Owners do not have right for views from their properties - developers
Updated - The Malta Developers Association (MDA)insisted today that the planning system cannot be expected to protect views enjoyed by property owners over third party properties.
The MDA issued a statement in reaction to the Environmental Planning Statement (EPS) submitted to Mepa on the proposed development of three adjacent sites in the Ta' Masrija area, limits of Mellieha.
"MDA agrees totally with the statement that the Planning System cannot be expected to protect views enjoyed by property owners over third-party properties. In fact the so-called right for views has never been a part of the rights of property in Malta and was never protected by any planning regime, including the current one prevailing in the country," the association said.
In this case, it said, the sites in question are within the development zone and therefore applications for development should be considered according to the parameters applicable to the site.
The MDA said property ownership does not include right for views over third-party property. Applications for permits for sites within development areas should be treated as such by MEPA and an inordinate time in processing relevant applications can never be justified.
"The rights of developers for development permits should not be subject to considerations of supply and demand in the property market as it is solely the developers concerned who decide to risk their own money in development projects. MEPA is not – and should not – assume the role of a regulator that interferes in the free market by imposing restrictions based on market considerations rather than on planning ones," it added.
Ta' Masrija Action Committee in a reaction to the MDA's statement, said that its main objection for this development has nothing to do with the with the rights of the protection of views enjoyed by third parties. Proof of this was a petition sent to Mepa in 2007 in which almost 900 people voiced their concerns and objections for this kind of development, and the obstruction of views was not among the reasons cited.
There was no objection for development provided the same rules and conditions applied for all.
"The development being proposed both exceeds the proposed massing of the settlement and the building limitation for the area as outlined in the Planning policy for Ta' Masrija, Mellieha," the committee said.
"Section (iv) of the Planning policy for Ta' Masrija, Mellieha (approved by MEPA in January 2006) states that:
"... the height of the buildings within the areas allocated for development shall not exceed three floors plus six courses semi-basement above the level of any proposed route [...] bordering the perimeter of the individual block [...]
"... preferably, the overall massing of the project should not create over-sized monolithic building blocks but should be broken down into smaller volumes with landscaped terraces.
"Secondly the suggested open spaces located at the centre of the development proposal are solely intended by the developer(s) to argue for the Floor Area Ratio thus justifying the breach of height limitation policy for the area. Presenting this as a open space for the public is a fallacy. The general public will gain little to no benefit from these open areas.
"Besides exceeding the building height limitations to the proposed heights will significantly impact negatively on the environmental health of the existing neighbourhood. The proposed buildings will obstruct sunlight during different times of the day and will create shadowing over the existing residences.
"Another aspect of this project which was completely omitted by the developers is the social one. With a proposed development of hundreds of units, there will be a massive increase in population overnight, that can bring about sociological and infrastructural implications for the whole village. Indeed we are expecting the developers to address this aspect by conducting a detailed study of these various aspects."