Town planners want ad requirements altered

03 December 2018 | Government

Yolanda Nel - Your neighbour plans on erecting a three-storey dwelling next door that will block your view.

The person across the street wants to rezone his residential erf into a business and needs place for client parking.

Thankfully you saw the advertisement of said plans and you could object.

However, Windhoekers may soon face challenges to lodge objections against development and zonal planning after a proposal to re-evaluate advertisement requirements was submitted by the Namibia Institute of Town and Regional Planners (NITRP).

According to a letter from the institute to the department of urban and transport planning dated 10 July 2018, one of concerns raised is the prohibitive costs of advertising in the capital in comparison to other towns.

Quotations the NITRP received and submitted to the department, indicated a total cost of N$9400 for a rezoning advertisement. This includes (based on municipal requirements) two placements of a size not less than 75x200mm for two consecutive weeks in two newspapers. In newspapers outside Windhoek, the same rezoning advertisement costs less than N$1 775. “The difference in cost is mainly due to the size of advertisement requirements,” read the council document of November.

The advert quotes submitted by die NITRP were dated from November last year and May this year.

The NITRP feels that “the advertisement of town planning applications should be waived in certain circumstances, such as when the bulk or density is decreased or when a piece of land that is to be rezoned is subdivided from one erf and consolidated with another and is less than 20% of either of the two erven in size,” read the letter from the institute.

The objections stem from a council resolution passed in 2005 that stipulates three methods to provide information, namely that a notice should appear in the press, a notice on-site and in city offices as well as direct [consultations] with the affected persons or bodies,” according to council documents.

The other proposals made by the NITRP are based on assumptions that certain changes in land use have less impact than others and therefore do not need to be advertised for public comment.

The letter also stated that in order to promote awareness, the city would do better to use its own Aloe publication to advertise rezoning. “The particular circumstances that have persuaded council to waive advertising in the past included where the land in question is owned by council and where the new zone represents a reduction in the development right of a piece of land.”

Other circumstances include where the new zone will have a lesser impact on neighbours than the existing zone and where the change were of an insignificant nature.

Certain improvements were made to the existing advertising requirements. Council recommended that these improvements be approved as submitted and that all relevant stakeholders be informed of the new policy in writing.