Residents mull legal challenge as Mayco approves development

Own Correspondent

Kommetjie residents may mount a legal challenge after the City’s mayoral committee gave the go-ahead for the building of 254 new houses in the suburb, overturning a decision by the council’s spatial planning, environment and land use committee (SPELUM) to reject the rezoning and subdivision applications.

Mayco’s decision comes amid pending legal action from the Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (KRRA) for a similar approval granted last year for another 107 houses in the same area between Klein Slangkop and Kommetjie.

In July, SPELUM rejected the rezoning applications for the three connected sites along Slangkop Road over the lack of bulk infrastructure to service the developments and the absence of a plan to address the heavy traffic over Ou Kaapseweg and along Kommetjie Road.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said on Tuesday that he was aware that the issue was controversial, but that the Mayco deemed the site suitable for development. Traffic access concerns were being addressed through the City’s congestion alleviation interventions, which include an eight-month-long traffic study in the far south, announced last month.

“This council has applied its mind very strongly to that particular issue. We have carried out a number of investigations into the issue of services in that valley and we have also provided significant funding for congestion alleviation,” said Mr Neilson.

The developments are planned for an area between two existing residential estates to the north and south, Imhoff ’s Gift Caravan Park and the naval radio station to the west, and the Table Mountain National Park to the east.

According to the applications, 44 houses would be built at Protea Ridge, and 210 houses off Wireless Road.

Mr Neilson said the environmental and heritage impact assessments had raised “minimal concern” for allowing the developments to proceed.

KRRA chairman Patrick Dowling said Mayco’s decision was “predictable” and that the association would plot the way forward at a meeting last night (Wednesday).

He said it was expected that the association would again consider raising public funds to mount a further legal challenge.

“In principle, we are very determined to confront and contest that approval,” he said.

Mr Dowling said the association believed that developments should not be approved before the requisite infrastructure was in place to support them.

“We acknowledge the City’s commitment to expenditure, but we don’t think it’s sufficient to make a radical difference to be able to cope with other developments approved, but not yet built,” he said.

In previous objections by the KRRA to the City council, the association argued that the traffic impact assessment on which the recommendations to approve the developments were based, were outdated and almost three years old.

Mr Neilson said Kommetjie Road and Ou Kaapse Weg had already been identified as roads needing attention and money was already being spent in this financial year to address the congestion.

“We are quite satisfied that although there are these concerns, they are not limited to the Noordhoek valley alone.

“We have these congestion issues all over Cape Town. Given the interventions in terms of traffic alleviation, these will be adequate to allow this level of further development to take place,” he said.

The City’s traffic congestion study also includes Chapman’s Peak Drive, the Glencairn Express Way, Main Road from Simon’s Town to Muizenberg, and Boyes Drive.

Mr Dowling said the broader environmental impact of further developments in the Kommetjie was also being overlooked.

The council’s report on the matter notes that the area which will be developed is the last portion of land available for development between the existing town and the Table Mountain National Park. “There are very real unspoken environmental concerns about the larger biodiversity of the area,” Mr Dowling said. – Cape Argus