Raising concerns over high-rise project

Umar (second from left) and Mustafa (second from right) with residents at the spot where the proposed development would take place.

A proposed development in an area currently occupied by 12 bungalows has not gone down well with residents of Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.

The project comprises two blocks of 23-storey luxury condominiums with 94 units.

The residents, who received a notice under Rule 5 informing them about the project, were shocked that the proposed development would increase the population density in the area by 270%.

An objection hearing was carried out yesterday at Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) headquarters, and after that, the residents held a peaceful protest at the site.

Holding placards with messages such as “Don’t destroy Damansara Heights” and “We Love Damansara Heights,” the residents pleaded with Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz to reject the proposed development as it was also detrimental to the environment.

They said the increase in density would mean the destruction of greenery in the neighbourhood.

The bungalows sit on a type of bedrock that would require blasting, which would add stress to the surrounding area and houses too.

“Twenty-four to 89 persons per acre is excessive and it is going to create a lot of social problems in the neighbourhood,’’ said Setiakasih Residents Association (Perkasih) president Datuk Mustafa Mohd Ali after the hearing.

“We are talking about a piece of land meant for bungalows being used to build a high-rise condominium.

“This proposed project, if approved, will be a dangerous precedent, whereby land meant for low-density structures can be used to build high-rise buildings,” said Mustafa.

Former Housing And Local Government Ministry secretary-general Datuk Umar Abu, who has been living in the area for decades, said Bukit Damansara had always been a planned neighbourhood for bungalow development while commercial developments and high-rise developments have been mainly at Pusat Bandar Damansara (now known as Damansara City) and Plaza Damansara.

Umar, who was also Ipoh’s first mayor, added that Jalan Setiakasih was too narrow and was not designed to cater to high density projects.

“After the 1980s, however, there were several proposals for high-rise developments here but they were rejected by DBKL as it went against the development plans for the area,” said Mustafa.

“This land is not meant for high-rise development and should remain so,’’ said retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk Seri Shaik Daud, whose house directly faces the proposed development.

Another resident, Azreen Manap, said two out of the 12 plots of land already have houses built on them.

“When I demolished my house two years ago, I had asked DBKL for approval to have a 14-foot ceiling (instead of the allowed 12-foot),” she said.

“DBKL rejected the application saying that it would be inconsistent with the surrounding houses.

“So it would be inconceivable for DBKL to allow the demolition of the two bungalows to build a condo,” Azreen added.

Another resident living nearby, Tan Sri Lin See-Yan, had also voiced his objections to the project saying there would be an increase in traffic on existing narrow roads.

Project developer Tribeca chief executive officer Datuk Jagan Sabapathy said: “In 1985, DBKL granted planning permission for a condominium on the said site with a density of 155 persons an acre.

“Obviously the approval lapsed. We are making an application for a condominium with a reduced density of 89 persons per acre.

“The site is opposite existing high-rise condominium Desa Damansara,” he said.

The proposed development borders Jalan Setiakasih, Jalan Setiakasih 6 and Jalan Setiakasih 7.

The area comprises 12 contiguous bungalow lots, two of which are currently occupied by existing bungalows. - The Star