Residents oppose skyline flats plan

The view Skyliner Avenue residents have of the stormwater pond. Picture: Robyn Ilcheva

Residents of a Century City neighbourhood fear they will lose their views and millions of rands off their property values if a plan to build a block of flat on their doorstep goes ahead.

The residents have vowed to fight a developer’s application to rezone 4 Skyliner Avenue from “community” to “general residential” to make way for the flats.

Motion Projects approached Century City Property Owners’ Association, which owns the property, an independent developer, to build the three-storey block of 105 “affordable” flats.

The deadline for objections is Monday October 9, but some residents say they have still not seen an official letter in the post notifying them of the application.

Those opposing the plan say it will also threaten birds and other creatures at Intaka Island and cause possible flooding if a man-made stormwater pond is shrunk to accommodate the development.
One of the opponents is Skyliner Avenue resident Robyn Ilcheva, said that she has a number of concerns regarding this proposed plan.

“Our beautiful view will be taken away from us,” said Ms Ilcheva. “Also, we currently see sunrise and sunset, we will now only see the sun from midday. One thing that we are really worried about is that we stand to lose millions in property value.”
Nico Van Rensburg bought two properties on Skyliner Avenue because the area was “very tranquil” and said that if he had known of the plan to build flats nearby he would never have bought them.

“Of course we are up in arms about this proposal and the fact that we still have not yet received anything in the mail about this plan is absurd.”

However, Emarie Campbell, the managing director of Pam Golding for the Western Seaboard, said gentrification was a fact of life and residents should be thankful that in this instance it was happening in a controlled environment.

“In processes like this, I can imagine a lot of planning has been done. Century City have put billions of rands in development in that area, so they will not let this affect them or the surrounding areas negatively. In terms of the view, a view is not a right, unless there is a servitude that restricts the owner from constructing a high building.”

Ms Campbell said the development would not necessarily harm the values of neighbouring properties.

Century City Property Owners’ Association referred Taletalk to the developers for comment.

Godfrey Mokaeane, director at Motion Projects, said they had assessed how the development would affect each house on Skyliner Avenueand found it would shade them slightly. So they had changed the building plans to let more sunlight reach the houses.

“In summer, the sun comes up usually around 6.20am and by 9am, there should be enough sunlight to the houses on Skyliner. We have also figured out that the residents’ entertainment areas are on the west, in their backyards, so there will be plenty of sunlight for them,” said Mr Mokaeane.

He assured residents that the development would not harm local wildlife, even during construction.

Brett Herron, mayoral committee member for transport and urban development, said the City could not comment at this stage on the specifics of the case as the rezoning application was still following due process.

With regards to Skyliner Avenue residents’ claims that they had not received letters about the rezoning application, Mr Herron said notices should be sent out in reasonable time to interested and affected parties, according to the Municipal Planning By-law.