Newsletter June 2008

CONTENTS

HISTORIC FURROW IN CONSTANTIA SAVED…..our persistence pays off! 

CITY PROPOSES NEW ZONING SCHEME FOR THE CITY – THE CPOA’S MAIN COMMENTS

BUILDER’S RUBBLE ON PAVEMENTS: NEW TARIFFS

CPOA ASSISTANCE AND ADVICE TO MEMBERS

LOCAL COMMUNITY POLICING FORUM HEADQUARTERS NOW IN CONSTANTIA 

CPOA TRYING TO GET IMPROVEMENTS TO GARDEN REFUSE SITE

REPORT FROM THE FRIENDS OF THE CONSTANTIA VALLEY GREEN BELTS

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU NEED PLANNING PERMISSION FOR EVERYTHING – EVEN A WALL?

IMPORTANT LAND USE ITEMS BEING DEALT WITH: 

ALPHEN ESTATE: Report Back

GETTING IN TOUCH………..

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HISTORIC FURROW IN CONSTANTIA SAVED…..our persistence pays off 
An important water channel, called alternatively a ‘sloot’, ‘leiwater’ or ‘furrow’, which was dug by slaves in the 1790’s, and which crosses Sillery Farm and six other pieces of land in Constantia, has officially been given heritage protection after representations were made to Heritage Western Cape and its Built Environment and Landscape Committee (Belcom) by the CPOA and the Friends of the Constantia Valley Greenbelts. We were supported in our efforts by the Simon van der Stel Foundation.

The developers of Sillery Farm intended leaving part of the furrow buried and incorporated into some of the sub-divided erven along the northern edge of the development below Constantia Main Road. This was hotly contested by the CPOA and the Friends Group who had a series of meetings with all the decision-makers, including Heritage Western Cape, Provincial Land Use Planners and Environment officials as well as City of Cape Town officials.

Finally, in the first week of April, assisted by Dr Steve Townsend, as our consultant, our requests for the furrow to be located, uncovered where it had been buried by a previous owner, preserved and physically accessible to interested parties were granted. In addition, Belcom decided that a servitude be registered over the furrow.

The full decision of the committee was: “The Committee considered the history of the water furrow as a very significant heritage resource of great public interest within the Winelands Cultural Landscape and as part of a potential World Heritage Site. The Committee is therefore opposed to any physical intervention cutting across the furrows, as illustrated in drawings submitted by the developer.
“The Committee supported the request of the Constantia Property Owners’ Association and the Constantia Greenbelts for physical and visual access to the furrows. Physical conservation of the furrows and access should be achieved, either by the registration of a servitude along the length of the furrow, or by an amendment of the approved sub- divisional plan to reduce the plot sizes and allow for a separate erf along the furrow, similar to the drawing submitted by Dr Steven Townsend on behalf of the CPOA.
“The Committee further recommended that Heritage Western Cape provisionally protect the furrow in terms of Section 29 (1) of the national Heritage resources act (Act 25 of 1999) in order to ensure it appropriate protection”

The development of gated, security housing on Sillery Farm has been a long, drawn out and hard fought process which has taken five years for us to get an official decision on the preservation of historical and environmentally sensitive parts of the site.

There may yet be a long way to go still because the developers have the right to appeal the decision made by Belcom.

Needless to say that we are delighted with this outcome, as Constantia has had too many of its heritage resources lost through careless approvals of rezoning, sub-division and development – your executive committee will continue its efforts to preserve the heritage of the Valley.

Dug in the 1790’s the furrow was the Valley’s first and most important water management system and therefore an important part of the agricultural and slave history of the Valley. Water was transferred by it from above the present Silverhurst Estate, down the Valley as far as Dreyersdal Farm. It crosses seven portions of land and provided irrigation to tenant farmers, who were mainly Muslim. They provided Cape Town with fresh vegetables, flowers and strawberries, although the strawberry beds were removed in the early 1800’s.

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CITY PROPOSES NEW ZONING SCHEME FOR THE CITY – THE CPOA’S MAIN COMMENTS

The CPOA has submitted detailed comments on the 4th draft of the City of Cape Town’s proposals to introduce a new, single zoning scheme for the whole Metropolitan area.

While not opposed in principle to the introduction of a single zoning scheme, there are very disturbing aspects to the new proposals, which would have a damaging impact on the special character of Cape Town and areas like Constantia, in particular.

A very brief summary of our comments is:

    • The draft proposals are silent on the subject of sub-division; identification of areas where it intends to create areas of high residential density, title deed restrictions and a whole range of contentious that affect people’s rights and some legal issues.

