Govt initiates to clear city’s parking issues

In what is a first in the country, the state government has decided to entice private property owners with surplus land to help the administration solve Mumbai’s parking problems. Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh gave the plan his seal of approval on Monday.

The innovative scheme invites Mumbai’s property owners with surplus space to develop multi-storeyed parking lots on their own land; and, in lieu of giving up land and developing parking lots, private property owners will get additional floor-space index. This, hope officials, will go a long way in ending Mumbai’s parking problems, especially near business centres, railway stations and religious places.

“Deshmukh has amended the Development Control Rules for the purpose after a prolonged debate on the scheme’s pros and cons. So, if an individual or a society offers part of its premises for development of parking facility, it will get additional FSI on the same premises,’’ a senior urban development department official told TOI.

The new policy came into on Monday itself. The official said the BMC had been empowered to grant permission for development of multi-storeyed parking lots within 500 metres of railway stations, State Transport bus depots, Metro stations, jetties, existing government and semi-government and corporation offices, tourist places (identified as such by the tourism department), important places of worship (registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act) that did not have adequate public parking facilities.

“Such societies will be given 50 per cent additional FSI, subject to a maximum FSI of 4, for the island city and 3 for the suburbs and extended suburbs. The extra FSI will be 40 per cent of the existing FSI for the other areas of Greater Mumbai,’’ the official said.

The issue of drafting a new parking policy was under the government’s consideration because of the exponential growth in the number of vehicles converging at business centres and railway stations during the day, officials said. Senior Congress leader Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, too, had taken it up with Deshmukh and the director of town planning and provided a comprehensive plan to the government for the purpose.

But there are some conditions that the government has imposed on the give-and-take policy. The minimum area of a plot that can be considered for the purpose will be 1000 square metres (or about 10,000 square feet) in the island city and 2000 square metres (about 20,000 square feet) in the suburbs and extended suburbs of Greater Mumbai; and the minimum number of vehicles that have to be accommodated in a parking lot will be 50 (with a minimum parking space of 700 square metres).

The location of the parking space can be in the basement or on the ground or any other floor of a building with access through ramps or lifts or a combination of both; the chief fire officer, however, has to give the go-ahead for the proposal after studying the fire risks. A committee under the chairmanship of the municipal commissioner will earmark and select the plots for public parking and then seek government’s approval. The joint commissioner of police (traffic), the MMRDA commissioner, the deputy director (town planning) and the BMC chief engineer (roads) will be the other members of the committee.

The incentive FSI given will be over and above the FSI permissible under any other provision of the Development Control Rules and the FSI will be allowed to be used on the same plot in conformity with DCR.

But the landowner or developer or society concerned will not be allowed to operate the public parking. “The landowner will have to hand over the new parking lot to the BMC free of cost and will get the additional FSI in lieu of that,’’ an official explained.

The scheme would be extended to cities like Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Nasik if it was successful in Mumbai, he added.

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