By Ajay Dabas
Founder Certes Realty Ltd.
Headline: The modalities of mixed land use
Commercial complexes in residential areas have become more a norm than an oddity. But with Supreme Court cracking the whip on banks running in residential colonies in Noida, it has becomes imperative to understand the right way to lease a property in residential area for commercial usage. According to the Gazette Notification amending Master Plan of Delhi (2001), mixed use of land is allowed in residential areas but with a few riders.
Commercial land use in residential area:
With retail shops most in demand, it would be prudent for the property owner to remember that a retail shop can only be opened on the ground floor. That apart the retail area cannot exceed more than 25 per cent of the ground floor coverage, or 50 square meters of floor area, whichever is less. Also no retail shop which sells hazardous substances or those dealing in building materials, timber, marble, iron, steel, sand, firewood and coal are allowed in residential colonies.
The clause for professional establishments are less stringent and they can be allowed to operate from any floor of the property, provided they only occupy 25 per cent of FAR or 100 square meters, whichever is less.
The SC took a stringent view of the difficulty that residents faced because of banks operating in residential colonies. Nursing homes, guest houses and banks have been permitted in residential plots vide gazette notification dated March 11, 2003. However, they can only be permitted in residential plots which are more than 209 square meters (250 square yards) in size. Plus they plot needs to face minimum 18 meter wide roads (13.5 meter wide in rehabilitation colonies and 9 meter wide roads in walled city or special area).
That apart non-polluting household industries are also allowed in residential areas. They can occupy 25 per cent of floor space, or 30 square meters area, whichever is less.
However, there are certain things which are not allowed at all. With a view to ensure security, safety and environmental quality, of residential areas, the following activities are not allowed:
- Repair workshop for automobiles, cycle rickshaw, tyre resorting and retreading and battery
- Service shops like flour mills, fabrication and welding units or anything which uses more than 3 KW power load
- Storage, godowns and warehouses
- Manufacturing units (excluding household industry)
- Junk shops
Structural changes in DDA flats
DDA has framed a comprehensive policy and to allow additions and alterations their flats, which has been approved by the Government of India. Under the policy certain moderations are allowed for which no action will be taken under terms and conditions of allotment.
The things which have been condoned by the DDA are:
- Existing barsati’s can be converted into a room provided the walls are only 115 mm thick
- Grills and glazing in verandah have also been allowed provided that they are fixing properly
- The height of front and rear courtyard wall can be raised up to 7 feet by using fencing
- If not already provided a door can be opened in the courtyard
- Sunshades can be added on doors and windows
- If the bathroom or WC are not having roof, they may be treated as open urinals and allowed.
- The wall of balcony, terrace or parapet can be raised to 5 feet, by only using grills
- Construction of open staircase (cat-ladder) for approach to the terrace
- Installation of additional PVC water tank, with maximum capacity of 550 litres, has been allowed at ground floor area without disturbing the common passage. The water tank can also be installed in the garage at the surface level
- Change in flooring and water-proofing has been allowed
- Ramp can be constructed at the front gate without disturbing the common passage or the storm-water drain
- False ceiling in rooms can now be incorporated
- Opening of maximum size of 2.5 feet X 1.75 feet for exhaust fan or air-conditioner in existing walls
- Windows can now be converted into an almirah, subject to availability of light and ventilation
While for the above no permissions need to be obtained. For certain changes allotte needs to submit detailed drawings, duly certified by Registered Architect and qualified Structure Engineer, to DDA for permissions. To simplify and expedite the procedure for approvals architects registered with Council of Architecture under Architects Act 1972, have been given the authority to certify these plans for their correctness regarding original construction.
Irrespective of covered area involved a processing fee for building plan of Rs. 200 will be charged. In addition a charge of Rs. 450 per square meter will be levied for additional area that is being proposed for construction. To ensure structural safety and proper construction, a Certificate of Supervision by architect and structural engineer is mandatory, along with an indemnity bond for structural stability. This will not be required by those who have given NOC only. Once the plans with all the documents certified by the architects and structural engineer and fees are submitted, they will be taken on record and treated as permitted.
Changes for which permission needs to be taken include:
- Construction of bathroom and WC in the rear courtyard
- Covering of the open terrace with sloping roofs up to 9 feet high fibre glass/AC sheets/sheets/pipes and standard angle iron sections
- Interchanging the position of kitchen or bathroom and WC. This change is subject to structural safety that is why the consent of all the affected occupants/allottees will need to obtained prior to getting permission
- Covering of courtyard and roof terrace for which additional FAR charges are to be paid @ Rs. 450 per square meter of additional floor area