KNYSNA NEWS - Residents have less than a week to comment on the draft Knysna municipal spatial development framework (MSDF) which could change the face of the town should it get the green light.
One of the MSDF focus areas is "integrated centres and accessibility networks" in Knysna and one of the suggestions in this regard is allowing the construction of buildings up to five storeys high in the town centre.
Residents have raised concerns that large buildings in the CBD would not only change the face of the town – which has become known for its quaint and historic facades – but could also hamper the views that attract visitors and residents to the area.
'Centre should be a vibrant mix'
The MSDF suggests that the core centre of Knysna should be "maintained and improved to accommodate a vibrant mix of residential, commercial, office and public facilities knitted together by a high-quality public realm of complete streets and public spaces connecting with and pulling through the blue and green natural assets". It further suggests that "building heights to a maximum of five storeys should be allowed, linked to planning gains associated with public realm improvements and inclusionary housing for example".
"This is a priority area for more detailed planning with particular consideration of the future rail concession, the optimum future of the taxi rank and under-utilised land," the document states.
Another point of concern seems to be the encouragement of densification in Knysna. The document states that the scope for densification on existing properties, for example second dwellings, are permitted in terms of the draft zoning scheme bylaw. "Smaller household sizes, limited land and the need for labour mobility in the current economic climate emphasise the importance of higher density modes of affordable housing delivery, in particular social rental housing."
The document further states that it is also important to note that the state-assisted housing delivery will, going forward, be focused on upgrading informal settlements to ensure sufficient access to basic services in particular and entering into partnerships with the private sector to provide gap/affordable (including rental) housing opportunities.
Subsidised, completed freestanding houses will be limited "to the most deserving within the limited resources available".
Private sector-provided units
It is estimated that new demand for private sector-provided units will be 81 units per year over the next 10 years, 810 units in total requiring the equivalent of 32ha at a density of 25 dwelling units per hectare. "It is likely that this demand will primarily be felt in Knysna town, perhaps with some demand in Sedgefield.
"Infill development and densification should be encouraged for this market too. Ideally, land identified for state-assisted development in Knysna town must accommodate demand to be met by the private sector to promote integration. The Blaricum Heights area is an obvious location for development catering to this market. It is beyond the scope of this MSDF to resolve these demand projections and land requirements compared with a detailed inventory of developable land and scope for sustainable and appropriate densification. It is important that this is done to inform the next five-year review of the MSDF, within the ambit of a Human Settlements Plan."
The full draft MSDF can be found on www.knysna.gov.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Draft-Knysna-SDF-V2-March-2019.pdf.
Comments should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org before 21 May.
When contacted for comment and clarity on the matters, municipal spokesperson Chumisa Kalawe said the municipality had encouraged all residents to have their say on the development of their communities and would not deal with this matter through the media.
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