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​Fewer residents of Sandton braved the inclement weather on Saturday, 7 September to engage the City on its new land use scheme.

The City’s directorate for land use has been on a wide-ranging public consultative drive, seeking inputs from various property owners from across all regions on the new document.

The newly enacted scheme regulates land use within the municipality and defines primary rights accorded to each property owner. Until January 2019, residents needed to use different land use schemes for different areas of the metro. There were over 13 of them spread across the municipality, with each one tailored for different racial groups.

Tebogo Fenyane, a Manager for Land Use Management said the City saw it necessary to come up with a single, comprehensive scheme which advocates for equality, social justice and transformation.

The new land use scheme plays a pivotal role in the property value chain. It facilitates faster plan approvals, simplifies and streamlines subdivision of properties and cuts out certain applications which were previously time consuming, ultimately re-stitching the spatial design of the City.

“The scheme makes sure that regulations and processes apply to each and every application for land use, irrespective of the area of jurisdiction,” said Fenyane.

Linda Horsfield, a property owner who appeared displeased with the new land use scheme, described it as biased, saying it favours developers over residential owners.

“My house dropped its value by more than R700 000 after the City approved a high density property overlooking my whole yard. When I approached the developer he showed me the approval and there is nothing I can do. The development doesn’t have enough parking space and that will result in an illegal taxi rank soon.

“There is no provision for laundry spaces ​and people will be hanging their washing on the windows and balcony and that is not doing justice to the value of all the properties around that area,” Horsfield explained.

Responding to concerns raised by residents about the new scheme, Fenyane said that parking spaces could be relaxed if the property is in the area where there is public transport, however the department would investigate the matter.

Another property owner, Marian Laserson applauded the fact that the City had digitised the application process for plan approvals. Laserson said going online will reduce the time the approvals take and avoid the loss of documents.
The newly enacted Land Use Scheme, the first in 21 years, charts a new path in the correction of historic spatial disparities in the City. It guides the municipality on the management and sustainable development of its communities and helps improve the general public’s quality of life.