BAGUIO CITY– The city council decided to hold a special session on Wednesday, July 1, 2015, purposely to deliberate on the pending comprehensive land use plan and city zoning ordinance in order for the city government to have an updated land use plan and zoning code.
The council reached the agreement of holding a special session for the city’s zoning ordinance came after several councillors signified their intention to raise issues regarding the contents of the ordinance that seems to be not applicable to the prevailing situation.
Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr., chairman of the committee on lands, housing and urban planning, expressed disappointment over the sudden emergence of various issues being raised against the ordinance when all concerns were raised and addressed during the city’s executive-legislative planning workshop in Subic during the first week of the moth.
The council directed the city planning officer, Engr. Evelyn G. Cayat, to incorporate all the appropriate changes to the updated zoning ordinance and immediately furnish them the same prior to the scheduled special session for them to be able to study the amendments that will be incorporated in the final version of the zoning code.
Among the initial issues raised against the contents of the zoning ordinance include the graduated building height that will be subjected to variation in commercial areas and the position of the city government on the declaration of supposed heritage sites in the different parts of the city.
Yangot pointed out it is high time for the city government to have an updated zoning ordinance in order to limit the local zoning board on adjustments and appeals (LZBAA) from unilaterally acting on proposed exemptions of buildings from the city’s zoning ordinance and will guarantee the compliance of new structures to the provisions of the updated zoning measure.
Another issue raised by some councillors on the proposed zoning ordinance is the provision that limits the height of buildings to be constructed within the premises of city hall wherein no structure shall be built exceeding the height of the city hall structure so as not to obstruct the historical value of the structure.
Yangot said councillors must already submit their written questions and proposals to the city planning office for consideration in updating the final version of the zoning ordinance which will be the one that will be deliberated by the city council during their scheduled special session and to allow the speedy discussions on pertinent provisions of the zoning ordinance.
Under the proposed zoning ordinance, the building height limit in commercial areas was fixed at six storeys while those structures to be built in areas having an area of at least 1,000 square meters with an equivalent area to be used as greenbelt areas could go up to twelve storeys.
The council opined that the implementation of the building height requirement is unfair to those individuals and corporations having a deficiency of only less than 10 square meters, thus, the need to have a graduated schedule in determining the building height for structures that could qualify for the same but have a limited land area.
Cayat assured the city council that her office will submit to the local legislative body the updated zoning ordinance for deliberations on the scheduled special session in the next two weeks.
By Dexter A. See