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New development plan allows opening up of Aarey Colony, more FSI for buildings

According to the new DCPR, the island city will now get a maximum FSI of 3

mumbai Updated: Apr 26, 2018 10:21 IST
Sanjana Bhalerao
Sanjana Bhalerao
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,BMC,development plan
The additional FSI has been linked to the width of the front road, which means the FSI will be available on plots that have roads with a minimum width of 9m and more.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

While the development plan, titled Development Control and Promotional Regulation 2034 (DCPR 2034), released by CM Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday facilitates vertical development by making provisions for taller buildings in the island city and commercial structures across the city, it retains controversial provisions, leaving several questions unanswered.

Opening of no-development zone (NDZ) for affordable housing, opening of Aarey milk colony for development, increase in floor space index (FSI), transit-oriented development for the city – all controversial suggestions have found their way back into the DP 2034 approved by state’s scrutiny committee, though under different headings.

For example, Aarey becomes a green zone to allow construction of Metro car shed and a zoo, while NDZ is opened up as a special development zone for affordable housing.

The earlier rejected and opposed plan of transit-oriented development, too, has been put back on the table. The civic body had earlier rejected the demand while approving the draft development plan (DP 2034). In the development plan report, municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had said that the “idea of providing high FSI around transit corridors was flawed in many ways, as it would make the already congested station areas more congested”.

However, the state government is all set to come up with a new provision for inclusion of TOD model.

Taller residential buildings, commercial complexes with higher floor space index (FSI) across the city are the theme of the newly approved DP 2034. However, the municipal corporation, which also has to provide civic amenities such water supply, sewage lines, and open spaces, seems to have forgotten its importance.

According to the new DCPR, the island city will now get a maximum FSI of 3. Earlier, it was 2 for the island city. This decision will lead to further vertical development in the island city that covers the area between south Mumbai, Sion and Mahim. The FSI of island city was kept unchanged in 2015, while approving additional FSI for suburbs. FSI is the ratio of the total built-up area to the size of the plot. It indicates how high a developer can build on a plot.

In addition, scrapping the concept of variable FSI for starred hotels, state government’s scrutiny panel has proposed an FSI of 5 for all types of commercial structures. This will lead to higher vertical development of all commercial buildings in already congested Lower parel, Elphinstone, Mumbai Central among others. Civic activists are unsure of how these areas, which are already witnessing traffic congestion, parking issues and are deficient in civic amenities, will handle more growth.

The additional FSI has been linked to the width of the front road, which means the FSI will be available on plots that have roads with a minimum width of 9m and more. And the plan to increase this includes removal of encroachment. Ajoy Mehta, municipal commissioner, said, “Our plan includes removing illegal shops, hawkers from the areas where 9-meter road exists, but is non-usable owing to encroachment. Second, as and when the buildings come to BMC for redevelopment permissions, we will take the area from the housing societies to increase the width of the road. Under the accommodation reservation policy, these societies will be compensated with additional construction rights than normally permissible.”

The government says it will lead to more houses in the city, while experts point out it will also lead to congestion and burdening the existing infrastructure. Nitin Kareer, principal secretary, state urban development department, said, “The objective of the decision is to allow construction of more houses in the city. The wider the road, the more the FSI.”

Pankaj Joshi, executive director, urban design research institute, said, “What will ensuring only road width achieve? The hike in FSI needs to be backed with sound infrastructure; otherwise there could be more congestion in the city.”

While state officials said incentive FSI has been linked to road width, urban planners and activists warned against its misuse. “In the next couple of weeks, BMC will present a policy to increase the road width to 9m,” said Mehta.

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 10:21 IST