Heritage structures, mangroves and salt pans claimed, the draft development plan for the city also proposes a high floor space index for the Juhu beach and areas around it.
This means the plan not just allows for more high-rises to come up around the beach, but also makes the beach itself vulnerable to exploitation.
The draft DP shows the beach and its surroundings under the 3.5 FSI category, a move that has left experts and activists puzzled, as the beach is protected as a coastal regulation zone.
“When no development can ever take place, as this is a beach, what is the point of giving it an FSI of 3.5,” said PK Das, architect and town planner.
The current FSI for the suburbs is 1. But if the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s proposal goes through, the area around the beach – which now has a few hotels, residential buildings and old bungalows – will be opened up for development. Residents have opposed the idea, and have said the steep increase in the FSI will favour developers who want to raze the old bungalows to build luxury skyscrapers.
The draft DP has not just increased FSI around the beach, but has also hiked it to between 5 and 8 for areas on arterial roads like the Link Road, SV Road and Gulmohar road, in line with its transit-oriented development plan.
Residents fear the high FSI – both around the Juhu beach and on these arterial roads will lead to the area getting overcrowded. “This change was unnecessary. It could lead to the area getting crowded. At this rate, the FSI may even be increased for the actual Juhu beach to favour builders,” said Bharat Shetty, a resident. Shetty said the residents will document their objections to the proposal.
When the draft DP was discussed at Andheri (West), locals objected to a point in the plan that shows a road cut across a playground at Manish Nagar. Residents said this was the only playground in the area, and various tournaments organised there could be affected by the proposal in the draft DP.
“I will not let even an inch of open space or mangroves in my area get affected. How can a road pass through a playground? Is this how we plan the development of a city?” said Ameet Satam, the local MLA.
Chief engineer of the development plan department, R Balachandran, was not available for comment.