From Ong Eu Soon
to "limguaneng@penang.gov.my" <limguaneng@penang.gov.my>,
aliran_letters@hotmail.com
date 29 August 2011 04:32
subject Penang Most Bizarre Property Development - Skyscraper Condos With Unusual Plot Ratio Concession

On August 2009, the state government announced a new guideline on plot ratio control to allow developers on the island to construct 122,000 sq ft per acre compared with 42,000 sq ft per acre in the past. In the pretext to give developers the room to construct units of mixed sizes and lay-outs and price them according to the needs of different income groups, the state government has effectively increased the plot ratio from 1:1 to 1:3. The state government has made this fundamental changes without consulting the wider public.

Most Penangites do not seem to know what does this fundamental change mean. Little do they realise that Lim Guan Eng is actually embarking on skyscraper condos venture with total disregard to the new guideline that his administration is introducing.

Two most alarming skyscraper condos have emerged, i.e. SkyHome and Shinevilles.

Skyhome Condominium is a 32-storey luxury condominium project that was developed on 1.57 acres along Jalan Tanjung Bungah. The condo that houses 47 units and 5 penthouses was completed on February 2010. This project has a total 357600 sq ft built up areas against 1.5 acre of land, which give it a plot ratio of 238000 sq ft per acre or approximately 1:6. The plot ratio of this project clearly violated the guideline of 42,000 sq ft per acre. Not only that, it also has a density of 35 units per acre. Another clear violation on the maximum permissible density of 15 units per acre for secondary development corridor.

The fears and grievances of the residents of Tanjung Bungah over the controversial modification of the sketch map in the Structure Plan as it had relocated Tanjung Bungah from the secondary development corridor (with a density limit of 15 units per acre) to the primary corridor (which allows a much higher density limit of 30 units per acre) seem to be real.

The state government is fully aware that the Skyhome Condominium project is totally violating both the plot ratio and the maximum permissible density of 15 units per acre, yet it silently allows the project to go on and refuse to rectify the controversial modification of the sketch map in the Structure Plan to put Tanjung Bungah under the secondary development corridor. To make thing worst, the state government had applied to strike out the application by TBRA for a court declaration on a purely technical point denying TBRA the opportunity to seek legal clarification on whether Tanjung Bungah falls within the secondary or primary corridor in the Penang Structure Plan.

Lim Guan Eng may argues that the project was approved by his predecessor, Khor Tsu Koon, but Lim has an obligation to review any project that violated the law and regulation of the state as he has the mandate to bring changes and right any wrong doing of the previous state government.

To refuse to rectify the wrong of Khor Tsu Koon administration and instead decided to continue the wrong doing of Khor Tsu Koon administration is a total betrayal of the trust of Penang voters.

Shineville Park Condominium is an upscale condominium project along Lebuhraya Thean Teik, Farlim on an approximately 1 acre land. The project comprises a 40-storey skyscraper block with 299 condominium units. Each unit will have a built-up area of 1,650 sq ft upwards. Each unit is priced at upwards of RM438,000. Purchasers are given the option to buy a second parking lot subject to availability. Shineville Park Condominium will be sites on a hill slope near the United Hokkien Cemetery of Batu Lanchang. In addition to the skyscraper block, there will also be 91 units of 3-storey terrace houses, called Shineville Villas, as part of the development which has approximately 9 acre of land. Shineville Villas will have a land area of 1,367-2,111 sq ft and a built up area of 2,854-3,000 sq ft, and will be priced upwards of RM890,000.

The Plot ratio of Shineville Park Condominium project is approximately 500000 sq ft per acre or 1:10. The approval of the project was controversial due to the plot ratio concessions made by the MPPP to the developers. These concessions enabled the developers to construct Shineville Park Condominium more than thrice the height which would otherwise be allowable on the site.

The project has caused a controversial exhumation of 60 graves despite protests by heritage enthusiasts and about 47 descendants of those buried there. The project was suppose to have 234 low-medium cost units, but the information was totally lacking in the developer's website. Does this means that the project is exempted from providing low-medium cost units? What are the plot ratio of the low-medium cost units if it is to built? Lim Guan Eng has always maintained that he never approved any hill slope development. Lim should also explain why he allows the Shineville Villas to be built on hill slope?

Without a local plan or a transit oriented land use policy, Lim Guan Eng has once again ignore the site topology in regards to traffic management while approving such a high density development (more than 60 units per acre if the low-medium cost units exist) on a neighborhood that has a bad traffic congestion problem.

Lim Guan Eng should remember that he is bonded by the law and regulation of the state in approving any development project. Lim has no absolute rights to ignore the plot ratio guidelines as stipulated under the Town and Country Planning Act and the development density as stipulated under the Penang Structure Plan.

Lim Guan Eng has once again laid bare his incompetency as a Chief Minister. His penchant for development and brunt disregard for rules and regulations only make him look dumb and stupid!


Regards,
Ong Eu Soon

Ong Eu Soon
H/P: 016 2559798
email: eusoon@yahoo.com