SEMI-BASEMENTS IN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS ARE ONLY A ‘CONCESSION’
Policy must be interpreted in a way to safeguard against substandard dwellings
The deciding board and commission at MEPA have over the past months, refused a number of residential development applications that had incorporated proposed semi-basement apartments within an internal development.
While in past years, the Authority had approved several proposals for internal development, with a number being a good exercise in urban development, a significant number of others were a mere exercise of developing the site to its maximum.
This type of development was resulting in a substantial increase in residential densities with associated impacts related to traffic generation, quality of residential environments and impact on the amenity of the adjoining neighborhood.
The MEPA Board, which provides strategic guidance for the Planning Directorate and the Environment Protection Directorate, has re-assessed the interpretation of this policy, defined in the Policy and Design Guidance 2007, regulating the residential use of basements and came to the conclusion that basements should not be used as separate dwellings unless in exceptional cases, this to ensure that substandard dwellings with poor quality internal environment are not created.
The concession whereby the residential use of basements in internal developments will be permitted will only be granted in cases where the development will not compromise the quality of life for residents and the neighbouring community.
The elimination of internal residential semi-basements addresses concern of overdevelopment through the reduction of dwelling units in favour of quality residential developments that can safeguard a good standard of living.