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City considers new zoning policy for home businesses

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THE City of Windhoek is considering the introduction of a new land use zoning policy to allow homeowners to run commercial activities at residential properties.

This confirmation comes after an article in The Namibian on 27 July, in which the municipality said it was considering a proposal that would affect home-based businesses.

There are 820 registered small-scale shops across the city.

Council spokesperson Harold Akwenye said at the time the city is currently turning down new applications for home-based businesses.

“Given the illegal and general problematic nature of trading from residential properties, the intention is to phase out this practice in favour of establishing alternatives, which would allow for development where harmonious land uses can co-exist without interfering with the rights of property owners, in particular residential property owners,” Akwenye said late last month.

According to a statement released on Tuesday by the office of the CEO, the proposed zoning policy will not only allow property owners to generate an income from their residential property, but will also allow for the subdivision and selling off a portion to generate the necessary capital for further development.

“Accordingly, and as is the case in many cultures in the world, the practice of utilising a single property for the purpose of both residential and commercial use will in the future no longer be a discretionary additional right (temporary) but is proposed as a primary and permanent land use under the new Spatial Development Framework, currently nearing completion,” the statement reads.

Last month, municipality spokesperson Harold Akwenye said given the illegal and general problematic nature of trading from residential properties, the intention is to phase out commercial activities at residential properties in favour of establishing alternatives such as a formal trading corridor.

In the latest statement, the municipality said for those who do not wish to join the formal trading sector, an informal master plan is being developed.

“The municipality is currently crafting a new informal trading master plan intending to increase much-needed trading space for informal traders in suitable locations, where basic amenities can still be offered to residents in a certain locale without the need to adhere to formal trading requirements or cause conflicting land use issues,” the statement noted.

The municipality said to date the practice of providing planning permission for home shops, etc., has been granted in terms of the municipality’s resident occupation mechanism, contained in the Windhoek town planning scheme.

This scheme, the municipality said, is explicit in that any activities allowed will never alter and/or interfere with the residential nature of the property or adjacent properties, and at all times maintain the character of the area under consideration.

“Given the inherent potential high impact of commercial activities, the council, therefore, has to exercise great caution to ensure that any consent so granted does not negatively affect the rights of other property owners,” the municipality said.

The new land use zoning policy is currently under discussion to appropriately regulate the practice of home shops in residential areas to ensure the necessary balance and benefit to all residents in equal measure.



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