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How do you feel about the densification of the Berea?

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The City Council as part their long term vision plans have declared densification as a clear direction the city will take to enable better service delivery and the optimum use of public infrastructure and in addition make public transport provision viable.

The densificiation will focus on 3 main areas:

1) Commerce Nodes: Inner City (CBD/Beachfront/Point), Pinetown CBD and uMhlanga.
2) Berea (From Stamford Hill all the way up the hill)
3) Along all BRT coridors (uMgeni Road etc)

It seems though that the residents of the Berea through the Save Our Berea group are not in favour of densification of the suburb. While it is already a relatively dense area from the vast number of apartment blocks, they fear losing more homes to high rises will alter the character of the area for the negative.

How do you feel about this policy, surely it is a good thing for the city?
 

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Densification plans vex Berea group


The Poynton Place Big Yellow Taxi campaign calls for opposition to rezoning the area.

Lauren Walford | 19 June 2014 08:00

AN approval by eThekwini Municipality to grant a rezoning application to allow for the development of a seven-storey apartment building in Poynton Place, Musgrave, has members of the Save Our Berea civic organisation voicing their concerns.

Save Our Berea threw its support behind the Big Yellow Taxi campaign which was established by Poynton Place resident and activist Wayne Webb, which encouraged its followers to write letters of objections to the rezoning application that would, it believed, set a dangerous precedent on the Berea.

“We now hear Durban’s town planning committee has overruled its own regulations. Despite the area being zoned ‘special residential’, which means no building can be more than two storeys high, they approved the re-zoning application for the development of the seven-storey apartment building in this small residential cul-de-sac off Musgrave Road,” said Cheryl Johnson, a founding member of the Save Our Berea working committee. - (This seems untrue even if you look at pics of the area and the new high rises built over the past 5 years)

She said Save Our Berea was alarmed that it took three minutes to discuss a 250 page document of objections, including 47 letters submitted by Berea residents who argued against the rezoning. She believes the public’s rights have been utterly ignored.

“We are even more alarmed at the committee chairman’s dismissive comments about the development going ahead anyway due to the ‘overarching’ policy to densify the Berea. Maybe he would like to inform us where this policy of ‘densification’ was advertised and discussed? We, the ratepayers and residents of the Berea, know nothing about it,” she said. (Maybe they should read more instead of writing letters? Just a thought)

Johnson said a comment by a town planner who claimed that civic organisations were mushrooming, essentially to preserve the Berea of 80 years ago. has angered the civic organisation’s members.

“This is an ignorant and scurrilous comment and we reject it with the contempt it deserves. What official plan for the area are they referring to? We are not aware of any zoning with a boundary described as ‘a grey area’ in any Berea plan. We have no doubt that should it come to it, this rezoning will be overturned by the Supreme Court,” she said.

Ward councillor, Martin Meyer, said the committee approved the Poynton Place rezoning using the argument that there were other high rise buildings in the area, and they could not disallow this one.

“Our question remains, but then where is the boundary. Zones must have boundaries, the line must be drawn somewhere. It was pointed out that on the zoning map Poynton Place was actually the boundary, and officials conceded, but then pointed out that you don’t read the map alone, you also read the documents and hinted that the map was more of a guideline,” he said.

Meyer said the same argument was hammered over and over again by both officials and councillors in support of the zoning – densification is now the name of the game, this is official policy, and residents should just accept it.

“They argued that this is the fact for all cities in the world and this was the future for the Berea. Only the DA voted against it, with the other parties present, the ANC, MF and IFP speaking out in defence of the re-zoning. I will speak on this matter at council. The war is not over. This now goes to Exco and then full council,” he said.

Save Our Berea has appealed to all Berea residents to oppose the rezoning and support a renewed campaign by Wayne Webb on his Big Yellow Taxi Facebook page to put a stop to it.


The site in question... high rise right next to it which we followed a few years back

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Take a look at these letters... What's your views? Personally while the way the council has handled it at times seems too unclear, but I believe none of the approved buildings are in the wrong and more should be encouraged.

 
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