Plank planning

The developer putting up the four-storey block of flats on the corner of Blaauwberg Road and Grey Avenue, Table View, has approval for the building plans, and the general residential zoning for the site means no public participation process was necessary, but still, there’s something that seems out of place.

Oh, that’s right, it’s the scaffolding plank that fell off the building site and through the roof of a neighbour’s house.

That scaffolding board is proof, if any were really needed, that the four-storey behemoth next door to Ms Bond, Ms Stockigt and Ms Jorgenson is far too close to their homes. The City should never have granted approval for such a large-scale building to infringe on the neighbour’s boundaries.

Yes, the general residential zoning of the building site technically allows for a building of that height, but municipal planners should have also considered that the neighbours would be left with all the downsides, including devaluation of their property and the invasion of privacy resulting from the balconies looming over their yards.

In lop-sided situations like this, the party left at a disadvantage should have more say in the application process and a chance to seek concessions from the developer. In this case, repositioning the balconies or limiting the development’s proximity to the boundary should not have been seen as unreasonable requests.

Perhaps the City should adopt the scaffolding-plank test when considering future applications from developers.