Green groups want changes in zoning to adopt Popos concept

ENVIRONMENTAL groups are pushing for the revisions of the Urban Ecological Enhancement Sub-Zone provision of the city’s Zoning Ordinance.

Ecoteneo and Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), NGO members of the local zoning review committee, along with Save Shrine Hills advocates and other members of the Sustainable Davao Movement, have proposed for the adoption of the privately owned publicly open spaces (Popos) concept.

The proposalwas already endorsed by the City Planning and Development Office for approval of the City Council but was returned to the committee level since developers were not represented during the public hearings conducted for the said item.

While the Popos concept is used in other green cities, Save Shrine Hills advocate Arnold Vandenbroeck, in a statement, warned that “experiences around the world have shown that (it) can be abused or misused when landowners/developers receive exorbitant bonuses while their contribution to creating publicly accessible land has been minimal.”

The environmental groups are proposing amendments to ensure this won’t happen in Davao City. Exemptions and bonuses are proposed to encourage developers in actively participating in the greening of the city’s urban environment but not at the expense of public interest.

Examples of incentives for private developers include additional floor space credit for their residential developments and residential components within mixed use/hotel developments outside the urban ecological enhancement sub-zone, provided these are in line with the floor area ratio or building height limit.

Another bonus proposed is an exemption to ground floor area calculations aimed to encourage developers to build greener, social and tropical features into their structures such as innovative green rooftops, communal gardens, sky terraces, and balconies as done by sustainable cities such as Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea.

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