Sunday 17 February 2019

MDA considers ODZ, FAR policies too restricting for developers

After the Malta Developers Association (MDA) considered the proposals for public consultation on the ODZ (Outside Development Zone) and FAR (Floor Area Ratio – the policy regulating building height) policies, the MDA declares that these policies are too restricting as imposed and leave little room or afford any particular interest for developers to invest.

In relation to ODZ projects, the MDA notes that it is not viable for an investor to acquire 60 tumoli of land so that he is then only allowed to build on 400 m2 and, more than that, will have restricted use of the property.

While the ODZ policy’s intention is the foster interest for more aesthetically pleasing and better quality projects, these policy provisions have to be practicable and viable. Once again, the policy is restraining those who would convert ODZ atrocities to more aesthetically pleasing buildings.

The FAR policy is requiring these tall buildings to be build only on four streets, which means that these are not economically viable. The MDA recognises the fact that in the past this policy was damaging to the environment in the way it was being implemented. However, it is now clear that we have gone to the other extreme and it is going to be very difficult for one to create a quality project of superior aesthetics.

On the fact that these tall buildings cannot be accommodated in Gozo, despite the MDA’s agreement that Gozo is a sensitive location, it understands that places like Marsalforn, where there was already a commitment, consideration had to be given to at least double the stipulated height in the Local Plan, so that even there provision will be made for public spaces through this policy.

Finally, the MDA appeals to the Government so that common sense will be adopted and it will seriously consider its proposals so that there will truly be sustainable development. The MDA notes that a lot of the criticism that is being made does not even reflect what is truly provided in the policies, which, in its view, are even stricter than what there is at present.

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