Posted: 06 May 2011 03:58 PM PDT
Posted: 06 May 2011 03:44 PM PDT
By Gan Pei Ling of Selangor Times
SHAH ALAM: It was a bittersweet day for residents of USJ 6 when the Selangor Appeals Board decided to uphold Telekom Bhd's right to develop its 0.35-hectare utility reserve land yesterday.
While the telecommunications company is now allowed to continue with its development, three conditions imposed upon them will reduce the size and nature of the development to ensure that traffic conditions in the area will not be severely impacted.
Telekom had initially proposed to construct a nine-storey commercial tower in a development undertaken by TM Facilities and Pujangga Budiman in a joint venture.
But conditions set by the board have ensured that the development is no higher than the existing five-storey Telekom building located in the same area.
"The building shall not be higher than the existing Telekom building [in USJ 6]," said board member Ho Khong Ming.
The board ruled that the developer must also reduce the size and height of the building as traffic on most roads in USJ 6 is already congested, according to a 2008 Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) report.
In addition, Ho said: "The development shall only be for offices, and no part of the development can be used for commercial purposes that would attract more traffic than offices."
He said retail outlets, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and cinemas are not permitted. Thirdly, the developer must adopt the TIA's suggestions to improve traffic conditions in the area and adhere to any additional conditions imposed by the local council.
Two other Appeals Board members, Datuk Abu Bakar Awang and Datuk Azmeer Rashid, were also present.
The board also said the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) should issue a public apology over its blunder in designating the land as a field in its draft local plan before changing the land's status to "commercial" without public consultation.
Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh said they will consult Gobind Singh Deo, who is the lawyer representing the residents, to consider the possibility of a judicial review.
MPSJ had twice rejected the developer's application to sub-divide the utility reserve land for development in its full board meetings in November 2005 and February 2006.
However, the local council gave conditional approval for the project in 2008 before the TIA was completed. The residents filed an appeal against the project in 2009.
Due to public protest, MPSJ revoked its development order in 2009, but the revocation is legally void as it was never endorsed by the State Planning Committee.
Subsequently, MPSJ councillors and its then president Datuk Adnan Md Ikshan cancelled the revocation in an ad-hoc meeting in April 2010.
However, the Appeals Board's decision to allow commercial development on utility reserve land is expected to have far-reaching consequences for similar cases in Selangor.
Yeoh said the precedent would now apply to other cases in Petaling Jaya, Serdang and other areas.
Meanwhile, residents who were present yesterday expressed their disappointment over the Appeals Board's decision.
"We're the ones who will be directly affected by the development and the worsening traffic conditions," said resident Philip Song, 49.
I have been pursuing this case together with the residents of USJ 6 since 2008. Three (3) years later, we now have a decision by the Appeals Board. 3 conditions imposed by the Appeals Board:
(1) traffic condition has to be improved
(2) size of project must be reduced, must not exceed the size of current Telekom building on the land
(3) for office use only
Next step : YB Gobind Singh Deo, our lawyer representing the residents is considering the possibility of a judicial review. I want to thank both lawyers Gobind Singh and Haijan for voluntarily assisting the residents in the last 2 years.
As the State Assemblyman of this area, I will continue to fight against unsustainable development in the already "overdeveloped" township of Subang Jaya.
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