Yangon City Development Committee is now putting together a master plan on five paused construction projects after two other official bodies weighed in with recommendations, according to government officials.
The five were initially suspended in late January following concern from some members of the public and government officials that the height of the projects may block the view or affect the foundations of Shwedagon Pagoda, which is about 500 metres (1640 feet) to 1.5 kilometres away from most of the five sites.
Authorities have since been inspecting project sites – first Myanmar Engineering Society, which is an industry group of professionals, which then passed its recommendations on to Myanmar Investment Commission and now to Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC).
Although the five projects are at different stages of development, some of them have previously received approvals from Myanmar Investment Commission and other government bodies, meaning in some instances the checks amount to re-examinations of their plans which have been approved.
Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) secretary U Aung Naing Oo said the commission has already received suggestions from Myanmar Engineering Society, with the main point that piling should not be conducted too deeply.
“The suggestion after the technical inspection was that piling should not be too deep at the five large project areas,” he said. “In general, without piling deeply, it is difficult to build tall buildings.”
U Aung Naing Oo said there was no discussion about the height of the buildings, and he added that so far the developers have responded positively to the suggestions from the experts.
MIC has now transferred its suggestions to YCDC, which must give final approval for the projects.
“We will work together with YCDC to analyse these projects, so we are working on drawing up a master plan,” he said.
The five projects include Dagon City 1 by Marga Landmark, Dagon City 2 by Thu Kha Yadanar, a Shwe Taung project, Shwe Taung Hyday project and Adventure Myanmar.
Representatives from Marga Landmark said it respects the due diligence undertaken by MIC and Myanmar Engineering Society (MES), adding the firm has been compliant with the requirements initiated by MES.
“We are confident that MIC has also found the plans of Dagon City 1 consistent with what has been approved and in accordance with the current laws and regulations,” it said in a statement to The Myanmar Times. “So far, Dagon City 1 has not been required by MIC or MES to make revisions or changes to the master plan previously approved by the relevant authorities including YCDC.”
“We firmly believe that we will satisfactorily comply with the recommendations contained in the MES report,” it added.
The firm had previously cleared several regulatory hurdles, and submitted its Phase 1 plans to YCDC on September 22, 2014.
“All works and preparations have been conducted in accordance with the approved plans,” it said.
Plans for Dagon City 1 call for the project to be under 190 feet, or about 12 storeys. Past that limit, separate approval is required as the project is classified as a high rise.
Some of the other four projects may be asked to make adjustments based on MES recommendations.
U Thoung Htike Min, chair of Thu Kha Yadanar, the company behind Dagon City 2, said the MES has asked his project to move back somewhat from Shwedagon Pagoda, a request which he said he will comply with.
The firm has also been given the go-ahead to start work on the property’s boundary to facilitate water flow, which would be a bigger problem if left until rainy season.
“We will start construction of the boundary lines for the projects very soon to facilitate water flow,” he said.
With MES and MIC having made their recommendations, the ball is now in YCDC’s court.
U Than Htay, head of the Department of Engineering (Buildings) at YCDC, said analysis of the situation will continue. He added that while YCDC has not set a firm date to finish its analysis and put together its master plan, it should be carried out quickly – though a developer said the report is expected in four weeks.
“We are continuing with our study and we will try to quickly give suggestions to the regional government so they can decide. The developers have leased the land from the government so they have already paid quite a bit for the leased land,” said U Than Htay. “If our analysis takes too long, it can affect their business.”
Since a final decision rests with higher authorities than YCDC, the committee can only pass on its recommendations following the analysis.
“We haven’t given a permit for these projects to build high. All projects have just been allowed based on their general proposal,” said U Than Htay.
He added that customers who bought certain units in some of the projects should be concerned.
“Now they have a worry,” he said. “The developers should sell units only on the lower levels before they receive a permit.”
Deputy department director U Nay Win said the projects are still paused, adding they will continue to be halted until a solution comes out.
“YCDC already has rules and regulations for the Shwedagon Pagoda area,” he said. “Projects need to be inspected to ensure they are complying with the YCDC rules.”
Marga Landmark said in a statement it has been responsive to the requirements of YCDC, and will work with relevant departments on detailed executive of the plans of Dagon City 1 according to recommendations contained in the MES report as well as current laws and regulations.
“Marga Group has faith in Myanmar’s legal system and the government’s efficiency and consistency in implementing policies, being one of the main factors that support Marga’s decision of investing in Myanmar. We also have faith in MIC and YCDC in respecting the legal rights of foreign investors and in supporting and facilitating their execution and operation,” it said.
It added it has abided by the law and calls for all individuals and organisations to respect its legal rights.
“We welcome an open dialogue in order to bring a sustainable mixed-use development of world-class standards to Myanmar and to continue to promote the economic development of this country,” it said.
Source: Myanmar Times