about it had it not been for one of the residents in the area who brought it to our attention. Which makes one wonder if all the correct procedures had been followed in this regard,” said Mr Walsh.

Notices went out on May 16 by registered mail but on closer inspection of the 47-page document with all the addresses, none of the addresses targeted seem to be in the immediate proximity of the proposed development.

A total of 302 slips show where the letters were sent, however, no roads are found in the immediate vicinity. Mr Walsh called this a “tick-box exercise” where the City needs to be able to say that they had sent out notices and letters to residents but actually don’t have accurate bases to work from.

“I don’t believe the City can claim to work for its people if they cannot follow a fair and equitable process.

“If they cannot get the addresses right and engage with the immediate neighbours, then I would say that what they are doing is outside of the envisaged public participation process and if challenged in court would be deemed illegal.

“In fact in terms of the sub-council and their databases for public participation processes, there are many examples of where the City is getting it wrong” he said.

Mr Walsh added: “The Koeberg Road corridor is a known development corridor and the community will face many more of these challenges in the near future, and as MCRA we intend making sure that all the public participation processes are followed to the letter, as envisaged in the act and that the City is passing plans that are carefully thought through and have the requisite infrastructure in place at the time of building.

“Current infrastructure in Milnerton is old and under severe strain, causing significant problems and environmental stress”.

Tommy Brümmer Town Planners have confirmed that the application is for a proposed three-storey block of flats on the consolidated erf with sufficient parking bays.

“With regards to the concerns of the increase in traffic, a traffic impact statement was undertaken by a professional traffic engineer and it was confirmed that the development will not have an adverse impact on existing traffic flows,” said Cherie Campbell, spokespersson for Tommy Brümmer Town Planners.

In response to questions on whether there are plans to make sure that this development goes smoothly while also taking consideration of the water and sewage issues in the area, the town planners said the City’s solid waste department has issued a “no objection” to the application.

“The City recommends that all new developments include alternative water sources and technologies which will be implemented in this development,” she said.

Suzette Little, the City’s mayoral committee member for area north, said the public participation process is currently under way.

She also said that the impact of potential vehicular traffic generated by the proposed development will be evaluated as part of the application process by the City’s transport engineers.

With regards to how the City will deal with the volumes of people that will now be coming into the area, Ms Little said: “Once all relevant inputs from the public and departments have been received, the professional planner will have to assess the proposal for its desirability in terms of the Municipal Planning By-law and compliance with approved City policy in making its recommendation to the relevant decision-maker.”

Milnerton residents have voiced their opinions on the proposed development on the Milnerton Neighbours Facebook page.

Hilton Butlion asked when the City will start considering the people in the Milnerton suburb.

“Densification is an abomination and a curse,” he said.

Katherine Noelle Davy on the other hand said there is such a desperate need for housing closer to the city. “And developers are required by law to upgrade services etc, so it’s a win-win for the community,” she said.

Italo Amore said the plans will be passed no matter how many petitions are fronted.

“It’s all about the money. Council (doesn’t) give a rats a** about us or our property values.”

Residents have until Monday June 18 to comment on the rezoning application. They can send their comments to comments_objections.blaauwberg@capetown.gov.za or they can submit them by hand to the District Manager at Municipal Building, 87 Pienaar Road, Milnerton.