Bonanza for Navi Mumbai builders and residents of old structures

By Accommodation Times Bureau
By Nimisha Gupta

In a major reprieve for Navi Mumbai’s builders and residents of old constructions, the Bombay high
court on Thursday vacated a two-year stay, allowing residential buildings to change user status to
residential-cum-commercial on paying a premium to their municipality. The change of user rules is
applicable only on buildings that abut a road more than 15 metres wide and are on a plot admeasuring
at least 1,000 sq m.

The order would benefit hundreds of buildings in Vashi, Nerul, Koparkhairane, Sanpada, Juinagar and
Airoli, which can now apply for a commercial component in the range of 10-30%. More importantly, the
buildings would be eligible to avail of construction rights in the form of floor space index (FSI) of 1.5
instead of 1 when they go in for redevelopment, making them an attractive proposition for developers.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar said the order would come into
effect on September 1, before which the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) would have to
place the proposal for notifying the rules before their general body.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Vashi’s JN3 Building Apartment Owners’ Association, which
represented some old buildings in the area. According to the petitioners, due to the low construction
quality of the buildings, many were in a dilapidated state and uninhabitable. Further, there was no
parking facilities.

As per development control regulations, the FSI available for a residential building is 1. In 2008, the
NMMC through a notification brought into force the rules, which allowed change of user status from
residential to residential-plus-commercial with the specifications mentioned in this article in the context
of the court order. But a Navi Mumbai resident, Sandeep Thakur, filed a piece of public interest litigation
against this. In January 2010, the court stayed the change of user rules.When the JN3 buildings
approached the NMMC for permission to change the user category of the buildings to residential plus
commercial, the corporation cited the January 2010 order of the high court. However, the association
pointed to a July 2010 order of another bench of the high court that had vacated a stay and allowed
NMMC to grant 1.5 FSI for non- residential buildings. The court had then asked NMMC to grant
permissions for additional 0.5 FSI only after it put the details on a website and to ensure approval only
to extent permissible in a particular zone.

The high court while lifting the 2010 stay on change of user rules asked NMMC to comply with the
conditions in its previous order.

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