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High court rules on Technopark rezoning saga

The Western Cape High Court has ordered the refusal for rezoning of land within the popular Technopark in Stellenbosch to be reconsidered.

The Western Cape High Court has ordered the refusal for rezoning of land within the popular Technopark in Stellenbosch to be reconsidered.

Published May 13, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape High Court has ordered the refusal for rezoning of land within the popular Technopark in Stellenbosch to be reconsidered, so that it may include residential property.

The court set aside the decision by the Stellenbosch Municipality, which had it confirmed the decision of the Stellenbosch Municipal Planning Tribunal, to refuse Choisy-Le-Roi Owners’ application for the rezoning of Erf 13500 at the mixed-use development in Technopark.

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For the rezoning application, the Council argued that Technopark should be developed and promoted to become an even more specialised zone for technological inventions and a hub for specialised business while Choisy-Le-Roi argued that Council’s vision for the development was “outdated”.

“Technopark is an area that since 1996 has been specially zoned under the zoning schemes of the Municipality of Stellenbosch applicable from time to time for development and use as ‘a technology or science park development where enterprises associated with research, development, design and related activities in the high-technology sector are accommodated in a park-type work environment which is specifically created for the industrial needs of the enterprise concerned’,” the high court judgment noted.

“The anecdotal evidence is that the area has not been developed strictly in accordance with the original idea, with the result that Technopark currently manifests as a mixed-use office park.

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“One of the recent major developments in Technopark, for example, has been to provide the headquarters for a well-known retail bank.”

Choisy-Le-Roi Owners’ property is still undeveloped and is currently being used as a parking lot.

They applied in 2017 for the rezoning of its property to allow for a mixed-use building development including a residential component.

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The proposed development comprises of mixed uses on the ground floor and a number of duplex apartments on the two upper floors.

Stellenbosch Municipality spokesperson, Stuart Grobbelaar, said: "The Municipality has taken note of the decision of the court and respects this decision. We are currently studying the judgment to decide on the way forward."

Choisy-Le-Roi Owners did not respond to requests for comment by deadline on Thursday.

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In his judgment, Judge Ashley Binns-Ward, said: “It also bears mention that the fact that residential use is not one of the land uses permitted in terms of the zoning scheme is not a determinative consideration. An application for rezoning arises only when the contemplated land use is not one of those permitted by the applicable land use scheme on the land in question. The question is whether in the peculiar circumstances a change to the currently applicable zoning should be allowed. It falls to be answered upon a consideration of the given facts in the light of the factors to which regard must be had in terms of the Stellenbosch Municipality Planning Bylaw of 2015.”

Cape Times

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