A Southbroom Ratepayers, Conservancy & Community Policing initiative.

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If you think that your property, building or land use may be in contravention of municipal Planning and Building Controls, you are urged to apply for "amnesty" before midnight on Saturday 30 September 2006.  All you need to do is e-mail johan@hcm.gov.za and place your concern on record.

The Hibiscus Coast Municipality, through its Directorate: Planning and Building Control, is doing its level best to ensure that ratepayers (and this includes developers) respect the municipal Planning and Building Controls.

These controls exist to protect the interests of all and to ensure that communities can live in harmony.  However, it is currently estimated that at least 5,000 properties in the municipal jurisdiction are in contravention of the controls and are thus "illegal" in one way or another.

Accordingly, following extensive coverage in the local press and an advertised Public Meeting which was held in Council Chambers on 21st September 2006, Council has voted to substantially increase the Tariff of Charges in respect of Planning and Building Controls.  This move is supported by your Ratepayers Association as all too often neighbours infringe on the rights of others and the only recourse currently available to Council is through the Courts at substantial cost to ratepayers.

In fairness, Council has granted ratepayers an amnesty period which is currently set to end at midnight on Saturday 30 September 2006.  If you have a concern about your property and record it with Council before the cut-off date, any penalties that your particular contravention may attract will be applied at the old Tariff.

Revised tariffs that affect ratepayers include:

  Illegal Structures - R2,000 per 10m2 per month (currently R2,000 per 100m2)

  Illegal Land Use - R10,000 per property per week (currently NIL)

  Use of Council Land - R2,000 per m2 per month (currently NIL)

  Illegal Signage - R1,000 per sign per week (currently NIL)

In deciding whether or not to apply for amnesty, you may consider asking yourself these questions?

  Are there approved building plans for my property as it currently stands?

  Did the previous owners have approved plans?

  Are there approved building plans for the internal/minor alterations that I made?

  Do I have formal permission to operate my business from my residence?

  Do I live in at least 50% of my approved Bed & Breakfast establishment?

  Do I have formal permission for the piece of pavement that I fenced in to my property?

  Do I have formal permission for the advertising signs on my property?

And, if you are not the first Estate Agent advertising a property for sale, perhaps you should remove your illegal board rather than pay the Tariff!

If you know that your property is in contravention and don't wish to comply or give up your illegal "rights", you are possibly thinking: "How will they ever find out?"

The Municipality will be implementing the provisions of the new Property Rates Act and, during the next two years, each and every property in the Hibiscus Coast will be inspected and compared against its zoning and registered building plans. Municipal valuers will have no alternative but to blow the whistle (if your annoyed neighbour hasn't done so already!).

Its your call.

To have the current Tariff of Charges apply, e-mail the Director: Planning and Building Control, Dr Johan van der Walt, on johan@hcm.gov.za before midnight on Saturday 30 September 2006, and register your Lot Number and concern.


Photograph per kind favour of: George Wright xx

On Tuesday afternoon, the Hibiscus Coast was lashed by unprecedented storms that left many cottages damaged and certain areas of Southbroom without electricity for 31 hours.

If you are a non-resident owner, you may wish to have your friend, managing agent or armed response company check your cottage for damage.  The South-Easter (a buster?) was incredible and rainfall of 130mm to 300mm was recorded along the coast.

Also, if you have one of those very annoying alarm systems that doesn't reset itself automatically, you are not the most popular person in town!  It is most annoying to listen to an alarm sound continuously for hours on end.  Please, don't "Disturb the Peace".  Rather have your alarm system checked and upgraded as soon as possible.