CBRRA often receives enquiries about Regulation No. 98 of the City of Cape Town’s Zoning Scheme.
This regulation only applies to Camps Bay and is specifically in existence as a result of the construction in the 1970’s of the seven-storey “Sonnekus” apartment block which made appalled residents realise for the first time that it was legal and that the whole of the Camps Bay shoreline was zoned to permit seven storey buildings !
This meant that Camps Bay could shortly have become another Sea Point with the tall buildings along the water’s edge in front of the lower buildings behind.
It took CBRRA and residents three years to get the beachfront area and the whole of Camps Bay rezoned to not exceeding ten metres above ground level to eaves and not exceeding three storeys high (excluding basements and mezzanine floors – see later).
Thus was the ambience of the beachfront preserved for the low key structures which exist there to this day and the view from the beach up to the mountain was maintained forever.
The following is a typical letter which demonstrates that the prospective buyers of a property in Camps Bay are sensibly investigating all the issues which could affect their future purchase BEFORE and not AFTERWARDS.
Always check what the immediate neighbours around you could potentially do in the future without having to ask for your permission.
This is a striking instance of “Caveat emptor” - “Buyer beware”
To whom it may concern,
My husband and I are currently interested in buying a property in XXXXXXX Road, but the house in front of it is only a double storey, and we are concerned they may go up another level. In which case our views would be ruined. Can you confirm whether there is a blanket height restriction in Camps Bay that all homes can only go to a max of 3 storey's?
Really appreciate any advice you can give us,
Your question is more complicated that you realise !!
In simple terms, anyone is allowed to build or add onto a building in Camps Bay up to and not exceeding 10 metres high “above ground level” to eaves level at any point around the perimeter of a new or existing building.
On a level site this permits three “storeys” to be built, anywhere in Camps Bay.
However above the aforementioned restricted height, a pitched roof of any height is allowed as long as it does not have any rooms in it, which would make it a four storey house. But in any event, the legal pitched roof will obscure your view even more.
Bakoven, being a “special area” has a height restriction of not exceeding 8 metres high above ground level to roof apex and not exceeding two storeys high.
So, if you are intending to purchase a property, be aware that any existing owner around you is allowed to add on or rebuild as above – AS LONG AS HE / SHE CONFORMS ENTIRELY TO ALL THE ZONING SCHEME AND TITLE DEED RESTRICTIONS. In such an instance you have no rights to your view being maintained.
You are doing the right thing by checking up on all this before you buy!
However, should the applicant, as is happening all around Camps Bay, wish to apply for departures from the zoning scheme and the title deeds, by wanting a double dwelling say, or wanting to build closer than permitted to the boundary etc.etc, you have every right to object and not give your approval when you are asked to do so (you could say, yes you can have your double dwelling but only if you build two stories high and so on).
The other problem in this whole matter is that there is a total difference of opinion between the City and CBRRA about where one measures the height of a building from, ie. from existing natural ground level or artificially raised finished ground level – which could be drastically higher on a sloping site. CBRRA has a High Court case in Bloemfontein challenging the City about this at present.
The other problem is that, in terms of the zoning scheme, a “basement” and a “mezzanine floor” is not a “storey” (!) so that you will see many houses all over Camps Bay on sloping sites which have five floor levels, ie a basement, three stories and a mezzanine floor. A recently completed new building in Woodhead Close has three storeys and two basements, having also therefore five floor levels ! CBRRA is contesting this one in court.
If you have any further questions, CBRRA members will be more than happy to have a cup of coffee with you some time and chat things over.
Are you a member of CBRRA ? If not, please join at R200 per annum per household – the best investment you will ever make !
Read the article “So you want to buy a house?” on our blog.
Good luck I hope your search for a property in this enchanting suburb will soon be successful !
I can't thank you enough for your most thorough e-mail, it really put things into perspective for us. And we're giving putting in an offer some serious thought, given the below.
Thanks again, your advice was invaluable. And when we do buy in Camps Bay we will certainly join CBRRA !
Kind regards and many thanks