Plan to build two-storey complex near dunes

A Hout Bay property owner has applied to rezone a portion of land to build three residential flats, despite warnings that development could effect sea levels and sand dune maintenance issues.

A Beach Crescent property owner has applied for rezoning to allow for a two-storey complex of three flats next to Hout Bay’s troublesome dunes.

The application was submitted to the City by a town-planning firm, Olden & Associates Urban and Regional Planners, on behalf of the owner. It calls for the property to be rezoned from Limited Use to General Residential (sub zone 2). The complex would have basement parking.

A similar application was submitted in June 2016 to allow for five flats. But it was withdrawn in January the following year, after the City’s environmental resources management department opposed the plan, citing potential sea-level rises. The plan also drew opposition because an access servitude had not been registered.

According to the latest land-use-application documents, the property, which is next to the Dunes restaurant, is below the 100-year high-water mark.

“Therefore, the level of the residential units has been increased to be above this mark, so that these units will be protected from any flooding. The cars in the basement however, will be at risk,” notes Olden & Associates in the application documents.

Last month, Natalie Newman, the leader of a dunes-rehabilitation project in Hout Bay, warned developers not to mess with mother nature (“Dune rehabilitation on track”, Sentinel News, April 19).

During a public meeting at the library, she said Hout Bay’s sand problem served “as a lesson for future development and developers to not build houses in front of millions of years old nomadic dune systems”.

The City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment, Marian Nieuwoudt, said the application was to rezone the northern portion of the property; the southern portion would retain the Limited Use zoning.

“We can confirm that the application is supported by the City’s coastal management branch, subject to the rehabilitation of the Limited Use portion and approval of the coastal management branch prior to any earthworks on the Limited Use portion,” she told Sentinel News.

“The application is also supported by council’s environmental management department.”

The land-use application documents do not identify the property owner, but they note that it is the owner’s contention that the application is consistent with the “strategy of the southern district plan, in regards to building an inclusive and integrated city and improvement of access to economic opportunities”.

In April, a property owner in nearby Melkhout Crescent submitted a land-use application to rezone a single-residential plot for offices (“Call for comment on rezoning plan”, Sentinel News, April 12).