Builders to take AAI to court over runway
Jan 11, 2013
Source : The Times Of India


The Airport Authority of India's (AAI) decision to allow the use of the secondary runway at Juhu airport will affect about 153 projects that have received no-objection certificates (NOCs) since 2011, in the prime Juhu-Vile Parle realty belt. Property prices in the belt are roughly Rs30,000 a sq ft.

While construction has started on many projects, AAI will review, modify and cancel their NOCs depending on whether the buildings lie in the runway's flight path. Developers will have to accordingly restrict the building's height to up to seven floors, rather than the earlier up to 14 floors. A four-star hotel at Juhu Tara Road near Juhu beach and big redevelopment schemes like the proposed Khira Nagar housing society near the Milan subway may get affected.

AAI's decision will affect projects from the Juhu airport to Western Express Highway in Vile Parle (E), Juhu beach on the west, the JVPD Scheme in the north and Milan subway in the south, and builders are contemplating legal intervention.

According to civil aviation norms, the height of a building near an airport should be 4% of its distance from the edge of the nearest runway. No buildings are allowed within 300 metres of a runway. By this calculation, if a building is a km from a runway, it can be roughly 30 metres tall, or up to seven floors. The relaxation in 2011 enabled them to increase the building height to 57 metres, or up to 14 floors.

"AAI should have thought about this before issuing NOCs. We are finding it difficult to operate when rules are changed abruptly and that too with retrospective effect,'' said Vijay Thakkar, chairman of Dev Land Housing (DLH), whose recently launched DLH Square, a high-end residential building on 9th Gulmohar Cross road in JVPD Scheme will be affected by the AAI order.

Another developer, whose five residential projects are affected by AAI's decision, said the authority was being ridiculous. "Considering the city's development plan is known, AAI should have known that buildings would come up. They should have stipulated the buildings' height. We would have drawn up our designs accordingly,'' the developer said. He added, "Many projects are under construction, while few are completed. Will AAI revoke these NOCs? We will challenge the decision in court.''

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