Real Estate News – Court ends Bloubergstrand battle

The Cape High Court has ended a battle between neighbours living near the sea at Bloubergstrand after the City of Cape Town had approved building plans for one of the properties that would block the view from the other.

The court has ordered that the council's approval of the plans be set aside and directed the council to observe its obligations to make the neighbours comply with the height restriction provisions of the Town Planning Regulations.

The order follows an application by the trustees of the Reenen Muller Trust, which owns a property, which has a view of the sea. The trustees claimed that its neighbour, situated between the trust's property and the Atlantic Ocean, planned to build upwards.

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This, they alleged, would affect the value of their property because it would have affected the "substantially unobstructed sea view" the trust's property enjoyed from the main bedroom, two living rooms, a stoep and a balcony.

The trustees alleged that the council had failed to give them notice of the building plan application by their neighbours or failed to require the owners to give them notice.

The trustees lodged an appeal against approval of the building plans, but the city manager dismissed it.

In a judgment handed down in court on Friday, Justice James Yekiso found that the City of Cape Town did not properly apply its mind in approving the building plans.

The finding was based on the fact that the neighbours had used the incorrect method of height calculation and that the council's officials had adopted the view that the calculations complied with the zoning scheme regulations, he said.

Judge Yekiso also found that the deviation plans were wrongly approved because they had been approved in circumstances where the trustees should have been afforded an opportunity to object or comment. The building also exceeded the permissible height limitation, he added.

Judge Yekiso found that the building extension to the neighbours' property resulted in a loss in the value of the trust's property. He ordered the council and the neighbours to pay costs.

  • This article was originally published on page 7 of Cape Times on February 13, 2006