SC BATS FOR OPEN SPACES Builders reel off redevpt pain, activists hail gains


Mumbai: The Supreme Court judgment insisting on adequate space around buildings at the ground level in Mumbai both as recreational areas and to allow fire engines smooth passage has sent most developers and architects in a sulk.
Construction of public parking lots — builders can get more FSI for a plot if they provide space for the public to park — and even captive parking in residential buildings would be adversely affected, they complained. Also, redevelopment projects in the island city — mostly small plots — would not be feasible unless the 6-metre passageway on one side of a building for fireengines rule is relaxed.
“A major part of development in the city and suburbs involves redevelopment projects alone and unless there is relaxation in the open space norms,they will notbe feasible. There has to be some equity in regulation,’’ said architect Manoj Daisaria. The ruling’s impact will be felt most in the B and C wards, covering Masjid Bunder, Bhendi Bazar, Sandhurst Road, Dongri, Kalbadevi and Pydhonie, where pre-1960buildings aboundin narrow lanes, he added.
Environmentalists and activists hailed what they called a landmark ruling. “It is the first judgment that has taken a holistic view of all aspects of urban infrastructure,including ensuring better quality of life,” said architect and urban researcher Neera Adarkar, adding that the SC has done what the government has failed to do: protect the citizens’ right to a healthy and safe environment.
“When it was difficult for fire engines to reach a highrise in a tony part of the city recently, one can only imagine how much risk people are put to in the far more congested parts where old buildings stand cheek by jowl on small plots,” added Adarkar.
Agreeing with Shyam Divan, counsel for the Urban Design Research Institute, the judges had struckdown a rule allowing 1.5m passages in redeveloped buildings, saying it “violated the very right to life” of inhabitants of such plots where even 20-storey towers could come up. “There has to be adequate space for manoeuvring fire tankers,” the SCsaid, adding that redeveloped buildings must get a nod from the city fire chief.

Building owners in the B and C wards have lined up with applications for reconstruction, but most of them stand on small—less than 600 sq m—plots, said Daisaria. The SC’s insistence on 6m passageways will hit them.
“The government has to come out with a new policy.It would have to insist on amalgamating adjoining plots or take up redevelopment for such small plots itself in the
interest of the occupants and also fire safety,” added Daisaria.
Counting their gains, activists hailed the SC direction that the state ought to review the height of buildings in relation to the width of the closest road and look into the availability of civic infrastructure, including water supply and drainage facilities,while drawing up the development plan for the city for the next 20 years.


Constructing enough parking for residential towers and public parking lots will be adversely affected
Redevelopment on small plots not feasible with 6m passage for fire engines norm
Redevelopment in the B and C wards, covering Masjid Bunder, Bhendi Bazar, Sandhurst Road, Dongri, Kalbadevi and Pydhonie will be hit hard
Govt must amalgamate such small plots to make redevelopment feasible or take up the schemes itself 


It is the first judgment that has taken a holistic view of all aspects of urban infrastructure, including ensuring better quality of life

SC CLARIFIES BUILDING PLANS | Minimum recreational ground space of 15-25% of the plot mentioned in Development Control Regulation 23 is mandatory | The ground-level open spaces cannot be placed on an open-to-sky podium | For redevelopment, the minimum open space norm stays at 8% for small plots | Podiums allowed only in plots covering more than 1,500 sq m | A 6m passage on one side of buildings constructed on plots up to 600 sq m (6,400 sq ft) must for easy access to fire engines | Exception permitting 1.5m passages in smaller plots struck down | Special technical panel to look into grievances of redevelopment schemes | Ruling will apply to buildings that have not yet got commencement certificates

Source : Times Of India
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