Plans to stop commercial use in residential (main) zones

The State government and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on Tuesday informed the Karnataka High Court that they are contemplating amending the zoning regulations in the Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2015 to allow only ancillary use of residential property in the residential (main) zones and stop commercial use of such properties.

As per existing regulations, commercial and other uses are allowed as main land use when the plot is more than 240 sq m and abutting a road that is 18 m or more in residential (main) zones.

PIL petition

A submission was made before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition, filed by Citizens’ Action Forum (CAF) and others in 2008, challenging the RMP 2015.

The Bench was told by counsel representing the State and the BDA that a meeting on December 28, 2013, considered the recommendations made by the committee led by the former chief secretary A. Ravindra, to discontinue mixed commercial use in residential (main) zone. Ancillary use, which is already defined, listed and in use from many years, to a maximum extent of 50 sq m (500 sq ft) of residential property could be permitted, the court was told.

Pointing out that the government was yet to arrive at a final decision on amending the zoning regulations, the counsel said the draft notification to invite objections and suggestions from the public is ready.

‘Needs planning’

However, the Bench wondered whether allowing only ancillary use would address the difficulties faced by people living in residential zones. “If every owner puts a portion of the property for ancillary use, then certainly it would lead to parking and other issues. How is it going to help the people?” the Bench said, asking the BDA to clarify this aspect.

The Bench observed, “The city needs town planning…Now the situation is that any business can be done on the streets.”

IT offices

As it was pointed out that information technology/biotechnology offices are listed under ancillary uses, the Bench observed that allowing such offices in residential areas has led to parking problem in narrow roads. The BDA head office too didn’t have parking place and faced a similar problem, it added.

The Bench adjourned hearing to January 21, asking the State to come out with its final decision by then.

The court, in its January 2012 interim order, had directed the authorities to stop issuing permission for mixed land use (including commercial) in areas that were classified as “residential zones” in the Comprehensive Development Plan of 1995.

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