New rules decree lower of two plot ratios
Developers attack calculation guidelines for adjoining sites
The Planning Department yesterday announced new guidelines for calculating the plot ratio of adjoining sites, forcing developers to adopt the lower of the two ratios.
The new calculating system follows the collapse of Swire Properties' lawsuit in April over the redevelopment of its Seymour Road project. The company claimed the new plot ratio rules would dampen development interest.
Under the new calculating system, a development project situated at a site partly zoned as 'Residential (Group A)' with plot ratio of nine, and partly zoned as 'Residential (Group C)' with plot ratio of five, would have a plot ratio not exceeding five. Developers would be able to submit an application to the Town Planning Board for a minor relaxation of the restriction.
The rules have drawn fire from developers who, previously, could submit their plans directly to the Buildings Department.
'Before the new guidelines, the calculation of gross floor area of adjoining sites could simply follow the plot ratio of each site and developer could submit the building plan to the Buildings Department directly,' said Charles Chan Chiu-kwok, a director at Savills.
'The guidelines will hit redevelopment plans. It forces developers to split the site into two pieces. The government should consider another, fairer calculating system.'
Dennis Law Sau-yiu, the managing director of mid-tier developer Yu Tai Hing, said the problem of different plot ratios at adjoining sites was common in the older districts.
'Before the new guidelines, we could follow the existing plot ratios after negotiating with the government,' Mr Law said.
'I think the guidelines are unfair to developers.'