CHENNAI: Clearing the air over rules governing construction of buildings in coastal regulation zones (CRZ), Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has started issuing approvals for residential projects on the beachfront. The road abutting Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar will soon house one such project, a three-storeyed residential building being promoted by a prominent city builder.
Redevelopment of beachfront properties, however, is becoming difficult owing to the restrictions imposed by the 2011 CRZ notification. “Many land owners approach us for joint development of properties in CRZ areas. Some of those buildings are in a dilapidated condition, requiring demolition. Still, we are unable to take up those projects because they are unviable, both for the developer as well as the promoter, owing to restrictions imposed on height and floor space index (FSI is the ratio of land to built-up area),” said T Chitty Babu, MD, Akshaya.
With land owners demanding 6 crore per ground, few transactions take place in CRZ areas in Besant Nagar. At that price, promoting apartments while adhering to FSI and height restrictions is difficult, said Babu. Or else, one has to sell apartments at 30,000 per sqft, which is the going rate in premium locations, he said.
As per the new norms, all redevelopment in CRZ areas are governed by Chennai’s first master plan, while the rest of the city, follows the second master plan, rolled out by the CMDA in 2008. There is no building height restriction on plots abutting roads with a minimum width of 40ft in other parts of the city, but in CRZ areas the maximum permissible height is 18 metres, said a CMDA official. Hence, no builder can achieve 2.5 FSI in CRZ areas.
An interesting case in point is redevelopment of the erstwhile Foreshore Estate housing colony, which is pending for close to three years. The government had initially planned to construct highrise residential buildings on the land. But now, it will have to restrict the buildings to five floors.
Not many apply for redevelopment of plots on the beachfront, said a CMDA official. “We receive very few applications for redevelopment. Development is not permitted on the seaside of any beach road. On the other hand, permission is given to construct buildings on the land side, wherever the roads were formed before 1991,” he said.
The entire city and areas up to Palavakkam follow CRZ II, which means even residential development is permitted within 500 m from the high tide line (HTL) but with restrictions. Areas beyond Palavakkam on East Coast Road fall under CRZ III, where only tourism activities and housing for fishermen are permitted in the first 500m from the HTL. CRZ rules are applicable along rivers and major canals like Buckingham canal too. In such areas the restriction is only for 100m.