Economy

State lifts ban on Konza buffer land use

konza

ICT secretary Fred Matiang’i (right) with Konza City Development Authority chairman John Ngumi at a recent function in Nairobi. Photo/Salaton Njau

The Ministry of Lands Wednesday lifted the ban on development in the 10-kilometre radius buffer zone of Konza Technopolis City providing a window for land owners to put up buildings.

The investors, however, will be required to strictly adhere to local physical development plan approved last (LPDP) December barring uncontrolled development within the radius.

The LPDP rules also set guidelines and standards on how roads, sewerage and telecoms infrastructure within the buffer zone should constructed.
Apart from parts of Nairobi and other older towns, most urban areas in Kenya do not have proper plans or infrastructure which makes Konza city and its environs a potential high-value development area.

Speculators as well as institutions have heavily invested in the private land around the technology city.

The buffer will be covered by sewerage, a new bypass from Salama to Isinya on Namanga Road besides water supply from the Sh16-billion Thwake Dam project. The Mombasa Road dual carriage way will terminate at the city.

“Notice is hereby given that the director of planning has lifted the declaration of area measuring 75,838.4 acres covering parts of Makueni, Machakos and Kajiado as a special planning area,” said Augustine Masinde, director of physical planning at Ministry of Lands.

“This has been necessitated by the completion and approval of Konza technocity buffer zone plan.”

Other than the LPDP regulations, the three counties neighbouring the Technopolis have been asked to create uniform bylaws to prevent growth of slums within buffer.

READ: Councils in threat to demolish illegal structures in Konza

“The purpose of the LPDP is to provide for harmonious development between the techno city and its buffer and also to protect the integrity of the investments envisaged in the city,” said ICT secreatary Fred Matiang’i, in a previous interview with Business Daily.

Ibrahim Mwathane, a property expert, said the three counties and the national government should maintain strict enforcement of the regulations and guidelines of putting up structures around the city.

“This area is a magnet for speculative investors and experience has shown that while the government has had some good physical plans, a lack of enforcement has bred uncontrolled development. A little laxity will simply reverse the situation,” he said.

Kenya has adopted the standards of physical planning around Konza from successful cities such as Egypt’s Smart village, Songdo, Bangalore, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya.