BUILDINGS facing height restrictions, owing to their proximity to the airport or defence installations, in Mumbai may soon be in a position to avail of a huge construction bonanza. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced in the state’s Legislative Assembly Wednesday that the government had plans to provide a “special dispensation” in Mumbai’s proposed new development control regulations to push for the redevelopment of these buildings.
This will be the first time in India, when a state government has proposed special concessions for buildings impacted by the restrictions around the airport and defence lands. “The height restrictions have impacted the viability of such redevelopments. In order to overcome the hardship faced by residents, provisions of conferring additional building rights for such redevelopments in the form of transferable development rights (TDR) or additional floor space index, and relaxations in town planning norms are being considered,” Fadnavis informed the Assembly.
He said further hinted that the town planning concessions to be offered for such developments could be in the form of dilution of norms required to be maintained for side margins around the plot, and permitting clubbing of two or more plots. TDR is a kind of floating floor space that can be utilise elsewhere in the city.
According to information, close to 6,000 buildings located near the airport in suburban Vile Parle, Khar, Santacruz, Kurla, and Ghatkopar, which house over 3.6 lakh people, attract height restrictions as they are situated in the airport’s imaginary “funnel” zone or the approach path of a low-flying aircraft. Another 1,500-odd buildings, especially those in the far-off suburban belts of Kandivali, Malad and Borivali, meanwhile face development restrictions due to the close proximity of defence-owned lands. The Chief Minister made the announcement during a discussion of Mumbai’s proposed new development control regulations, which are likely to be unveiled before the end of the month.
Bharatiya Janata Party legislator and Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar had earlier raised a demand that a transferable development right equivalent to six times the plot’s size be offered to buildings impacted by the funnel height restrictions. But even as the sop is likely to make the BJP more popular among the residents affected by the restrictions, senior government town planners are not entirely convinced about the TDR sop. “The loss due to height restrictions is more of the form of reduction in development potential of plot. In most cases, the zonal floor space index can still be availed in situ for such developments. In such circumstances, allowing high construction incentives in the form of the TDR, which can then be utilised elsewhere in the city, would only densify the city further,” said a senior source, who was involved in the drafting of the city’s new development plan.
While the new development plan was designed on the basis of universal floor space index for the entire city, another senior official said that the TDR sop would mean a switch towards a variable FSI regime. The government is also considering high density developments around public transportation interchanges across Mumbai.
Sources said that a top city builder, also considered close to the ruling party, has been lobbying for the perk for a long time. He added that the demand had been raised even during the previous Congress-led government in the state, but then Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had turned it down. Incidentally, an alternative of offering financial incentives for such developments has been proposed by the civic development plan department. Officials are also wary that similar demands for grant of TDR would also be raised by land owners and residents affected due to forest buffer zone restrictions and coastal regulation zone norms.
Meanwhile, Fadnavis also hinted at plans to relax development restrictions around for building around the Arthur Road jail premises in South Mumbai. The plan, said officials, was to secure the area within 20 meter radius of the jail premises while permitting graded construction rights for developments up to 150 meters of the jail.