 

    • Only one set of development rules (height, coverage, setbacks from the street and side boundaries) have been drafted which would apply to all conventional housing with no exceptions made for sensitive areas like mountain slopes and ridges, coastal areas, catchments, heritage areas, etc. This we believe will be detrimental to the City as it will destroy the rich diversity of residential areas and deprive people of a choice of residential environments

 

    • A single set of primary use rights and secondary use rights is proposed for all conventional single residential properties. In addition to a family home, property owners would have the right to build a second dwelling, run a small business, bed and breakfast, or a crèche for 6 children without the need to get approval from either the Council or neighbours. This would effectively double the density of residential areas and, certainly in the case of Constantia, put an additional strain on already overloaded services like sewerage, electricity, water and roads. When services were put in for the Constantia Valley, they were designed to cope with only one family on each erf.

 

    • The operation of a place of instruction, place of worship, institution (welfare and social facilities, health care and support services) house shop, guest house, rooftop base station or urban agriculture would be allowed with Council’s consent. This mean that permission would be granted to the property and not the owner – so the operation would continue even with a change in ownership.

 

    • We have requested that sub-zones be created for single residential areas based on bands of plot sizes, each with its own appropriate use rights and development rules related to height, coverage, floor space, and setbacks. These should be for properties in high density areas (below 500ms); medium density ( 500 to 1000ms), low density ( 1000 to 2000 ms) and very low density (bigger than 2000ms)

 

    • Other sub-zones we have requested are for mountain slopes and ridges, urban edge, riverine corridors, areas adjoining historic and other farms, scenic routes, coastal areas and protected natural environments. In these zones only low impact uses and developments should be allowed.

 

    • While we accept that there is a need for the City to densify its residential areas, this should only happen in appropriate areas where public transport and work opportunities are more available.

 

    • The CPOA has also recommended a re-think by the City on their proposals for agricultural land. They have ignored historic farms and the importance of sustaining them. We have asked for a distinction between these and other farms, each with their own development rules.
    • Legislation in respect of protected natural environments, environmental impact assessments and environmental management has been ignored.

In general, we believe that the proposals for an integrated zoning scheme, in their current form, use a blunt instrument that will destroy the unique, diverse qualities of Cape Town as a whole and will not benefit the people of the City.

We have worked closely with the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, which has a membership of 124 residents’ associations right across the city, from all income areas. There is general consensus that the present proposals are inappropriate and may even be unlawful. Senior Counsel opinion was obtained which advises that because the document is incomplete (it lacks information about special ‘overlay zones’ which will derive from policies the City is still preparing) therefore it is in contravention of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. This requires that ‘a clear statement of administrative action’ must be made, especially if real rights are to be affected and also that public participation must be effective. As large parts of the 4th IZS are missing, the current process cannot be effective public participation, and does not constitute a ‘clear statement’ of the City’s intended actions.

We have therefore asked for this draft to be withdrawn, more work be to done to refine the proposals and be re-submitted for comment. We’ll see whether anyone in the City is listening!

If any member of the CPOA or resident of Constantia would like a copy of our response to the 4th draft of the Integrated Zoning Scheme proposals, they can be found on our website at www.simonbarnett.co.za/cpoa.

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BUILDER’S RUBBLE ON PAVEMENTS: NEW TARIFFS

Dumping and storing builders’ material on pavements without the permission of the Council is prohibited under three pieces of legislation: National Building regulations, a City By-Law on Streets and Public Places and a by-law on Dumping and Littering. Among the conditions are:

    • A permit to store material on a footway is required before any work is begun and is only issued by the Road’s Branch in each Sub-Council District.

 

    • A deposit of R1000 is required for possible repairs or cleaning of roads and footways.

 

    • Neighbouring residents have to be advised in advance and have to agree.

 

    • Only a 30 grace period is given before all footway reinstatement work has to be completed and any damage to existing trees and shrubs has to be paid for by the owner of the property on which work is being carried out.

 

  • No sightlines may be obstructed and bricks may only be stacked to a height of 1.5m

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CPOA ASSISTANCE AND ADVICE TO MEMBERSs

Our office is open every week-day from 8.30am to 12.45pm. The Association’s Manager, Alan Dolby, is available during these hours to assist any member with property or municipal related problems. Alan has some 40 years municipal experience at a senior management level and can give advice and guidance to members who have difficulty in fathoming the municipal machine in Cape Town, the Sub-Council or the district offices in Plumstead; as well as its legal, policy and operational intricacies. He is also the link between the CPOA Exco and its other committees. Please feel free to see Alan in our offices next to the Sub-Council offices at the Alphen Centre, Constantia Main Road, with or without an appointment. Or phone him at 021 7944388 or send him an email to cpoa@yebo.co.za. You will always get a reply.

