Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Residents upset with plans to convert houses into 10-storey condo

Source: (BY STEVEN DANIEL, 19/8/2013) 
Unhappy lot: Lim (fourth from right) and Lee (third from right) and other residents holding a notice of the proposed plan to build the 10-storey building. Behind them is the double-storey house earmarked for the development.
PLANS to convert two double-storey terrace houses — one a corner lot — in Jalan Sri Hartamas 17, Kuala Lumpur, into a 10-storey condominium has left residents in the area fuming.
Sri Hartamas Residents Associa-tion (RA) committee member Joseph Ki, 52, an architect, said the RA first found out about the proposal for the project in January. “We saw a public notice in several newspapers in January. Following this, a meeting with residents was held and we submitted a petition, with 104 signatures, protesting against the proposal. “We also complained to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL),” he said during a press conference in Plaza Damas yesterday. He said the 10-storey structure was proposed to be built on two lots of double-storey link houses measuring no more than an estimated 15,000 square feet.
“The developer plans to construct a high-rise building on land gazetted for low-density residential development. If this project is approved before the KL City 2020 plan is gazetted, other residential areas could see high-rise buildings taking shape. Anyone can just buy several houses and convert them into high-rise buildings. “It is shocking,” said Ki.
Since the discovery, the RA had written numerous letters to DBKL but has yet to receive any response.
“We only got a reply when Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng wrote to the Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor. He said the minister’s office replied that the project was approved,” said RA chairman Gerald Lee. He said they were shocked as over 90% of the residents had objected to the proposal.
Ronnie Ng, 62, a retiree whose double-storey terrace house is located beside the proposed location of the 10-storey condominium, said he was appalled by the move. “Not only will there be massive construction work beside my house for the next two years, it will also cause noise and dust pollution as well as safety and security problems. The price of property here will also go down as the area will be marred,” said Ng.
Ki said the developer and DBKL were also not transparent about the entire project because they had found out that the 10-storey structure would also include two levels for offices. “The roads here are meant for residential usage. If the developer includes office units as well, it will lead to traffic woes in the area. As it is, the area is already congested, with illegal parking around the Plaza Damas area. “With the KL City 2020 plan about to be gazetted, we have no choice but to turn to the media to highlight this problem. Our next course of action is to hold a peaceful protest in front of DBKL and we may also resort to taking legal action against DBKL,” Lee said.
Lim also promised to bring up the issue with the FT minister at a meeting on Aug 26.
Meanwhile, when contacted, DBKL mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib, via SMS said: “DBKL cannot simply change and convert any land/lot use without following a proper process as stipulated under the Federal Territories Planning Act,” he said, adding that they would look into the RA’s claims.
Related news: Condo project raises ire of Sri Hartamas folk Condo project raises ire of Sri Hartamas folk - Central - New Straits Times

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