Call to halt new far south developments

Spelum member Brian Watkyns with 5 000 pages of submissions for the last weeks meeting at which three Kommetjie housing development proposals were not recommended for approval.

Far south civic associations and their legal counsel are keeping a close watch on the fate of Kommetjie housing development proposals after a City of Cape Town planning committee did not recommend it for approval. This is after City planners approved them.

The proposals now head to the mayoral committee (Mayco) for a final decision.

Traffic congestion and lack of services were highlighted when objections to three of the four developments proposed off Wireless Road, Kommetjie, were presented at the City’s Spatial Planning, Environment and Land Use Management Committee (SPELUM) on Wednesday July 13.

Megan Adderley of Webber Wentzel law firm, on behalf of the Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (KRRA) made it clear that three developments would also see a legal challenge if Mayco gives them the thumbs up.

The Far South Peninsula Civic Forum (FSPCF) is already fund-raising to fight the approval of Riverside Extension in Kommetjie.

The three developments off Wireless Road – Protea Ridge, Wireless 1 and Wireless 2 – would be fought on the same grounds if necessary. These three developments, added to Riverside Extension, would see the addition of about 400 houses to an area that had about 900 houses built over 112 years – an increase of more than 40 percent in one go. Ms Adderley said traffic impact assessments “should not be constrained only to the immediate neighbourhood, but should take into consideration traffic impacts all along Kommetjie Main Road, as well as key access routes out of the valley, and particularly Ou Kaapse Weg.

“No consideration was given to Ou Kaapse Weg and that the application must therefore be considered inadequate,” she said. Ou Kaapse Weg had been operating at beyond capacity since 2002.

Ward 61 councillor Simon Liell-Cock, who sits on Spelum, agreed.

“The City’s spatial planners themselves said that the developments shouldn’t be approved until satisfactory service infrastructure is in place – particularly roads, but also schools and clinics,” he said.

“The upgrade on Kommetjie Road and from the four-way stop (the intersection of Kommetjie Road and Buller Louw Road) to Noordhoek still doesn’t deal with the capacity.

“They do not acknowledge the 4 000 existing development rights – units already approved but not yet built – which is at least another 4 000 cars on the road,” he said.

“No one’s taken into account what the navy’s doing and they’re not taking into account the City’s zoning scheme which allows second dwellings on properties,” said Mr Liell-Cock.

“We still have to absorb the impact of those 4 000 houses before a single new house is approved,” pointed out KRRA advisor Bruce-Campbell Smith.

Mr Liell-Cock said while the proposed developments were inside the urban edge, that is, theoretically the land could be rezoned to permit housing, that didn’t mean that building houses there would be a good idea.

“Kommetjie is supposed to be a seaside coastal village,” he said.

The City’s district plan was clear that the roads in and out of the area had to be adequate, which they obviously were not.

“It’s unlikely Ou Kaapse Weg will ever be made better. It is unlikely that a tunnel or a bypass will be built. You can’t just throw more cars in here. You need safe, reliable public transport. And until we can walk to the bus stop or station without getting mugged, we can’t rely on public transport,” he said.

“We presently do not have the required infrastructure to support these developments,” said Ward 69 councillor Felicity Purchase in her submission to Spelum. She said there were hours-long choke points into and out of the valley, particularly when there was an accident.

“These developments exacerbate this. The schools are full and there are no plans in the medium term to build additional schools in the far south. Therefore all additional children will need to exit the valley to the north via Ou Kaapse Weg for schooling.”

Mr Campbell-Smith said that the traffic plans on which the City planners had based their approval – and presented at the Spelum meeting – were highly flawed.

“They discounted the trip rate by some 30 percent. Their figures showed less traffic now compared to 2005 which is patently absurd,” he said. “We cannot determine what upgrades are required and whether these upgrades are even possible without a proper assessment,” said Ms Adderley, referring to the traffic study.

The ANC and ACDP members of Spelum voted in favour of the Kommetjie development and the DA members voted against it.

Johan van der Merwe, the City’s Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning said that now that Spelum had made a recommendation, it went to the City’s mayoral committee for final decision. They would then decide “in accordance with the City’s system of delegations”.

“Thereafter, the parties to the process will be offered the opportunity to appeal the decision. No dates had been set yet for this.”

Mr Van der Merwe was asked to comment on concerns that the mayor had personally been involved in the approval of developments which have been vehemently objected to by locals and local councillors and turned down by Spelum, but recommended for approval after going to Mayco, for example Kommetjie’s Riverside Extension (for which funds are being collected for a legal challenge) and the restaurant opposite Noordhoek common (“Restaurant gets council go-ahead,” August 28 2014).

“In the matter of the application for the restaurant in Noordhoek, the decision was taken by the full council and not by the mayor or the mayoral committee,” he said. “The reasons for the decision were well-founded and were clearly articulated at the time.”

* The FSPCF is raising funds for the legal challenge and are appealing for donations by the end of July, no matter how big or small. To find out more, email aroseinn@ icloud.com or see the Simon’s Town Civic Association’s website and follow the link to the Gatvol campaign or visit simonstowncivicassociation.wordpress.com/far-south-peninsula-community- forum-gatvol/.

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