Following is a question by the Hon David Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (May 28):
Will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the number of building plans approved by the Building Authority between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2007, in respect of which the permitted maximum building height prescribed in the relevant outline zoning plan ("OZP") was given in metres only, with no reference to the Hong Kong Principal Datum; and the following regarding such building plans:
(i) the departmental guidelines regarding the base elevation from which the permitted maximum building height was calculated; and
(ii) whether the plans have included usable floor area below the base elevation; if so, for each of them, the street address, the permitted building use, the permitted maximum building height prescribed in the relevant OZP, the height of the approved building both above and below the base elevation and, if the total height (including that both above and below the base elevation) of the approved building exceeds the permitted maximum building height under the relevant OZP, the specific conditions in the guidelines referred to in (i) under which the building plans were approved; and
(b) given that the OZP approval process involves substantial public consultation, whether the Government has any plan to require that any building proposal, under which the total height of the building exceeds the permitted maximum height under the relevant OZP, should be published in an appropriate format for notification prior to approval, in order to put the calculation of the base elevation on the public record?
Building height restrictions on outline zoning plans ("OZPs") may be stipulated in terms of number of storeys, metres or metres above the Hong Kong Principal Datum ("mPD"). In determining how the building height restriction in an OZP should be given, a number of factors would be taken into account, including the local character of the area, existing building height profile, urban design policy, findings of relevant studies or assessments (such as visual impact assessments and air ventilation assessments), as well as objectives of the restriction and development intensity permitted or to be permitted under the OZP.
In cases where there are particular planning concerns such as protection of ridgelines/peaks and preservation of public views, the height restrictions would usually be stipulated in terms of mPD so as to clearly state the absolute maximum heights of the buildings. In the recent reviews of OZPs, we stipulate most building height restrictions in terms of mPD instead of metres so as to establish different height bands for a stepped height profile.
My reply to the two-part question is as follows:
Regarding part (a) of the question, of the building plans approved by the Building Authority ("BA") between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2007, the sites in 125 building plans are located within zones in OZPs subject to a maximum building height given in metres or metres and number of storeys without reference to the mPD.
According to the existing practice of the Planning Department ("PlanD"), the concept of "mean site formation level" instead of "base elevation" is adopted in these cases in calculating the height of buildings in an OZP. "Mean site formation level" is terminology commonly adopted by the industry. In general, it means the average formed level of a site ready for development, and the height of buildings is measured from the "mean site formation level" on which a building stands up to the main roof level, unless otherwise specified in the statutory plans. In other words, no matter the floor area is above or below the ground level, as long as it is above the "mean site formation level", it will be counted towards the height of the building. Of the above-mentioned 125 building plans, none of them has exceeded the permitted maximum building height under the relevant OZP or planning permission.
Regarding part (b) of the question, under sections 16(1)(d) and 16(1)(da) of the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123), the BA may refuse to grant approval to a building plan if it contravenes the requirements under the relevant OZP. To ensure coordination in processing, the departments have established a centralised processing system, under which the BA will liaise with the relevant departments and seek advice from the PlanD during the building plan approval process to ensure that building projects are in compliance with the requirements and parameters stipulated under the relevant OZPs or planning permissions. In light of this control regime under which building plans are approved in accordance with the development controls in statutory OZPs, there is no need for building proposals to be separately published for public consultation.
Ends/Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Issued at HKT 15:01