THE development of a multi-storey building in Section 52, Petaling Jaya, next to the Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital is causing concern among residents.
Section 12 Residents Association chairman R. Rajasoorian said the land affected was an institutional land and he was puzzled that it was rezoned for commercial use.
“Part of the land of the Lutheran church is being used for commercial development. There should be a traffic impact assessment (TIA) report done on the proposed project and residents were not asked for their input,” he said.
He also said there was no board put up at the construction site to state the development and questioned if it was legal to be without one.
However, he said he was not against the development as long as the developers or the responsible party could come up with a traffic diversion plan.
Councillor Ramakrishnan Suppiah said the development of the multi-storey building would result in traffic congestion and loss of greenery.
He said the area was normally congested as there was a school nearby and on Sundays there would be the church crowd.
“It will be a traffic nightmare here,” he said.
Ramakrishnan said it was ironic that the issue cropped up after the ‘Livable Cities National Workshop’ organised by the MBPJ and the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) recently.
“We need more greenery and MBPJ is propagating to plant more trees but here more trees are cut down,” Ramakrishnan said.
The All-Petaling Jaya Selangor Residents Association Coalition (APAC) president Liew Wei Beng said that the residents plan to have a meeting with the representatives of the Lutheran church and the developers to discuss and understand the matter better.
“This not only affects this area but also the Federal Highway traffic,” he pointed out.
MBPJ councillor Richard Yeoh wanted to know if the conversion of land was done according to proper procedures.
He agreed that if this issue was not addressed, then other institutional landowners could follow suit and sell off their land to developers.
According to MBPJ councillor Derek Fernandez, under the Petaling Jaya Local Draft Plan 1 (RTPJ1), the landowner has the right to build commercial buildings subject to certain guidelines.
“An owner of ‘private land zone institutional’ can propose or apply for his land to have that status (private land zone institutional) changed to commercial.
“If the area already has a local plan and it is not zoned (as) commercial in the plan, the application will be rejected because it does not comply with the plan,” he said.
He added that the local plan would not be amended just to cater to a few applications.
“It will only be amended to implement national and state policies in Malaysia for the direction of development or to update the plan wholistically to make changing contingencies.
“The Town and Country Planning Act requires the local plan or any amendments to it to undergo a public hearing whereby any member of the public can object or make counter-proposals.
“It is at these hearings that residents can exercise their rights as to whether the development proposed is sustainable or should be allowed. Thereafter, a panel will decide on this and subsequently gazette the plan,” he said.
He said records showed that there were more than three public hearings held between June 2005 and September 2006 before the RTPJ1 was amended, therefore residents had ample chances to object to changes in the plan before it was approved.
When contacted, the church representative declined to comment on this issue.