Regulate new buildings

Multi-billion shilling investments are gobbling up space along the Sh47 billion

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Multi-billion shilling investments are gobbling up space along the Sh47 billion Thika Superhighway and its environs.

But amidst this, there is little sanity or co-ordinated regulation on land use and development of real estate.

The land in question touches on the City Council of Nairobi, Ruiru and Thika County Councils, and the Municipal Councils of Kiambu and Thika.

All these either have no zoning regulations and where they exist, they are at best disregarded and at worst ignored.

Before major developments turn the Thika Superhighway stretch into an ugly concrete jungle, the relevant authorities should move with speed to define the residential, commercial or industrial areas.

At the moment, supermarkets are coming up at road junctions, we have planned golf villages, industries and several gated communities’ investments.

These investments will be worth billions of shillings and will add to the fortunes of the superhighway, but only if we get the zoning regulations right.

Zoning has globally been accepted as a good practice for the survival of any urban town.

First, it gives the property owners and would-be investors a chance to plan ahead.

Secondly, it gives utility companies, such as power and water, a chance to estimate the number of residents within an area.

At the moment, and minus such restriction, it becomes hard to offer services based on estimation.

Most of the land within this stretch is either registered as ranch land, or agricultural land.

With the recent shifts, the onus should not be left to land-owners to decide the land use patterns.

While the councils have restrictions on industries, multiple dwelling and single dwelling structures, there is a tendency by the same officials to license change of user despite these written policies.

This has created the emergence of unco-ordinated structures that hardly regulate the number of buildings within a plot or the nature of business.

The failure of councils to have master plans that guide future development has led to flats among bungalows, industries within residential areas, and buildings above sewer lines.

The restriction of single-family dwellings and multiple family dwellings not only allows the authorities to give proper service and plan in advance but gives the landscape as aesthetic beauty.

And that is why the Thika Road structures and other emerging areas along Mombasa Road and Kitengela need proper co-ordination before the buildings start to come up.

Many of the modern-day metropolis have survived because the founders of those cities sat and planned ahead of time.

If we have finally got it right on the superhighway, we should sit back and plan ahead.

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