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More headache for property owners in Nairobi as City Hall talks demolition

By Josphat Thiongo | August 7th 2019
By Josphat Thiongo | August 7th 2019
City Hall offices in Nairobi (PHOTO: File)

Majority of buildings in Nairobi’s residential estates risk being demolished after it emerged they had not complied with the city’s zoning policy.

This emerged during an urban planning and housing committee session where officers from the urban housing department were grilled over the influx of unapproved buildings in the capital.

The committee on Tuesday revealed that officers from the planning department had colluded with unscrupulous developers and put up buildings in total disregard to the zoning policy, which guides on how many floors a structure should have and the maximum number of buildings allowed in a certain zone.

Committee chair Anthony Kiragu, brought to the fore that only 25 per cent of all city buildings had their building plans approved by City Hall having been cleared as adhering to the zoning policy.

He was concerned that rogue developers had put up unapproved buildings next to ‘sensitive’ or high-level establishments such as Statehouse, airports, military barracks and Embassies which compromised their safety.

“In Kileleshwa for instance, buildings are only allowed to go four storeys up but we have since established that some buildings in the area go up to eight floors up,” said Kiragu.

Adding that the unapproved structures were causing a strain on resources such as water, drainage systems, roads, lighting as well as security.

“It has even become a nightmare to plan for vital services such as garbage collections because the houses contravene the county’s zoning policy,” stated Kiragu.

The committee will from Wednesday go round estates with an aim of establishing which buildings were put up in contravention of the zoning policy and recommend for remedial action.

“We will be going around evaluating the buildings and we shall also be giving recommendations on which buildings to be demolished. The committee is also urging members of the public to help in identifying such buildings,” observed the chairman.

Kiragu who doubles up as Waithaka ward MCA further called on Governor Mike Sonko to reign in on rogue officers from the urban planning and housing department who were responsible for the haphazard building of structures.

“The Governor should investigate and expose housing cartel that is responsible for the proliferation of unapproved structures and buildings,” he added.

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