Yangon authorities appear to backtrack on high-rise review
Officials seem to have come down on the side of angry developers in the row over the suspension of high-rise projects either under construction or at the planning stage.
YANGON city authorities appear to have come down on the side of angry developers in the row over the suspension of 222 projects either under construction or at the planning stage. Following a city-wide review of project designs, the suspension was ordered because the buildings reportedly violated draft zoning regulations.
However, the draft in question has yet to be opened for public comment before its submission to Yangon regional hluttaw for approval.
Particular attention is being directed to 12 of the most prominent designs after inspectors ordered the developers to dismantle some floors already built, a step that the developers complained would be extremely costly.
The construction companies have already complained that they have been forced to lay off hundreds of workers and could face bankruptcy because of the suspension.
On July 29 the chair of Yangon Region parliament’s economic committee spoke out in support of the developers. Daw Sandar Min, who heads the regional Finance, Planning and Economic Committee, said they had suffered “enormous losses” because of the review of projects, which were all approved by the former government.
Yangon’s mayor, U Maung Maung Soe, has now stepped into the row. After he personally inspected three of the sites told to cut floors, he rescinded the order, according to U Kyaw Yin, the developer of Ivy Condominium, one of the buildings involved.
“Three condos were inspected by the mayor on July 29, and were authorised to continue construction in accordance with the permits they were granted,” he said, suggesting that the remaining nine buildings could receive the same permission.
He added that some of the developers had met yesterday with the mayor and the chair of the inspection committee, who had agreed that fresh inspections would take place as soon as possible, to be followed by approval of the original permits.
“At first, the mayor didn’t get involved in our case, but now he has expressed his understanding of the implications for the economy,” said U Myo Myint, of MKT Construction. “[Before,] the committee considered only the aspect of urban preservation, not the economy.”
Two of the reprieved projects are the 29-storey Kabar Aye Executive Residence (KER) and the 18-floor Mya Kan Thar condo. The third has not been identified.
Daw Nilar Kyaw, leader of the inspection committee, said the three projects had submitted complaints about the inspection quicker than the others, allowing fresh inspections to proceed. She called on the other developers to provide their own explanations for flouting the draft zoning rules.
“We haven’t issued permits yet, but we have re-inspected the three projects on the basis of the developers’ petitions. We hope the other developers will submit explanations soon,” she said.
But MKT’s U Myo Myint indicated that the city authorities had already taken the initiative in contacting the developers.
“They called us first saying that if we submitted explanations they would inspect the buildings again and reissue the original permit. The mayor understands that these 12 buildings were inspected on the basis of new regulations, but had already received permits under the old regulations,” he told The Myanmar Times.
Inspection committee spokesperson U Ye Min Oo said the committee is not responsible for granting permits.
The Yangon City high-rise committee inspects a building under construction.