Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (January 23):
On August 3, 2012, the Town Planning Board announced amendments to the draft Wan Chai Outline Zoning Plan No. S/H5/26. One of the amendments was the rezoning of the terraces and the stepped streets including Sik On Street and Schooner Street in Sau Wa Fong area as well as St. Francis Street, St. Francis Yard and Kwong Ming Street from "Residential (Group A)", "Residential (Group C)" ("R(C)"), "G/IC" and "Open Space" to area shown as "Road". It has been learnt that certain terraces and stepped streets in the Sau Wa Fong area, which have been rezoned from "Residential" to "Road", include land privately owned. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether rezoning parts of private land currently used as right of way or scavenging lane from "Residential" to "Road" use is a normal practice in town planning;
(b) of the number of similar rezoning cases in other districts in the past 10 years; and
(c) given that the rezoning of parts of private land as "Road" will make the owners concerned unable to take into account the site area of those parts of land zoned as "Road" in calculating the plot ratio for redevelopment purpose, whether such owners will be compensated for diminution of their redevelopment right?
(a) In considering the "Review of Stepped Street Sites on Hong Kong Island", the Town Planning Board (the Board) on March 20, 2009 directed that the planning intention of the concerned "Residential (Group C)" zones covering the stepped street sites should be suitably revised to include the local character, terrace ambience, heritage value, visual, air and traffic considerations, where appropriate.
Sau Wa Fong area is one of the stepped street sites covered in the Review. It is a large and well-preserved terraced area - an enclosed and tranquil residential area with a human scale and which creates a different urban form contrasting with the high-rise mixed developments to the north of Queen's Road East. The Board agreed on July 6, 2012 to rezone the stepped streets/terraces in the area to "Road" on the draft Wan Chai Outline Zoning Plan (OZP). The aim is to preserve the unique character of Sau Wa Fong, particularly its terrace ambience.
(b) We cannot identify any other case within the past 10 years similar to the Sau Wa Fong case involving zoning/rezoning of private lots used as terraces or service lanes to "Road". However, there were a few similar cases in earlier times which were all supported by planning justifications, including the rezoning of some terraces/streets in Kennedy Town as "Road" (on the draft Kennedy Town & Mount Davis OZP gazetted on October 31, 1986) and the rezoning of the streets in the Stanley bazaar area as pedestrian precinct (on the draft Stanley OZP gazetted on July 22, 1994).
(c) By rezoning an area to "Road", planning permission from the Board would be required for uses other than the permitted uses. However, the zoning of an area does not necessarily preclude the area from being taken into account in the plot ratio (PR) or site coverage (SC) calculations. In general, whether an area can be included into the PR calculation depends on (i) the lease restrictions of the relevant lots; and/or (ii) whether it can be counted as part of a development site for the purpose of the Buildings Ordinance. In the case of Sau Wa Fong, whether the area shown as "Road" (which forms part of the private lot) can be taken into account in the PR/SC calculation of the lot(s) concerned would depend on the circumstances, such as whether the concerned area carries development right under lease and/or whether it is serving the parent building and other neighbouring buildings for the purpose of the Buildings Ordinance. Each case will need to be determined on individual merits at the building plan submission stage.
Subject to the above considerations, if the resultant PR of a proposed redevelopment in Sau Wa Fong (based on a net site area excluding the portion shown as "Road") would exceed the maximum PR of 5 on the OZP, the owner may apply to the Board for a minor relaxation of the PR restriction.
Ends/Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Issued at HKT 15:38