Snags with planning act delays KZN property developments

Snags with planning act delays KZN property developments

Planning for developments in KwaZulu-Natal has been delayed due to problems with the Planning Development Act.

Gert Roos, KwaZulu-Natal’s co-operative government and traditional affairs department’s legal services director, said on Friday there were human resource and capacity constraints in the province’s 51 municipalities and many local governments had to delegate administrative authority to make the act function. These delays had been anticipated.

The Planning Development Act replaces ordinances controlling property development in KwaZulu-Natal.

It aims to devolve development planning from provincial government to municipal level and to streamline application processes.
Each province is meant to promulgate a Planning Development Act in terms of the constitution.

“Is it eventually going to speed up the planning process? Is it going to make it less costly? I really have reservations about it,” said South African Geomatics Institute member and professional land surveyor Peter Newmarch . He said most developments applied for recently in KwaZulu-Natal had been “stonewalled”, or developers had been told their applications could not yet be accepted.

eThekwini municipality’s head of development planning, environment and management, Soobs Moonsammy, said the act came into effect in the metropole on October 29 , except for the special consent aspect of the Town Planning Ordinance, 27 of 1949.

“This has caused frustration in the development world as people remain confused about processes and procedures, appeal types and submissions. Some developers have chosen to wait for the full implementation, which is supposed to be in November 2010. Capacity may exist, but the dual legislation has caused legal technicalities,” Ms Moonsammy said.

In KwaZulu-Natal in 2008-09, plans, property diagrams and sectional titles that needed approval were worth about R12,7bn .

The South African Property Association said the act was focused more on control than on management and it might stifle development in KwaZulu-Natal due to the impracticality of many sections and the implications this would have for banks when assessing funding applications.

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