Court extends orders stopping construction of city high-rise

The Environment and Land Court in Nairobi has extended orders barring a developer from putting up 16-floor apartments in Lavington.

Justice Oscar Angote directed Metricon Home Nairobi Limited to wait until January 16 when the case by Lavington residents will be heard.

The judge, in his orders, barred Metricon Home Nairobi Ltd from continuing with the construction of 16 blocks of apartments on its one-acre property.

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

According to Kabue Thume, the lawyer representing Millennium, the project is bound to affect the privacy and lives of neighbours owing to the high number of units set to be built. Construction of the high-rise was set to start next year.

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

Additional units

Initially, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) had approved 336 units but Nairobi County government allowed construction of additional units.

The county, however, ordered the developer to stop construction and conduct public participation. In court, the resident argued that the developer allegedly ignored the county’s directive.

“The development by the respondent is shrouded in 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 sewerage will be overstretched.

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 once serene suburb neighbourhood is fighting to keep its status and environment from overzealous developers chasing after the skies.

The posh estates, 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.

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

On the other hand, Metricon said the Environment court has no powers to entertain the case.

Judge Angote directed the company to file its response within seven days alongside Mara and Nema.

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