The Maharashtra government has decided to tweak the definition of carpet area in Mumbai’s development control (DC) regulations. Areas covered by internal walls within an apartment will now be counted while approving carpet area of homes in a construction project.
Senior sources confirmed that a high-level development plan scrutiny panel, reviewing Mumbai’s proposed new DC rules, has decided to tweak the ‘carpet area’ definition to bring it on par with that prescribed by the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).
Carpet area is net usable floor area of an apartment. Literally speaking, it means the area within an apartment on which a ‘carpet’ can be spread. According to the existing DC rules, areas covered by internal partition walls were not counted in carpet area calculations. But while the civic body had also retained the same definition in the new DC rules, sources confirmed that the Chief Minister-appointed panel has now recommended tweaking it to include these internal areas. In other words, the net usable carpet area promised by builders to flat buyers may go down in several ongoing and upcoming projects. Defending the decision, sources said the modification was necessary for ensuring uniformity in the DC regulations and RERA provisions. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is expected to approve the new DC rules for Mumbai by month-end.
Incidentally, the city’s new DC rules may also come as a major bonanza for some developers building luxury towers, who have built areas like flower beds, terraces, balconies, voids and parking decks in excess of what is permitted. With the development potential of plots likely to be enhanced in the new rules, the government has plans to allow regularisation of these additional areas. While a premium at 60 per cent of the government-determined market values would be payable for areas covering lift, lobby, and staircases, the remaining extra areas will be offered free of cost.
Luxury residential towers coming up in upscale areas such as Worli, Lower Parel, Breach Candy, Currey Road and Nepeansea Road, where property rates are among the country’s highest, will benefit from the dole. Sources confirmed that influential developers had lobbied hard with the government and city officials for the concession. They had contended that the initial building permissions or IOD for building such extra areas had been sanctioned for these building projects before the civic body adopted the premium payment rule for such areas on January 6, 2012.
Another segment to benefit from the dole would be housing societies and land owners who have made additions and alterations to their structures after issuance of occupation certificate. Once the new rules kick in, they would be able to approach the civic body for regularisation of the illegal extensions to the extent of the enhanced development potential.
Builders of commercial plots are set for another windfall. While the civic body has already proposed higher building incentives for such constructions in the new regime, the government has plans to offer even more construction rights by increasing the compensatory or fungible FSI permitted over and above permissible FSI for such developments to 35 per cent as compared to prevalent 20 per cent. Further, the premiums payable for this additional building rights are likely to be slashed as well. FSI is a development tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot. It is the ratio of a buildable area of a plot to the total plot area.
Sops are also on the cards for development of buildings and commercial properties falling in Mumbai’s airport funnel zone (the approach path of a low-flying aircraft). A proposal for issuing transferable development rights (TDRs) for buildings that face height restrictions because of their proximity to an airport apart from other special concessions is being considered. But sources said that the committee itself is divided on the option. Close to 3.6 lakh people reside in 6,000 buildings around the airport in Vile Parle, Santacruz, Kurla and Ghatkopar. This area has been tagged the “funnel zone.”
Meanwhile, the scrutiny committee has also cleared the civic body’s proposal to permit helipads on rooftops of buildings over 200 metre in height. It has also cleared a move to allow highrises to extend the terrace portion or construct a projection for setting up open-to-sky viewing decks or observatories. Interestingly while the civic general body, comprising elected corporators, had moved 300-odd amendments to the new development plan, sources said that about 90 of these were rejected by the panel, and are unlikely to be accepted. Most of these are related to imposing public reservations on land parcels, said sources.