KL mayor leaves it to courts to decide fate of project

A view of the proposed development site sandwiched by Tiara Faber condominium and SK Taman Desa, along the narrow stretch of Jalan Desa Bakti 2, Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will let the court decide the future of The Address, a new high-density residential development in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur.

Eleven Taman Desa property owners filed for a judicial review of the planning permission for the project with the Kuala Lumpur High Court in March, on the grounds that proper procedures were not followed, among others.

The development will be sandwiched between the Tiara Faber condominium and three schools along the narrow stretch of Jalan Desa Bakti 2.

When contacted, Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz said DBKL would have to wait for the court’s decision.

DBKL city planning director Sulaiman Mohamed said the mayor took due consideration of the concerns raised by the residents during the objection hearing, as well as the technical evaluation report at the One Stop Centre meeting on Jan 12, prior to approving the development order issued on March 13.

“The main entry and exit road will be able to support the development and only cause minimal traffic impact to the surrounding area.

"Based on the traffic impact assessment report, the developer is required to upgrade the road infrastructure.

“Among the upgrading works required include the Jalan Desa Bakti-Jalan Desa Utama junction, building a pedestrian walkway around the site and surrendering part of the land to the neighbouring school and condominium for road reserve.

“The developer is also required to ensure that nearby residents are informed on the project through a meeting with the residents and advertisements in Malay and English newspapers,” he added.

However, one of the plaintiffs, K.Y. Khong, said none of the residents’ concerns were addressed by DBKL officers during the objection hearing sessions on Sept 21, 2016, and the residents were also not kept informed on the development, despite letters and reminders from their solicitors.

“We had no choice but to ask our solicitors to file for a judicial review,” he said

Khong explained that the decision on the planning permission was made without proper study on the project’s impact on Taman Desa and its residents.

“The land was Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) reserve land and not residential land. The latest city plan also states that the land was supposed to have been gazetted as a green lung,” he said during a media briefing.

During a visit by StarMetro to the site, there were ongoing earthworks and excavators operating on the land. However, there was no signage with the particulars of the project.

Tiara Faber condominium resident Kevin Chong said he was worried about traffic congestion in the area.

“I bought my unit about five years ago and was convinced that it would be a good place to live.

"Now, I am shocked at the haphazard plans in the area for the high-rise development.

“There are five schools in the area, with three schools very close to the site and the congestion during school peak hours is bad.

“Each condominium unit is given only one or two parking bays and many residents park along the side of the roads.

“With the completion of three blocks of 34- to 42-storey condominiums comprising 649 units, the parking problem will only get worse and so will the traffic,” added Chong.

Valerie Low, another Tiara Faber condominium resident, said residents raised many of their concerns and even submitted a letter with 52 questions during the objection hearing but have yet to receive a reply.

“The proximity of The Address project and the adjacent buildings also poses a hazard to the surroundings. The construction will also badly affect the air quality and peace of the surroundings,” she said.

Long-time resident Philip Phang said 13 new development projects comprising housing, shoplots and offices in Taman Desa were under way but there were no plans to expand the infrastructure, facilities and amenities to cater to the future increase in population.

“Out of the 13 projects, 12 are going to be built on former government land that were previously a playground, community centre, green lung and TNB reserve land, respectively.

“On the whole, Taman Desa, which was built for a population density of between 60 and 225 people per acre, will see an up to tenfold increase.

“However, these projects are still reliant on the existing infrastructure built some 40 years ago when the residential township started,” he said.

Earlier this month, Taman Desa Residents Association launched a campaign to oppose the over-development of Taman Desa, Bukit Desa and Danau Desa.

The campaign runs until the end of this month and supporters can sign it at https://ipetitions.com/petition/save-taman-desa

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