Construction activity to be permitted in coastal areas

CHENNAI, JULY 20. Construction activity will be permitted in coastal areas classified as Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) II within city limits provided it conforms to some basic parameters.

Under the guidelines, CRZ II has been described as locations already developed close to the shore, which in this case would be applicable to areas along the shoreline upto Thiruvanmiyur.

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), in a recent circular, clarified that development along these areas would be allowed on the landward side of approved buildings and roads.

However, the term ``existing/approved'' building here has been interpreted to mean any structure which has been constructed prior to 1975. Officials said plans coming for approval on the landward side of such a building would only be considered. Any plans coming for sanction would have to be accompanied by property tax tokens, electricity receipt or similar documentary proof to substantiate that there was a structure prior to 1975 - before the advent of the Master Plan. ``Approval will be given to buildings on the landward side irrespective of whether the property development is wider than the prevailing building or not''.

The internal circular also suggests that a notional line be drawn between adjacent buildings already in existence so as to facilitate new developments on the landward side of this line. It cautions planners against approving any structure toward the seaward side of this line. Though this fictitious line can be applied to sites ``reasonably close by'', it does put the brakes on such imagination extending to approved buildings which are around a kilometre apart.

Again plans coming for permission will be granted to plots and sites coming up on the landward side of a public road. The fine print being that such an infrastructure facility should have been registered with local body and appear in the block level maps maintained by the local body. Naturally, all blueprints coming up for scrutiny should comply with development control rules.

Applicants wanting to reclassify lands for further development would naturally have to comply with the above conditions, the circular noted.

In this connection, the regulatory body has recommended reclassification of coastal areas coming up in Kottivakkam, Pallavakkam and Neelagarai to CRZ II which is pending with the Centre. This proposal is pending with the Central Government. Now these areas have been identified as CRZ III which requires that no development be allowed within 200 metres from the high tide line. Any construction between 200 metres and 500 metres would necessitate approval from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Arguing that substantial development has already occurred in these locations, it would only be practical to make the change, according to officials.