Permissible building heights for plots within 1-km radius of the High Frequency transmitter radar at Juhu and within 3-4 km of the High Frequency receiver radar at Dahisar have now reduced drastically. According to a ballpark estimate, between 300 and 400 projects in these two areas could be affected, said property market sources.
To understand the impact from a layman’s point of view, one can compare the permissible building height granted by AAI to two abutting society redevelopment projects in D. N. Nagar, Juhu.
While Building No. 16 at D.N. Nagar was allowed 57.13 metre (above mean sea level or AMSL) height in November 2019, the adjoining plot, Building No. 15, received permission for only 42.16 metre last month. In effect, five saleable floors less. Mumbai Mirror has copies of the two NOCs issued by AAI to both these plots. What’s more, if the project is even closer to the vicinity of the radar, the sanctioned height may drop even further.
“Some 50-60 redevelopment projects of buildings more than 35-40 years old are held up around Juhu because of the arbitrary action of the DGCA authority,’’ said V K Mutalik, resident of a Mhada colony. “DGCA granted NOC some time ago with full 53-metre height to a building just opposite the transmitter and is denying it to Mhada buildings where we live, on the other side of the road,’’ he added.
Majority of projects in these locations involve redevelopment of MHADA colonies and slum rehabilitation for which additional incentive floor space index (FSI) is required to make these projects viable. FSI defines how much can be built on a plot.
“Reduction in permissible building heights will make these projects completely unviable,’’ said a local developer.
In the case of projects in and around Dahisar, the complexities are equally severe for the construction industry. “Earlier, these projects were not required to obtain NOC from AAI as height of150 mtrs AMSL was available by default as per the Colour Coded Zonal Maps prepared by AAI.
However, due to non-finalization of locations of Nav-Aids at Navi Mumbai airport, the Colour Coded Zonal Map for Mumbai & Navi Mumbai airport has been suspended,’’ said a property market expert. “Now, all projects in Dahisar are required to get valid NOCs prior to initiating development,’’ he said. Fearing lack of interest from developers towards redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings in these locations, several societies and their architects have approached their local elected representatives to push for a resolution. Real estate developer associations said they have taken up the issue with the civil aviation ministry. Kunal Chheda, who represents trade associations like CREDAI, MCHI, NAREDCO & PEATA before the ministry of civil aviation, said, “A committee of technical experts from ICAO, DGCA & AAI has been constituted to look into these matters. We will take up this issue with the committee and are hoping for a speedy resolution.”
Builder Dhaval Ajmera said new building projects should be given the same height as the ones cleared earlier. “The authorities have been strictly going by the book ever since the radars were upgraded and activated recently. If a building has already been approved earlier with a certain height, another project on the neighbouring plot cannot be restricted,’’ he said.
The civil aviation ministry did grant concessions in a notification issued last year. Height curbs for projects were restricted to a radius of 2 km from the airport against the earlier 20 km. This came following objections from the real estate industry to the 20-km rule. It said that the rule was an “error” because prior to the 2015 notification, the height restriction radius was confined to an area of 2km around the airport.