THE Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA) yesterday announced “zoning changes” in two areas - Kulaib and Bin Omran - allowing construction of apartments in “villa only” areas.
The re-zoning of Fareej Kulaib (Zone 35) and Fareej Bin Omran (Zone 37) will take effect from today, said planning department director Mohamed A Qader Abu-Erhama.
As per the changes, certain pockets where only residential villas were permitted will now be open to building residential G + 2 or G + 3 apartments.
This was being done in order to avoid speculation on land prices, the official said.
UPDA has “no intention” to change “any zoning” before the much-touted Master Plan is released (likely by 2010), he pointed out, adding that the current changes had to be done in the interest of homogeneity of the area as also to provide more areas for apartments to ease pressure on housing.
“But, that is not the main objective,” the official stressed.
The change was also aimed at protecting the privacy of villa owners in the zones which were surrounded by apartments.
However, if an owner wanted to continue living in his villa, it was his option. “But, this usually doesn’t happen,” Abu-Erhama said.
As soon as a villa zone is thrown open for development, owners usually move out to give way to construct buildings which fetch higher prices.
Ali Ahmed Salmin al-Shamian, head of local planning section, said the changes affected only “internal” areas and not road sides. These would continue to be used for commercial offices and retail outlets.
Abu-Erhama announced that permitted land uses for Fareej Kulaib will be changed from single family residential (G+1+P) to residential apartment buildings (G+2).
In Fareej Bin Omran, both residential G+2 and G+3 apartment buildings will now be permitted.
Abu-Erhama said the re-zoning was made after significant studies, including the Qatar National Master Plan (QNMP), which will recommend future land uses and zoning for urban development in the next 25 years.
Abu-Erhama said that in anticipation of the final release of the Master Plan, the Planning Department had adopted a flexible approach to conducting studies. Consideration was being given to the rapidly changing conditions, including impact of urban development projects.
These considerations included shortage of residential apartment buildings in Greater Doha. “We need more apartments now than villas.”
Despite the re-zoning, all the other building regulations would continue to apply, he said.
The Planning Department assessed the long-term impacts, and considered local customs and traditions while making zones, the official said.
Hamad Medical City in the area was not subject to zoning rules as it was a “special case”, the official said.
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