Planning and Arun's (not so straight and narrow) roads
Arun Property Development (Pty) Ltd wished to subdivide portions of the farm Langeberg 311, Durbanville. The 1988 structure plan for the area had indicated that certain roads would traverse the property. These and other roads all formed part of a new subdivision known as Sonstraal Heights. As is customary, the ownership of the roads in the subdivision vested in the municipality in terms of section 28 of the Land Use Planning Ordinance 15 of 1985 (C) (LUPO) on the date of approval of the subdivision. Central to this provision is that no compensation is payable to the developer if the provision of the public roads is based on the normal need therefor arising from the subdivision. Since the developer was of the opinion that the roads it had provided exceeded the normal need, the issue that had to be resolved was whether compensation must be paid for roads beyond what would normally be required for a subdivision. The main issue that the courts, from the Western Cape High Court to the Constitutional Court in Arun Property Development (Pty) Ltd v City of Cape Town 2015 2 SA 584 (CC), had to deal with was whether the vesting of roads beyond the normal need therefor arising from the subdivision amounted to an expropriation of land for which compensation is payable in terms of section 25(2) of the Constitution. This case note looks at the different stages of the case, and in the process highlights the historical and legislative background and the subdivision process. It shows that the vesting of the ownership of roads in the municipality is similar to the payment of a development contribution, both of which can be categorised as deprivations of property in terms of the constitutional property clause. On 1 July 2015 LUPO was effectively superseded by the new Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 (SPLUMA) and the Western Cape Land Use Planning Act 3 of 2014 (LUPA). Since SPLUMA does not and LUPA does contain a reference to the "normal needs" provision, the implications of Arun for the new legislative dispensation are addressed.
Keywords: Subdivision of land; public roads; deprivation; expropriation
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