Tatu City has declined to approve plans by Home Bridge Limited to build more houses at the mixed-use development in Kiambu County in a dispute that has seen the parties accuse each other of contract breaches.
The developer of Lifestyle Heights Estate, owned by businessman Peter Karoki, had applied for a construction permit from Tatu City to build 652 houses on its land at the facility.
But Tatu City has declined the approval, accusing the developer of misdeeds, including inflating utility bills — water and electricity — for residents in its first project.
“To protect the people and investors of Tatu City, we have sued Peter to pay his service charges and stop Lifestyle Heights’ rogue development,” Tatu City said in response to Business Daily.
“Peter constructed an extra floor on Lifestyle Heights Block 18 in breach of the approved plans by both the Tatu City Development Control Company and the Kiambu County government.”
Tatu City further says that it cannot give the developer approval to build more houses because it encroached on the Tatu City road reserve and has constructed Blocks 20, and 21 without its nod.
Tatu city says that the developer collects service charges from them but does not pay Tatu City for those services. The amount owed in service charges, they say, has hit Sh17 million.
The developer has been illegally marking up power costs to his residents by 55 per cent in violation of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Tatu City alleged.
Similarly, the developer is accused of marking up water costs by 11 per cent, in violation of Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb) rules.
The developer accused Tatu City of setting onerous terms for developers and overpricing electricity supplies besides not guaranteeing the quality of water.
“Tatu has made a mockery of the same SEZ (special economic zone) laws. Local investors have been forced into agreements with Tatu that are inconsistent with the spirit and laws that established SEZs,” Mr Karoki said in an interview.
The area has a development control committee appointed by Tatu City with an obligation to issue approvals of any final construction drawings and specifications before the commencement of any construction or improvement of any land parcel.
Home Bridge leased 30 acres of land from Tatu City in 2016 and started construction of the housing project known as Lifestyle Heights.