Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mandalay mayor limits oversized development

The Saittara Mahi housing development near Mandalay’s palace has been forced to change their plans after high-ranking officials found out the project was set to break zoning rules.

Work on the site has already begun on Mandalay’s 26th Street between 73rd and 74th under the Mandalay City Development Committee’s (MCDC’s) Building and Warehouse Department’s coordination, when Mandalay Mayor U Aung Maung said two weeks ago that the project is too tall for its location near the moat.

U Aung Maung said he was unaware of the problem until he saw trucks rumbling down 26th street to the site two blocks from his office, and inquiries revealed the project was to up to nine stories tall – well above the 46-foot (about four stories) limit for new buildings near the moat.

After taking a week to deliberate, government officials last week decided to force the development to adhere to the rules, though building is underway.

The companies and officials behind the mixed private-public development will be told to amend the buildings’ design, said U Myo Aung, head of the Building and Warehouse Department.

“We won’t allow any building to obstruct views of the palace,” he said.

The department also clarified height restrictions for buildings near Mandalay’s central palace. Buildings within 100 feet (30.5 metres) of the road around the palace are limited to being 46 ft tall, buildings between 100 ft and 150 ft must be less than 70 ft, and buildings between 150 ft and 500 ft must be less than 173 ft, the department said. Meanwhile the walls themselves are 27 ft at the highest point, though the regularly spaced towers are much taller.

The central Mandalay palace was rebuilt following fires during the Second World War. Most of the area inside its walls is reserved for military use, though a section is open for tourists.

Nearly all new buildings must be submitted to the Building and Warehouse Department for approval, though military, police and embassy projects have an exemption for security reasons, said U Myo Aung.

The Saittara Mahi development is meant to upgrade 60-year-old government housing. On completion, 52 percent of the project will be owned by the department and the rest owned by private companies to sell. An official from one of the developing companies claimed the change in height would not greatly affect the development.

Translation by Thiri Min Htun