Buy­ing into a sense of com­mu­nity

Freespir­ited No­ord­hoek res­i­dents can be re­mark­ably tol­er­ant crea­tures. Anna-marie Smith ex­plains

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THE res­i­dents of No­ord­hoek are gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to have high tol­er­ance lev­els. Some are of the opin­ion this is be­cause the al­most 4,000-strong lo­cal com­mu­nity truly ap­pre­ci­ates its priv­i­leged life­style. They are known as an ec­cen­tric so­ci­ety of bo­hemian mink and ma­nure who have be­come ac­cus­tomed to shar­ing, along­side one an­other.

The over­all tol­er­ance lev­els of res­i­dents, who live in spec­tac­u­lar sur­round­ings ad­ja­cent to Ta­ble Moun­tain Na­tional Park, are tested in more ways than one — as is the case now, when all and sundry are trekking over Chap­mans Peak in prepa­ra­tion for the Cape Ar­gus Pick n Pay Cy­cle Tour.

Their strong sup­port of lo­cal com­mu­nity events is most vis­i­ble at open air mar­kets and fairs, as well as restau­rants and pubs, where noise of­ten es­ca­lates to lev­els that may be deemed un­fit by a hand­ful of res­i­dents, as well as lo­cal watch­dogs. How­ever, the ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents ques­tioned about the im­pact of noise in their val­ley say it would be prefer­able to ad­here to the pre­scribed pub­lic us­age rules, as op­posed to the stop­page of such plea­sur­able en­ter­tain­ment on home ground.

What con­sti­tutes noise varies from com­mu­nity to com­mu­nity, says Cape Town city coun­cil­lor Lungiswa James, may­oral com­mit­tee mem­ber: health.

“The day of the week, cut-off time as well as the na­ture, foot­print and pro­file of the event would af­fect what would be con­sid­ered ac­cept­able. Gen­er­ally the city is guided by the re­sults of the writ­ten com­ments it re­ceives dur­ing the pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion process that the event or­gan­iser is re­quired to em­bark on be­fore any ap­pli­ca­tion for a noise ex­emp­tion would be con­sid­ered.”

James says to make it pos­si­ble to host out­door events, the noise con­trol reg­u­la­tions al­low for the is­sue of a noise ex­emp­tion, so that the lim­i­ta­tions on noise lev­els are tem­po­rar­ily lifted. Thus, dur­ing this per­mit­ted pe­riod, noise lev­els are not nor­mally mea­sured.

En­ter­tain­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the No­ord­hoek val­ley are lim­ited to a hand­ful of up­mar­ket venues, mostly com­pris­ing ho­tels, eater­ies and re­tail out­lets in coun­tri­fied set­tings, where com­mer­cial prop­erty and mixed-use zon­ings ap­ply. In ad­di­tion to tourism are sea­sonal out­door mar­kets, fairs and events where fam­ily en­ter­tain­ment is pro­vided with live mu­sic, food and crafts, where per­mis­sion is granted for en­ter­tain­ment at spe­cific times.

In cases where changes of land us­age re­quire re-zon­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, the lo­cal res­i­dent as­so­ci­a­tions play a vi­tal role in the fair pur­suit of mat­ters, for the pro­tec­tion of prop­erty own­ers and a pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment. Over­see­ing plan­ning and zon­ing mat­ters is the No­ord­hoek Con­ser­vancy, un­der the aus­pices of the pro­vin­cial government and the No­ord­hoek En­vi­ron­men­tal Ac­tion Group.

A good ex­am­ple is the pos­i­tive turn of events that fol­lowed at the Red Her­ring restau­rant and bar, af­ter res­i­dents ex­pe­ri­enced high noise lev­els re­sult­ing from “happy hours” that in­creas­ingly at­tracted an un­de­sir­able crowd. Re­solve was reached by a change of own­ers, who ap­pre­ci­ated the rights of res­i­dents to ob­ject.

Chap­mans Peak Prop­er­ties prin­ci­pal agent, Jenny Scag­ell, says it im­per­a­tive that prop­erty buy­ers in­tend­ing to in­vest in such a sought-af­ter coun­try life­style con­sult the lo­cal zon­ing schemes of res­i­den­tial nodes. She says in the case of pur­chases where ex­ist­ing com­mer­cial zon­ings are pub­lic knowl­edge, prop­erty own­ers have the right to ob­ject should noise lev­els ex­ceed le­gal lim­its, as was the case at the Red Her­ring. Res­i­dents now en­joy tol­er­a­ble noise lev­els and new dy­nam­ics at this venue, through the in­tro­duc­tion of live mu­sic un­til 8.30pm.

An­other ex­am­ple where lo­cals would pre­fer to tol­er­ate rea­son- able noise lev­els was seen re­cently when a pe­ti­tion was signed by 600 cus­tomers to pre­vent the clo­sure of the Thurs­day night mar­ket at Cape Point Vine­yards, which is zoned as a ru­ral prop­erty. Res­i­dents say this event serves a com­mu­nity en­rich­ing, job cre­at­ing pur­pose. Traf­fic along the es­tate’s pri­vate drive­way with am­ple park­ing elim­i­nates con­ges­tion.

The No­ord­hoek Con­ser­vancy’s Brid­get O’Donoghue says some of the sur­round­ing landown­ers re­gard the ru­ral zon­ing as in­ap­pro­pri­ate for such events. How­ever, Sy­brand van der Spuy, owner of Cape Point Vine­yards, cur­rently await­ing the city’s ap­proval for ap­pro­pri­ate event li­cenc­ing, says: “This mar­ket has re­ceived over­whelm­ing com­mu­nity sup­port as it cre­ates em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and a sense of com­mu­nity.”

Pic­ture: WWW.CAPEPOINT ROUTE.CO.ZA

The Cape’s scenic No­ord­hoek area looks af­ter its ru­ral at­mos­phere and en­vi­ron­ment.

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