Chris Fick & Associates

a2blA new High Court decision highlights once again the need to have your building plans approved before you build.

The saga starts…

This story begins way back in 2004, with the owner of a rural Guest House starting work on a new double-storey conference center and four self-catering apartments – without getting plans approved, and without applying for rezoning from “Agricultural” to “Resort” (rezoning being required before plans could be considered for approval).

There followed a long saga of notices to cease work being ignored, delays around an environmental impact assessment, and rejection of an application for rezoning both by the DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) and on appeal to the Minister.

Ultimately the local municipality, whose building inspector had initially discovered the unlawful building activity at foundation stage, applied to Court for an order interdicting the Guest House from occupying or using the new buildings (plus four more apartments built unlawfully in 2007).

…and ends badly for the owner

The Court granted the interdict (and refused to suspend it) leaving the Guest House owner, after incurring no doubt very substantial cost in erecting the buildings over a nine year period:

  • Unable to use in any way its new buildings unless and until its new rezoning application is granted and the building plans passed, and
  • Worse, facing no doubt an application by the municipality for a full demolition order if and when the rezoning application and/or the building plans are rejected.

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