Relief for Bangsar folk

  • Community
  • Monday, 23 Apr 2012

The conversion of homes into commercial lots has resulted in social problems in Bangsar. However, this is set to change as Kuala Lumpur City Hall tightens its property planning rules. Changes in store include the Selera food court making way for a complex.

THE indiscriminate practice of turning homes into commercial units in Bangsar will soon be a thing of the past as new planning rules and guidelines have been approved under the Draft Kuala Lumpur City Plan 2020.

According to a reliable source from Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), the new guidelines will make it difficult for owners of residential property to rent or turn their houses into commercial units as certain parts of Bangsar will come under a ‘limited commercial’ zone while some parts will remain fully residential.

These new rules will put a stop to home owners in the already congested township from renting out their units to businesses that would bring more human and vehicular traffic into Bangsar.

It would also curb rampant illegal renovation works that is slowly changing the facade of the houses in Bangsar. The source added that the move will also put a stop to corruption which is prevalent in this sector.

The rules will also apply to units which are already operating as a business in some areas.

The source said some of these buildings will have to revert to their original status as residential or scale back on its renovation exercise.

New guidelines are expected to be in place by the middle of the year after the Draft KL Plan is gazetted on July 1.

Then proper guidelines such as for use of land, preservation of environment, improvement of landscape, traffic management and many more can be determined.

“This means it is no longer going to be easy to open a car showroom or even a kindergarten in the area now as regulations provide a guarantee that a proposed building or related structure must be suitable for the surrounding area.

According to the source, Bangsar stakeholders had held a meeting with deputy director-general for planning Datuk Zulkifli Ibrahim to fine-tune the details of the rules, and that it was determined that under the new guidelines, residential units located on the right side (if you are coming from Jalan Bangsar) of Jalan Maarof, same row as Bangsar Shopping Cenre and the entire stretch of Lorong Maarof will remain residential.

It was mutually agreed that this would be so by virtue of the fact that Bangsar is a mature and established residential area.

Meanwhile, houses located on the left side of Jalan Maarof, beginning at the water tank in Jalan Ara and stretching all the way to Jalan Damansara, Bangsar Park and Lucky Garden, Bukit Bandaraya and Jalan Pinang are zoned ‘limited commercial.’

This means only commercial units that will not attract a high volume of traffic and people will be allowed.

Residents in Bangsar welcome City Hall’s move to tighten planning rules in the township as their repeated demands for the local authority to define zoning rules has been going on for almost a decade.

Last year, Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad announced that the delay in gazetting the Draft KL Plan was due to several factors such as to include the Greater KL Plan, the MRT project and additional infrastructure.

According to the mayor, changes were also being made to reconsider the views of stakeholders who are asking for more time to reach a win-win situation in their neighbourhoods such as in the case of Jalan Maarof in Bangsar, whereby there had been requests by residents over the land status issue.

Ahmad Fuad had said the landowners were re-negotiating with the residents associations to come up with an amicable solution to satisfy both parties.

The move, the mayor said was to include everyone’s views on this and which is in line with the Government’s wish of putting people first.

The City Hall source added that Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin and even the Prime Minister had agreed that some of the observations and feedback made by the people had merit and should be taken into account.

Bangsar’s ideal location in a prime area made it a popular place for the KL folk to converge but the neighbourhood soon became popular as an happening nightspot with many pubs, restaurants and 24-hour mamak joints popping up overnight.

While the pubs would close at 2am, the 24-hour mamak restaurants would continue to pull in the crowd until the wee hours of the morning, attracting outsiders to the neighbourhood as well as intruders into homes.

The situation created problems for residents living in this affluent neighbourhood.

Residents whose homes are in front of the commercial areas have on numerous occasions protested against the excessive noise, smoke and traffic congestion brought about by business owners and the customers.

This has resulted in many residents moving out of the neighbourhood and some even selling and renting out their homes to businesses.

The remaining folks, especially the older generation who have no choice, have been forced to put up with the congestion and social problems that have surfaced as a result of the development.

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