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LOCAL COMMUNITY POLICING FORUM HEADQUARTERS NOW IN CONSTANTIA

As an initiative to bring about more effective crime prevention in partnership with local community and security providers, the South African Police Services (SAPS) has created sector policing, which is broken down into zones. What this means in practical terms is that the area designated as the service areas of a police station is divided into smaller, manageable areas known as sectors, with a Sector Commander in charge. These sectors are further broken down into areas known as zones where the police work with crime prevention groups such as local crime watches. The main objective of this is to launch intelligence driven projects to help with security and prevent crime.

These zones collectively elect a committee, who appoint street representatives. Each Chairman of a committee represents their zone on a Community Policing Forum (CPF). The headquarters of the local CPF is now at 8 Coniston Road in Constantia, which is off the Nirvana common, behind the Constantia Village Shopping Centre. Office tel no: 021-794 3367. To report anything that you think looks suspicious phone 086-000 2669. It is not an emergency number but it is a call that may prevent an emergency as when a call is received either the SAPS or the nearest security service provider will investigate.

The web site for Constantia Valley Watch is www.cvwatch.org.za and for the Nova Constantia Watch, www.nccw.org.za

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CPOA TRYING TO GET IMPROVEMENTS TO GARDEN REFUSE SITE

We have had an enormous number of complaints from members about the state of the garden Refuse Site on Ladies Mile. Our Manager, Alan Dolby has had meetings with the city’s officials and the operator of the site and hopefully, now that our analysis of the problems and suggestions for improvements has gone to the Protea Sub-Council, things will improve…..we will wait and see. We are not going to give up because the state the depot is in is a disgrace and a blot on our landscape. We don’t want to see the depot disappear because it is an invaluable service to residents. We just want to see it managed properly and kept in a good state.

Things we want to have improved are upgrading of the entrance, security to keep unauthorized people out – especially at night – also the surface which is a quagmire in winter, more room for cars to get in and out, control of vagrants, who seem to have taken over the running of the site and removal of taxis from the pavement.

When the Council ran the site it was kept in good condition, with very few complaints. Since it has been leased to private operators it has deteriorated badly and no-one at the council seems to be responsible for overseeing the operator.

Councillor Neil Ross, into whose ward the depot falls, has allocated some money out of his ward budget for some improvements and we hope that the council will fund the rest because it is Council-owned land.

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REPORT FROM THE FRIENDS OF THE CONSTANTIA VALLEY GREEN BELTS

Klaasenbosch trail to connect to Kirstenbosch: This trail, which starts in Oak Avenue, will soon be joined across Spilhaus Avenue and upstream of the Klaasenbosch stream, to Kirstenbosch below the Rhodes Drive top gate. This is a partnership effort between The Friends Group and the management of the botanical gardens, who will build two riverine boardwalks with appropriate signage on their boundaries. This is an important link in the dreamed-of “Crest to Coast” trail.

Strawberry Lane: Thanks to a co-operative and generous property owner next to The Paddocks in Strawberry Lane, The Friends have been able to add more public open space to that acquired when The Paddocks was being developed. The property owner has ceding his land in exchange for appropriate sub-division and access rights on Strawberry Lane.

Threatened Lowland Fynbos now for sale: The ‘Cape Flats Fynbos Nursery’ is an iniative of the Friends of Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei. They now sells threatened lowland fynbos from their nursery in Grassy Park (at CAFDA on the corner of Prince Georges’ Drive and 8th Avenue) The nursery aims to make some of the rarest and most beautiful fynbos available to the public to help sustain rare species, while raising funds for their projects. At the nursery you will find about 40 different species of fynbos at around R6.50 for bulk orders and R12 for small purchases. It is a production nursery, which means that they propagate from cuttings and seeds. This makes them ideal for their surroundings – they grow particularly in sandy soil which abounds in parts of Constantia.

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DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU NEED PLANNING PERMISSION FOR EVERYTHING – EVEN A WALL?

At its March meeting, the City’s planning and Environment Portfolio Committee members were reminded of the requirements of the National Building Regulations with respect to the submission of building plans.

