Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, November 20
To regulate commercial activity in urban local bodies (ULBs), the Local Government Department has issued new guidelines, reducing the ‘minimum plot area’ required for change of land use from residential to commercial from 3,000 sq yard to 500 sq yard.
The guidelines that pertain to commercial activity in residential town planning schemes also define the fixed minimum size of the front plot, abutting the connecting roads to have uniformity and aesthetic of the road. Earlier, in absence of such guidelines, people used to construct commercial buildings with 100 sq yard at the front and rest 2,900 sq yard at the rear leading to major traffic issues.
Although department officials claim a strict policy had been put in place to regulate traffic chaos and inconvenience to people living adjoining the commercial buildings, it has raised eyebrows as it is being largely felt that this will put additional burden on the already stressed infrastructure.
The relaxation under the ‘scheme area’ has been given in all Municipal Corporation areas of Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Phagwara, Patiala, Hoshiarpur, Moga, Pathankot, SAS Nagar, Abohar, Batala and Kapurthala.
Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra said the rules were strict. “We have fixed norms. No building plan will be approved if there is a deficiency in parking. No ingress or egress will be permitted from the rear or side road.”
In 2006, the SAD-BJP government had allowed commercial activity on double-depth plots having an area of 3,000 sq yard, but there was no restriction on the minimum plot size at the front and parking norms.
Though conditions like providing the required parking as per the applicable bylaws and leaving setback at the rear side have been included in the conditions, leaving the minimum circulation area for emergency services will itself be a big challenge.
As per the standard practice, an urban local body can move a resolution to define any road as “commercial road” for the purpose of allowing change of land use from residential to commercial.
The department has also decided to do away with the condition of charging 10 per cent annual fee increase every year on April 1 in future cases.
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