Developer asks court to overturn rejection of high-rise

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 July, 2009, 12:00am

A developer behind a Happy Valley project is asking a court to overturn the Building Authority's rejection of its development plan for being too high for the neighbourhood.

Fortune Key is fighting to overturn decisions made by the Building Authority and its appeal tribunal that are blocking its plan - submitted in September 2006 - to build a six-storey and a 47-storey block at a residential site in Sing Woo Road and Holly Road.

Fortune Key claims the authority's rejection on the basis of height is unlawful. On Thursday it filed an application for leave to apply for a judicial review in the High Court, contending that the site was covered by the outline zoning plan of April 2003, which imposes no restrictions on building heights or plot ratios. Plot ratio is the total floor area of buildings permitted to be built on a site.

The authority rejected the plan in October 2006 after seeking advice from a district planning officer.

Its reasons were that the development's visual impact would be undesirable because it was much taller than the surrounding buildings, and that its plot ratio of almost 10 was not acceptable.

Furthermore, it said the site fell within a density zone under the Hong Kong Planning Standards and guidelines limiting the plot ratio to 5 - or a building of six storeys plus a parking level.

Fortune Key appealed against the decision through the authority's appeal tribunal, which upheld the authority's decision on April 22.

In its application for a judicial review, the company claimed that the authority misapplied a provision of the Building Ordinance by relying on advice from a district planning officer.

It also faulted the appeal tribunal for failing to exercise its own judgment on the merits of the plan. The company now wants a court order requiring the tribunal to reconsider the decision in accordance with the law and to approve the development.

According to the application, the company has submitted five building plans, including the plan in question, since October 2005.

All were rejected except one that it submitted in December 2005 to build a single building of 31 storeys.