These state, quite unequivocally, that any person intending to erect a building requires written approval from the local authority prior to undertaking the work. In this context the definition of ‘building’ is very broad and includes everything, from high rise buildings to walls and swimming pools and even garden sheds or wendy houses.

Permission from the council is required, even if the ‘building’ is temporary and irrespective of the type of material being used.

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IMPORTANT LAND USE ITEMS BEING DEALT WITH: 

Glen Dirk: A sub-division application has been received by the Council to create 8 single residential plots on this historic farm. The CPOA has objected as it is included in the Inventory of Heritage Resources in the Constantia Valley and has provisional protection from Heritage Western Cape. We are concerned that a precedent would be set if this application were to be approved. We are also waiting for the outcome of an Environmental Impact Study.

Steenberg: Yet another application for sub-division has been received on this, the oldest proclaimed farm in South Africa. This time it is to sub-divide the historic buildings around the werf and other associated buildings, into freehold single residential homes. The buildings include what is now Catheriana’s Restaurant, the Hotel and the Jonkershuis.

Drug/Addiction Centre, Montrose Terrace: Residents in this quiet cul-de-sac who have been disturbed by an increase in traffic at all hours asked the CPOA to assist them in getting their concerns acted on by the Council. An application was submitted by the owners’ for a bed and breakfast but, as can be read on their website, a fully fledged treatment centre for addicts is the true usage.

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ALPHEN ESTATE: Report Back 

The planning permission for the development of 22 residential units on the Alphen Farm Estate includes a Heads of Agreement document entered into by the CPOA and the Alphen Estate.

The following key issues of the Heads of Agreement have been the subject of a review by the CPOA, following representations made by the owners of the Alphen Estate:

    • relocation of the vehicular access from Pieter Cloete Avenue to Alphen Drive,

 

    • lease of a portion of public open space on the corner of Alphen Drive and Pieter Cloete Avenue to link the new entrance to the Werf parking,

 

    • replacement of the originally proposed grass block surfacing of the parking area with exposed aggregate concrete paving, and

 

    • amendment of the landscape plan.

Two main changes to the Heads of Agreement are the relocation of the entrance and the surfacing of the parking area. The entrance was originally in Alphen Drive and was changed to Pieter Cloete Avenue in order to achieve the reinstatement of the historic entrance. In the view of the owners, this objective was flawed and detracts from the integrity of the Werf and the entrance. The traffic safety of this entrance has also been questioned. The intention of surfacing the parking area with grass blocks had to be aborted because the high water table and consequential drainage problems make this an unsuitable option.

Two public meeting were held by CPOA attended mainly by property owners in the vicinity of the Alphen Estate and these issues were canvassed. The CPOA’s Exco has given its support for the Alphen Estate to make application to the Council for the amendment of their planning permission in respect of these issues.

Your Exco has conveyed the concern with traffic safety issues relating to the proposed entrance to the municipal traffic authorities and has asked Councillor Neil Ross to pursue this.

The CPOA has satisfied itself that the proposed changes to its Heads of Agreement and to the landscape master plan have been based on expert consultants’ advice and that the integrity of this heritage site will be suitably protected.

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GETTING IN TOUCH……….. 

CPOA Tel/Fax: 021-7944388: Manager: Alan Dolby
Email: cpoa@yebo.co.za Web site: www.simonbarnett.co.za/cpoa

Ward Councillors: Neil Ross Alphen Centre 021-794 2493 or 083-628 4144
Leon van Rensburg 021-782 6012 or 082-872 6340
Protea Sub-council 021-794 2493
South Peninsula Sub-council 021-784 2011

All emergencies 107 or 021-424 7715 from a mobile
Ambulance 10177
Alphen Clinic 021-794 5906
Building Inspector 021-712 4604
Builders’ Rubble 021-712 4604
Burst pipes 086-010 3051
Constantia Community Police Forum office 021-794-3367
Crime watch call for assistance 086 000 2669
Dumping 086-010 3089
Garbage collection 021-704 1005
Hawking problems 021-703 3075
Fire Brigade 021-794 1128
Health Inspector 021-710 8078
Ladies Mile Refuse Depot 021-400 5239
Land Use Inspector 021-710 8276
Meter readings/consumption queries 086-021 5015
Metro Police Control Room 021-596 1400
Noise complaints 021-596 1999 or 021-788 9350
Parks and Forests 021-791 8300
Powers failures 080-022 0440
Pre-paid meter problems 086 021 5018
Street lights 086-021 5001
Roads & Drainage 021-713 9500
Sewerage blockages, water leaks & supply failure 086-010 3054

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