More and more no development zones could be opened up for construction over the next 20 years to build more affordable homes.
Among the 2,245 recommendations made by the six-member planning committee is a revision to the draft Development Plan 2034 — a blueprint for the city’s development over the next two decades — to change the way affordable housing projects are built. The changes will drastically increase the builders’ share, to attract many more of them to come forward to build affordable homes — a move the owners will benefit from, but is certain to irk environment activists in Mumbai.
First, the committee proposes dividing NDZs into two – Special Development Zone I and II.
SDZ I has been classified as encumbered NDZs, where there are slums; SDZ II is non-encumbered NDZs. The plan is to implement affordable housing schemes on a large scale in the SDZ II, an area of around 1,773 hectares.
Currently, the draft DP 2034 says if an owner wants to open up an NDZ plot, 25% of it has to be developed for affordable housing, another 25% should be left for public open spaces, 16% for other amenities and 34% for the builder.
The committee has recommended increasing the affordable housing allotment to 30%, but reducing public open spaces to 15%, instead of the earlier 25%. Land for other amenities will vary depending on the area of plot. This means an increase of the owners’ share in various slabs, while there is a loss of amenities.
So, how will this turn out?
The civic body will be paving the way for more and more development on NDZs to be done by the owners, but fewer giving up public open spaces and, to a certain extent, amenities such as education and health among others.
To attract more developers, the panel recommends an increase in what the builder will take home — higher than the current 34%.
The civic body maintains these recommendations will have no negative impact, as the affordable housing percentage will also go up.
“We have done this to ensure the affordable housing scheme becomes suitable for the owners as well. Public open spaces will not reduce, as the committee has proposed an increase in the per capita standard. This is done after thorough calculations and by coming up with a new zone — SDZ I that are essentially slums on NDZ plots that did not give us any open space earlier,” a senior civic officer said.
Pankaj Joshi, the director of the Urban Development and Research Institute, said, “It will be a notional loss but as the layout of recreation grounds (space that has to be left open by the developer during construction, but is only for private use by residents of that housing complex) are not being meddled with, it won’t be a major issue.”