Are new Ban-Tal buildings still on hold?

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CEBU City officials are reviewing applications for permits to construct multi-level buildings along the Banilad-Talamban corridor, in light of a moratorium on new construction in the area.

In a press conference yesterday, City Councilor Gerardo Carillo asked why buildings higher than four floors have been constructed and were issued permits when they are known to aggravate traffic in the area.

But for Mayor Michael Rama, the moratorium is no longer in effect.


He said the moratorium was enforced through a resolution that the City Council and former mayor Tomas Osmeña approved in 2007 yet as a way of addressing the traffic problem.

“That was only a resolution approved by the previous administration and there is a new administration now, so for me it does not exist anymore. It’s not in effect,” he told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

He added that from the start, he did not fully agree with the moratorium.

“Construction of new buildings is always good for the economy,” the mayor said.

Rama said, though, that his administration will continue to regulate construction of new buildings in the area to make sure these will not add to the worsening traffic in Barangays Banilad and Talamban.

What about Ciudad?

Among other things, he will make sure the buildings have sufficient parking spaces and comply with the required set-back from the main road.

When asked if his stance means the City Government would now allow the Provincial Government to pursue the construction of the Ciudad project in Banilad, Rama said it still has to be evaluated.

Ciudad is the mixed-use development project that was supposed to be constructed on the Province-owned lot in Banilad through a joint venture with a private developer.

Rama and Carillo said the City is still concerned about the impact of the construction of high-rise buildings on the traffic situation in the Banilad-Talamban area, which is why developers have been required to conduct traffic impact studies and submit traffic plans.

Carillo said they are now reviewing the building permits and plans of several buildings on Gov. Cuenco Ave. that were constructed after the moratorium took effect.

Zoning board’s review

These include a seven-story office building, a dormitory and other commercial buildings.

“Why are there building owners who were issued permits to build more than three stories when there is an ordinance (resolution) that says they cannot do so because it will worsen the traffic flow? We have referred this to the City Zoning Board so they can look into it,” Carillo said.

New applications for building permits that were referred to the City Council were also referred to the Cebu City Zoning Board for review.

Among the applications under review is for the construction of a cluster of high-rise residential buildings in Barangay Talamban.

Carillo said the approval of the application for permits for buildings higher than four floors is on a case-to-case basis.

“What building owners can do is apply for a variance and as long as they have a traffic plan, it could be approved… Some applications can be approved because there are areas that have access to other parts of the city. There are cases when traffic can be diverted so the impact on the traffic flow is not that bad,” Carillo explained.

The moratorium was implemented by Osmeña’s administration as a way of decongesting Gov. Cuenco Ave. in Banilad, where traffic continues to be heavy.

In the resolution approved in 2007, the City Planning and Development Office was directed to suspend all applications for building permits for developments in the Banilad and Talamban areas, pending the completion of a traffic impact study.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 02, 2014.

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