Cape Town introduces a new zoning scheme

By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa


The new Cape Town Zoning Scheme will be official by early next year.


In short CTZS, was promulgated recently by means of an extraordinary Provincial Gazette after having been approved by the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning for the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, noted the Cape Town City Council.


The city added, “The promulgation also provides for the repeal of the 27 different legacy zoning schemes inherited by the City of Cape Town in 2000, which were in force and used to regulate land use until now.

Notice was given simultaneously of adoption by Council earlier this year of the new zoning map, which forms part of the scheme and records the development rights attached to all land in the city.


Both the new scheme and the zoning map will officially come into effect on 1 March 2013, to allow for a period of adjustment to the new system.


And importantly, is that the announcement was welcomed by the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Alderman Belinda Walker, as a major milestone.


“Completion of this huge and complex project achieved an important part of our ‘Opportunity City’ strategic objective – one of the five pillars of our current term of office’s Integrated Development Plan,” said Alderman Walker.


Together with the City’s new Spatial Development Framework (the Cape Town SDF) and recently-approved District Spatial Plans, the new zoning scheme constitutes one of the cornerstones of Cape Town’s rationalised, policy-driven Land Use Management System. It serves as a mechanism to implement the spatial vision outlined in the SDF. The modernised zoning scheme responds to the current challenges and needs facing the City in an innovative and sustainable way.


“The new CTZS represents the first full-scale scheme replacement for the whole metro and does away with a host of outdated, inadequate and loophole-ridden scheme regulations. One of the most important outcomes of this scheme is the repeal of some schemes which were part of the repealed Black Communities Development Act. This means that the last remnants of this old Apartheid-era legislation in Cape Town are now gone,” said Alderman Walker.


“The new scheme sets uniform standards and simplified and equitable rules for land use and development across the city. The rationalized and more modern regulations will help the drive to cut red tape, shorten regulatory processes and reduce the cost of compliance and the administrative burden,” she added.


In addition, a user-friendly planning web portal to be launched soon will provide a central resource and contact point for all planning information, queries and interaction.


Due to the scale, complexity and legal nature of the CTZS project, it has taken some eight years to complete. This included several rounds of extensive public participation processes and hearings. Valuable inputs from many different standpoints were received during the process, for which residents and all sectors of society across the city were specifically thanked by Mayor De Lille and Alderman Walker.


Also, “A key challenge throughout its development was to balance the imperative for a single, simplified and equitable scheme for the city as a whole with the need to accommodate diversity, uniqueness, the needs of individual communities, as well as the need to protect our natural and heritage resources. This balance was achieved through the introduction of an innovative system of overlay zoning in the scheme, continued the city.


Compilation of the supporting zoning map included the huge and complex task of converting the zoning of approximately 800 000 properties in the city from the 425 base zones of the old schemes to the 35 base zones of the new scheme.


“It doesn’t end here though: There are a number of building blocks of the City’s modernised Land Use Management System which are currently under development. These include a planning by-law, as well as a complete overhaul of current application systems and procedures. These will be replaced by an easy-to-use, web-based e-filing application system which is expected to achieve significant improvements to building plan and land use application turnaround times. It is intended that these two further major initiatives will be rolled out early next year as part of our continually improved customer service offering,” said Alderman Walker.

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