The City of Johannesburg’s broad planning policy for the city is provided through the Spatial Development Framework 2040 (SDF), adopted in June 2016, with more detailed spatial planning provided through Regional Spatial Development Frameworks (RSDFs). Additional spatial policies such as the policy on Inclusionary Housing Incentives, Regulations and Mechanisms which was approved in February 2019, are also applicable to properties within the metropolitan municipality.
After extensive public participation dating back to 2016, the City of Joburg adopted the Nodal Review Policy 2020 on 27 February 2020 which provides detail to the SDF 2040 document, with a particular focus on compaction and the identified nodes within the City of Johannesburg. The development policies are based on principles of holistic sustainability to address inequality and inefficiency and are intended to have positive environmental, social and economic effects. The Nodal Review Policy provides development guidelines for nodes that are identified for high-intensity and mixed-use development, and for the interrelationship with adjacent areas. Rosebank is the closest regional node to Parkview.
Together with the Inclusionary Housing Regulations approved in 2019, the Nodal Review Policy seeks to provide for increased densities close to employment opportunities with the emphasis on the use of public transport.
All local precinct plans (including the Parkview Precinct Plan) and the Regional Spatial Development Frameworks have been withdrawn since the Nodal Review Policy was adopted on 27 February 2020. Provision is made for the local precinct plans to be reinstated, or be re-worked, within 180 days of the adoption of the Nodal Review policy. This re-instatement or approval will depend on the precinct plans aligning with new development guidelines in the Nodal Review. Although the Parkview Precinct Plan 2011 was prepared in consultation with urban designers, town planners, the Parkview community and Council officials, it needs to be updated and resubmitted in order to align with more recent Council policies. The City has been approached for assistance and clarity in this regard.
The Nodal Review introduces new development zones which have development guidelines linked to them. Parkview falls into either a Suburban Zone with a proposed minimum density of 40 – 50 dwellings per hectare or a General Urban Zone with a proposed minimum density of 60 dwellings per hectare. The Suburban Zone will be predominantly residential with mixing of land uses to accommodate local needs such as home-based shops, home enterprises and local services, with buildings up to three storeys. The General Urban Zone proposes up to 5 storey residential and mixed-use buildings. Prior to 2018, the density in Parkview and Greenside East was predominantly 10 dwelling units per hectare – ie 1 dwelling unit per 1000 m2 property.
It is important to note that the SDF 2040 and the Nodal Review Policy are supportive of heritage or environmental policy and legislation.
While the Nodal Review Policy has laudable long-term goals, there are some very serious concerns about the lack of practical planning that should be in place to underpin this policy, the haphazard urban form that could result, and the disruptive effect on residents. The PRA addressed the attached letter in February 2019 to the Executive Mayor of Joburg raising some of these concerns.
Besides policy, there are also a number of statutes regulating land use. The City of Johannesburg Land Use Scheme 2018 is the regulatory mechanism for land use per erf, and is a statutory (legal) document prepared in terms of the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act (2013). The Land Use Scheme determines the use and development of land within the municipality. The City of Johannesburg Municipal Planning Bylaw 2016 details the application procedures for various development applications such as consent, rezoning, building line relaxation, subdivision or consolidation and removal of restrictive conditions. The Deeds system is the fundamental system used for registering properties in South Africa. All properties bought and sold on the open market have title deeds. The removal of certain clauses from title deeds can only be done through the Gauteng Removal of Restrictions Act (Act 3 of 1996), which requires a formal application procedure.
The Parkview Residents’ Association (PRA) has prepared building guidelines which detail the steps to follow if an owner would like to change the land use rights on their property.
The PRA participates in all applications to Council for land use rights amendments eg townhouses and apartments and business rights in previously single residential properties in Parkview and Greenside East and uses the Precinct Plan as its reference point. If the application fits broadly into the long term vision of the precinct plan, the PRA attempts to negotiate with the applicant to have conditions and restrictions included in the amendment scheme which would protect the rights of neighbours and affected parties into the future.
The PRA would appreciate being approached before any land use amendment applications are submitted and before the property is bought. It would encourage the applicant to test the waters with affected parties as well as engage with them on the long term vision of the suburb – which was prepared after extensive public engagement. This approach often saves much time and money and avoids long protracted applications.