Court extends orders barring firm from constructing 16-floor apartment in Lavington

Earthmovers belong to Metricon Home Nairobi Properties Limited, a property development firm, clearing a site in Lavington, Nairobi, where it plans to put up a 16-floor house. A court has blocked the developer from starting the project in the one-acre property until a case residents have filed opposing the project is heard and determined. [Muthoni Kamau, Standard]

The Land and Environment Court in Nairobi has extended its orders barring a developer from putting up 512 housing units in Lavington.

Justice Oscar Angote directed Metricon Home Nairobi Limited to wait until an application by Lavington residents, who have opposed the construction of the 16-floor apartment, is heard and determined.

The residents had complained that, if allowed, the project would cut off natural sunlight to their houses.

At the same time, the judge allowed the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and Mbaazi Residents Association (MARA) to join the case filed by Millennium Gardens residents.

Justice Angote, in his orders, barred Metricon Home Nairobi from continuing with the construction of 16 blocks of apartments in a one-acre property.

The tenants of the Millennium Gardens estate are seeking to stop developers from putting up apartments beyond four floors.

According to Millennium lawyer Kabue Thume and Company Advocates, the project is bound to affect the privacy and lives of the neighbours owing to the high number of units set to be built.

The residents complained that the air quality in the area would be affected owing to the number of vehicles owned by the tenants of the property.

Initially, Nema had approved 336 units but Nairobi County increased them, through two letters.

The county however ordered developers to stop construction and conduct public participation.

In court, the residents claimed the developer ignored the county’s directive.

“The development by the respondent is shrouded by secrecy as the respondent commenced the project without putting up a project signboard and consequently making it difficult to ascertain whether the respondent obtained necessary approvals,” argued Kabue.

The residents also lamented that the area drainage and sewer system will be overstretched as there are no plans to enhance them.

“The intended development will infringe the petitioners’ right to a clean and healthy environment having regard to the developer’s intent to cram up to 512 housing units on one acre of plot in disregard of the zoning regulations, scarce amenities, and resources,” Justice Angote heard.

To avoid any conflicts, the residents through their leadership have erected billboards warning developers from going above four floors.

“All developers are notified of zoning provisions limiting developments to four floors. Developers who violate this rule will be prosecuted,” the billboards read in part.

The notices indicate that the one serene neighbourhood is now fighting to keep its state and environment from overzealous developers chasing after the skies.

The areas including Lavington, Kileleshwa, and Runda were classified under Zone Four by Nairobi County, which restricted developers from building beyond four floors.

The situation is however changing with apartments going up beyond the required height or floors - thus violating the county regulations and privacy of residents.

The unregulated development is now causing jitters that the once leafy estate is losing its allure. 

On the other hand, Metricon said that the court has no power to entertain the case even as the judge directed the company to file its response within seven days, alongside Mara and Nema.

The case will be mentioned on November 15.