Town Planning and Development issues
One of the main reasons for the formation of the CRA over 60 years ago was to deal more effectively with developments and town planning issues in the area. All these years later there are even more issues to deal with, including rezonings, sub-divisions, alterations and additions to existing buildings - and regrettably, a lack of will on the City Council's part to enforce its own by-laws.
On this page:
- Why a Precinct Plan is important
- Checking out builders / useful contact numbers
- Regulations for home businesses
- Sectional title regulations
- Procedures for objecting to a proposed development
A revised and updated plan for our area - the 2012 Precinct Plan
The Precinct Plan in force is being updated. Click here to view the 2012 Plan - approved by the community but still needs to be formally approved by the City Council .
A public meeting was held on 15 February 2012; click here for the report.
All comments submited by residents were considered and recommended for implementation wherever possible.
Background to the Precinct Plan
The objective of a Precinct Plan is to create a predictable environment that will allow for realistic re-development opportunities while maintaining and enhancing the residential amenity of the two townships.
The 2012 Plan is the fourth update. For each update, the CRA has invested, on behalf of residents, time and money to draw up a development plan for our area which, after consultation with residents, is submitted to the Council for formal approval. The previous plan (see Special Newsletter September 2005), was submitted to the City Council in 2005 and approved in October 2007.
The Precinct plan indicates where higher density development, business areas and the like are permitted and the designated single residential areas.
Over the years in which the Plan has been in force, things have changed, hence the necessity to update it from time to time. Each time, the CRA has appointed a town planner to update it.
The changes made to the 2012 plan include:
- revision of the erven earmarked for residential densification
- the realistic allocation of potential land-use changes versus existing property values and
- approved land-use rights versus re-development potential as promoted in the existing Precinct Plan.
NOTE: It is the opinion of the CRA that, since the implementation of the existing Precinct Plan in 2007, various re-development / densification proposals have not attracted any response from property consultants or developers in Craighall and Craighall Park.
There are numerous examples of erven earmarked for residential densification where the existing property value is too high to warrant an economically viable re-development, with specific reference to residential densification.
There is no doubt that our suburbs are being targeted by developers who are often more interested in lining their own pockets rather than paying heed to the needs of local residents. If you are aware of a possible development in your vicinity, Roly or Bianca can assist you in establishing, for example, if the appropriate plans have been submitted to the Council. They scan the Government Gazette each week but it helps a great deal if you can alert them.
Useful contact numbers
- Building Inspector for area: Mr Mark Tobin - 011 881-6320/6205, cell 083 450 3019.
- City Council: Development Planning & Urban Management Department - 011 407-6111/6240.
Objections to sub-division - Head, Registration, Development Planning & Urban Management, Metro Centre A Block, PO Box 30773, Braamfontein 2017; fax 011 339-4000/403 1012; or deliver to 8th Floor A Block, Metro Centre, 158 Loveday Street.
Checking out builders
- Gauteng Master Builders' Association: 011 805-6611
- Master Builders South Africa: 011 205-9000
- National Homebuilders Registration Council: 086 727-7890
Regulations for home businesses in our area
- Couple (husband and/or wife and/or partner) with two or less employees, who use no more than 20% of the floor space, require no municipal authority - consent of the neighbours and the Residents' Association is advisable.
- Couple (husband and/or wife and/or partner) with up to 7 employees, and the use of up to 45% of the floor space require a) consent from the Council, b) consent from the neighbours, and c) preferably no opposition from the Residents' Association.
More than 7 employees and/or the use of more than 45% of the floor space requires rezoning of the property to "business" and is likely to be opposed in a residential area.
In all cases it is accepted that adequate off street parking must be provided. Unless the property has business rights, large notices advertising the business are not permitted.
- The Town Planning Scheme normally allows up to 3 storeys. When a stand is sub-divided, however, the Council will not normally permit a 3-storey building - they may even restrict it to a single storey.
- Up to two "granny flats" or similar additional structures are permitted but in our area, may not exceed 110 sq m. However, as they are subsidiary structures to the main dwelling, if the main dwelling is demolished, technically the granny flats are no longer legal.
- In principle, the Council allows sectional titles all over the city. While separate ownership of a second dwelling (granny flat) is not allowed, developers previously exploited loop holes in the system. Thanks in part to the CRA's intervention, the Deeds Office is now obliged to check any application for sectional title with the City Council.
Procedures to object to a development
If you are aware of a development which you believe will be detrimental to your property and/or to the area, you are entitled to object. Any development which changes land usage - eg from residential to business - has to be advertised, not only in the Government Gazette, but also by a notice on the property and by registered letter to owners of all adjacent properties. If you should be an affected party and do not receive a notice, you will need to follow this up.
Look out for town planning notices ***********
Residents should be alert to advertisements relating to town planning issues in their immediate proximity and ensure that they object timeously if they wish to oppose the application. Normally 2 weeks is given from the date of the posting of the notice for objections to be lodged. Late objections are not condoned.
If it is something you feel strongly about, it is worth alerting residents in the vicinity so that they may also object, if they wish to do so. If you are not sure of the implications of the development or have any kind of reservation put in an objection: you can, if persuaded that the development poses no threat or is beneficial to the area, always withdraw your objection. BUT if you don't object and then find out that the development isn't quite what it seemed to be there will be nothing you can do. We are not advocating wholesale objection to developments but frequently the CRA has been faced with concerned home owners who have only realised the consequences after the due date for objections... too late....
Be on the lookout for subdivisions that are smaller than the 800 m2 standard for Craighall and Craighall Park. Very often the notices do not indicate the stand sizes. Do not hesitate to telephone the applicant or the applicant's agent to find out what these are. The contact number is always given on the notice.
A letter of objection needs to be addressed to: The Executive Director, Development Planning & Urban Management, 8th Floor, Metro Centre, Braamfontein 2001, or PO Box 30733 , Braamfontein 2017.
A letter may be faxed through to 011 339-4000, but in order to be considered, the original must either be sent by registered mail or hand delivered to the Metro Centre. The latter is preferable, and you must insist on a copy being stamped by an official as proof of submission.
At some stage thereafter, the City Council will arrange for a hearing to take place and objectors should make every effort to attend. Professional representation is also advised in complex cases.
PS Building activity can be very disruptive for neighbours we have to put up with this but say 'No!' to pavement rubble! At a recent count over 70 sites indicated building activity. In almost every case the building materials and rubble were stored on the pavement. Even when a property has space to house the building material and rubble within its boundaries, residents are using the pavements for this purpose, to the aesthetic detriment of the suburbs. There are municipal by-laws governing the use of pavements for this purpose and the CRA is trying to encourage the Council to apply these laws more strictly.
A warning to property buyers
We suggest, especially in the case of subdivisions and sectional titles, that you check that all the correct procedures have been followed. We had a case, for instance, where a developer had "bent the rules" and divided a property into three - the new owner couldn't take transfer as the property had not been registered.
Updated February 2013