The special provisions in the Kerala Municipal Building Rules (KMBR) permitting three-storied residential and commercial buildings in small holdings are contributing to the traffic snarls in residential areas and bylanes in the city.
The modifications, which permit construction up to three floors in plots not exceeding 3 cents, had exempted the buildings from provisions regarding car parking dimensions. Going by these provisions, one needs to provide only one parking space of around 150 sq feet for the entire structure.
Town planners in Kochi say that the undivided shares of these buildings can be owned by separate individuals as in the case of flats. The laws governing the flats and ownership of individual apartments are applicable to these buildings too, said an official of the Kochi corporation.
However, there are no references to the ownership of apartments and floors in the provisions of the law which details the relaxations for the construction of buildings in small plots. According to the rule, permission will not be granted to one person for constructing different buildings, whether separately or abutting each other, in plots owned by him and formed by division of one or more plots, pointed out the official.
The absence of adequate parking spaces in such buildings is forcing the other occupants of the building to leave their vehicles including two-wheelers and cars on the narrow bylanes.
Besides taking away a considerable portion of the carriageway of the roads, the indiscriminate parking hampers emergency rescue operations at times. Fire-fighters of the Fire and Rescue department in the city had often complained that the narrow bylanes were out of the reach of fire tenders.
All apartment houses and flats with four dwelling units and the carpet area of the individual unit measuring up to 600 sq ft, need to provide one parking area measuring up to 150 sq feet.
In case of units with carpet area of above 600 sq ft and below 1000 sq ft, parking lots shall be earmarked at the rate of one unit for two residential units. For apartment units of carpet area of between 1000 and 1500 sq ft, law specifies that there should be one parking space each for every unit.