Update: A journalist informs me that the setbacks for a few established housing areas (kawasan perumahan tetap sedia ada) and areas with 87 units/acre will have their setbacks increased to 20 metres (66 feet). This may cover only a small number of projects and have the effect of limiting high-density projects in exclusive areas like Jesselton. But what about other places and other high density projects (say 30-87 units/acre)? I do hope the State Planning Committee will clarify.
Originally published on 22 October 2012:
In a move that raises even more concern about high-rise development, it has emerged that the setbacks for highrise buildings have been slashed.
Previously, the mandatory setbacks (vacant space) ranged from 10 to 50 feet from the lot boundaries depending on how high the proposed buildings are (though the variation in the setbacks was not in proportion to the number of storeys). These are for buildings that are four storeys and above.
But it has been made known to representatives of Penang Forum that the State Planning Committee has recently reduced the variable setbacks to a fixed setback of 20 feet for all heights. In effect, what this means is that the setback for high-rise buildings has been slashed from 50 feet to 20 feet.
No publicity has been given to this change of policy.
Penang Forum reps are in the dark as to the rationale for the reduction of the setback. It will no doubt add to concerns about high-density high-rise projects in Penang.
The reduction in setback is a major concession to developers, even though it is unlikely to result in lower property prices or more affordable housing. For neighbouring residents, however, the reduced setback will add to the stress and alarming visual impact of these high-rise properties.