HC backs BMC on public parking cap

Says projects not substantially developed must comply with present rules

Bombay High Court (HC) has supported the stand of BMC to cap public parking in projects not substantially developed.

In a recent judgment, it held such projects must comply with present public parking rules.

The state government had issued a notification on March 19 restricting public parking to three basements, ground floor and four upper floors. The notification limited a provision, introduced on October 28, 2008, in the prevailing development control regulations (DCR) that allowed an FSI incentive to builders on construction of multi-storey public parking.

The restriction was imposed after some developers were found taking advantage of the policy to build several floors of public parking to claim additional FSI.

The restriction also applied to projects sanctioned as per the old policy but where substantial development has not taken place.

Husseinbhai Bagasrawalla, a land-owner in Tardeo, filed a petition challenging the restriction. BMC, in accordance with its old policy, had issued a letter of intent to Husseinbhai on October 19, 2010, for a public parking area with 1,024 lots. On May 5, however, the corporation asked him to resubmit a proposal for development in accordance with the present rules.

Arguing for the petitioner, senior counsel Virag Tulzapurkar said "substantial development" would include not just physical development, but also investments made and third-party interests created.

BMC countered that under DCR, development means actual construction work carried out.

Supporting the BMC stand, a division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and A A Sayed said last Monday, "To allow construction of multi-storey parking lots without height restriction would be self-defeating. On one hand, public parking beyond a certain height would not be used by the public. On the other, developers would stand to gain by the grant of incentive FSI for construction of an amenity."

In July, HC had ruled in favour of a developer who had proposed to construct as many as 14 public parking floors.

However, the judges made a distinction on Monday. In the previous case, they said, substantial construction had taken place.

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