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Thursday January 20, 2011

Plot ratio formula questioned at hearing

The formula used by developers and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) for the calculation of plot ratio, which affects density, was questioned at a recent public hearing.

All Petaling Jaya Residents Association (Apac) president Johan Tung Abdullah and committee members highlighted the point during the public hearing on a proposed project on Lot 55 in Section 52, Petaling Jaya, currently used as a carpark.

The lot is adjacent to Armada Hotel and the hearing was held at MBPJ headquarters on Tuesday.

The developer has proposed to build two blocks of 45 and 29 storeys on the plot of land meant for commercial use under the Petaling Jaya Local Plan 1 (RTPJ1), with a plot ratio of not more than six.

Johan pointed out that the developer’s calculations of plot ratio did not comply with the Town and Country Planning Act 1976 because “nett” floor area was used and common areas were excluded.

The Act defines “plot ratio” as “the ratio of the total floor area of a building to the area of the building plot as measured between the survey boundary lines or, if there are no survey boundary lines, between the provisional boundary lines.”

“Floor area means the total area of floor space within a building, as measured between the external sides of walls or, in the case of party walls, between the centres of such walls,” Johan said.

“Is the formula used by the developer consistent with the Act?” he asked.

Developer Mammoth Empire Holding Sdn Bhd argued that the same formula was used for the Special Area Plan (RKK) for Section 13 Petaling Jaya as well as by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

“If you want to bring up the Town and Country Planning Act, then you are not in a position to comment about the development because you do not stay within 200m of the project,” a representative from the company said.

Apac then argued that they were invited by the MBPJ to attend the hearing in the spirit of Local Agenda 21, adding that Clause 21(6) of the Act should be reviewed as density was still not a serious issue when the law was drawn up 35 years ago.

The residents were also caught by surprise when told that the hearing included another proposal for a 17-storey building on a piece of land next to the Asia Jaya LRT station.

They requested for another session for this project as they had not been provided with the project details.

Johan highlighted that RTPJ1 had a map indicating that Lot 55 should have two petrol stations and a carpark.

“Also, does the planning submitted by the developer comply with the points raised by MBPJ councillor Mak Khuin Weng?” he asked.

Mak recently stated that the MBPJ had violated the National Physical Plan, National Urbanisation Policy and Selangor Structure Plan when giving its approval for some development projects.

“We are not against development but we want to make sure that it is sustainable for the benefit of all the parites involved,” Johan said.

Mammoth Empire Holding group executive director Danny Cheah said the proposed project had complied with all the requirements under the council’s by-laws and guidelines.

“Apart from that, we will carry out upgrading works and surrender part of the road, which will cost us approximately RM12mil to RM15mil but we feel that these improvements are important not just for our project but the overall environment,” he said.

He added that the company had also carried out a traffic impact study and amended the plans to meet MBPJ requirements.

Cheah said the company bought the land last year at RM45mil and the construction would cost them another RM200mil.

“We look at long-term, sustainable development. We do not plan to just sell the units and leave,” he added.

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