Development agency seeks new height limit

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority,the special planning authority for Bandra-Kurla Complex and Wadala,has asked the civil aviation ministry to ease the height restrictions for buildings coming up in these two areas.

Written by Shalini Nair | Published: April 2, 2012 3:06 am

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA),the special planning authority for Bandra-Kurla Complex and Wadala,has asked the civil aviation ministry to ease the height restrictions for buildings coming up in these two areas.

Recently,at the behest of the MMRDA,Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan wrote to the civil aviation ministry asking them to increase the permissible height of structures in BKC to 90 m (approx 40 floors) and at Wadala to 210 m (approx 75 floors).

MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana said the agency has met officials from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL),informing them that it is willing to fund an aeronautical study that will help in easing the current restrictions on vertical limit of buildings. The existing norms limit the height of buildings depending on their proximity to the runway to ensure that highrises do not interfere with radar signals or the flight path.

“Since we offer a global Floor Space Index (FSI) of four in BKC and Wadala,the current regulations come in the way of consuming the FSI. Developers find it difficult to get permission from the ministry to construct taller structures. A study will help us come up with more sophisticated radar and navigation systems,” said Asthana,adding that the study will be in keeping with the norms stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

As BKC falls within four km radius from the runway — the restricted zone — the maximum height allowed for buildings here is 56 m. The norms only permit certain concessions for aerodromes and buildings for government purposes. Last year,the ministry agreed to requests made for projects in BKC by Parinee Developers,Wadhwa developers,Starlight Systems,and TCG Urban Infrastructure and allowed them to go up to 61-84 m depending on the plot’s proximity of the airport. Similarly in Wadala,the maximum height allowed is 80 m (approx 30 floors) for Lodha developers’ New Cuffe Parade project. With a staggering FSI (ratio of permissible built up area on a plot area) of 20,the project was initially supposed to be a single 80-storey skyscraper. However,it had to be scaled down after the ministry refused permission for a taller structure.

MMRDA officials said the agency is pushing for higher vertical limit as it has to bank on revenue from sale of FSI in Bandra and Wadala. The MMRDA has put on hold the sale of land until the realty market becomes more bullish. The agency has 18.50 lakh sq m of unsold FSI in G block of BKC and 30 lakh sq m Wadala; both put together translate in to a few lakh crores.

Moreover,the agency has a 35-hectare sprawl of vacant land in G block of BKC. MMRDA additional commissioner SVR Srinivas said in case there are restrictions on vertical growth,consuming the huge FSI horizontally over the plot will lead to congested development. “Several high-rises have been allowed to come up in the close vicinity of airports in Dubai and Hong Kong; a similar model can be adopted in Mumbai,” said Srinivas.

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