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Sunday, 15 February 2015

CBCRA Objection 96 Camps Bay Drive 70255587

15 February 2015

The District Manager
Table Bay District, Planning & Building Development Management
City of Cape Town
Cape Town
ATTN   Ms Asanda Solombela
Dear Ms Solombela

CASE ID         70255587
ERF                  1169

The CBRRA strongly objects to this application.

In the first instance, however, the application is flawed in that it is for the sub-division of the parent erf, in terms of Item 42(d) of the Municipal By-law, and the erection of (presumably, double) dwelling units on each such sub-divided erf. But there is also an application for the expungement of cl 1(c) from Title Deed T539/2000, which will permit the erection of a block of flats on the property. This is also confirmed in the application.
An application must be clearly and accurately detailed to pass muster and, as in this case, cannot be for both scenarios.
Therefore, the application is accordingly defective and needs to be re-advertised with the correct information. As such, this administrative process is now void and must be re-advertised ab initio.
Please confirm that you are in agreement with this.

Insofar as the basic, generalised merits of the application are concerned, please note the following:

The CBRRA has met with the affected neighbours and their opposition to the proposed building was strongly registered. It is therefore clear that this application fails the test for being in the interests of the community, in terms of applicable law.

Specifically, this application is opposed on the following grounds:

  • The proposal is over bulked and merely an attempt by the applicant/owner to maximize profit at the expense of proper town planning principles and, in fact, the law.
  • There is no precedent that an Erf of this small size be used for a block of flats, if indeed that is the purpose of the application. The title deed restrictions were expressly worded to prevent this type of abuse. The fact that this applicant is attempting to remove one of the most important restrictions for financial gain speaks volumes.
  • This massive block will result in a complete loss of privacy for the surrounding property owners, which is unconstitutional.
  • The increase in traffic generated from an additional 3 units will only add to an already congested and dangerous area for traffic.

Further, the Title Deed restrictions applicable to the subject Erf were registered in favour of the owners of property in this township and, as such, may not be summarily removed without the express permission of those affected parties. The various divisions of the High Court of South Africa have exclusively - and repeatedly – ruled that title deed restrictions, applicable to any property in a township, are praedial servitudinal rights and may not be amended or expunged by mere executive action if a positive benefit to that community is not shown. In this case, no positive benefit to the area has been established by the Applicant.

This is supported by reported case law, where the Western Cape High Court ruled, in the Camps Bay Ratepayers vs. RBC Sub Eleven matter, that the Minister may not remove or amend restrictive title deed conditions if it is not in the interests of the community (Griesel, AJ, as he was then). The learned judge went further and ruled that the test must also be a positive one – in other words, the applicant must show a positive benefit for the community when submitting such an application. Other divisions of the High Court have handed down similar rulings. The applicant has failed to show any benefit, of any kind, to the community and this is clearly a case where such removal is actually only in the narrow financial interests of the developer, which, the Court ruled, could not sustain an application such as this.

The Applicant has shown no real benefit or advantage to the community that will result from this application and it therefore falls to fail on this ground alone.

Further, it is the minimum requirement of the LUPO that applications must be desirable. The fact that the Camps Bay community has opposed this development and that major title deed removals and departures are required, clearly shows the undesirability of the proposal – especially in the public mind.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (in the True Motives vs. Mahdi case # 543/07) has also added that such a proposal must be considered ito s7 of the National Building Regulations and Standards Act, when the application does not conform to all applicable law. S7 reads as follows:

7 Approval by Local Authorities in Respect of Erection of Buildings
(1) If a local authority, having considered a recommendation referred to in section 6(1)(a)-
(a) is satisfied that the application in question complies with the requirements of this Act and any other applicable law, it shall grant its approval in respect thereof; [Para. (a) substituted by s. 4 (a) of Act 62 of 1989.]
(b)       (i) is not so satisfied; or
(ii) is satisfied that the building to which the application in question relates-

(aa) is to be erected in such manner or will be of such nature or appearance that-
(aaa) the area in which it is to be erected will probably or in fact be disfigured thereby;
(bbb) it will probably or in fact be unsightly or objectionable;
(ccc) it will probably or in fact derogate from the value of adjoining or neighbouring properties;

(bb) will probably or in fact be dangerous to life or property, such local authority shall refuse to grant its approval in respect thereof and give written reasons for such refusal:

In this specific instance, the building will derogate from the value of affected neighbours’ properties and the public amenity of protected sea-views and privacy, accordingly, must be denied.

The CBRRA suggests that the applicant enter into discussions with it and the affected neighbours in an attempt to arrive at a satisfactory compromise, which can then form the basis of an amended application. As previously stated, a new application will have to be advertised in any event.

The CBRRA requests an interview at any Sub council, SPELUM or MTB committee meeting, which is convened to decide this application.