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State to frame separate height rules for buildings near Mumbai airport

To boost redevelopment of buildings that fall in the city’s airport funnel zone, the state government will prepare a separate set of rules, detailing how tall they can be built. It has not set any deadline to draw up the draft.

Funnel zone is an imaginary flight path extending outwards and upwards from either side of the runway.

The redevelopment of more than 6,000 buildings around the airport in Vile Parle, Santacruz, Kurla and Ghatkopar has been stuck as floor space index (FSI) cannot be fully consumed because of height restrictions. FSI decides how tall you can build your structure.

Nitin Kareer, principal secretary, urban development department, said the state government is preparing a draft over the height restrictions, on the recommendation of the civic chief.

“A separate set of regulations will be made. There are various options. Residents can either use the unconsumed FSI or be given concessions for redevelopment,” Kareer said.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta said various alternatives are being explored to make redevelopment viable. “There are two to three options: extra FSI (in the form of TDR) or reverse FSI or an increase in the base FSI. We have not put it immediately in the DCPR. The state government will come up with a separate regulation for it,” Mehta said.

A state government official said, “The state government and other agencies have recognised that residents near the airport are at disadvantage. A majority of them are from the middle-income group, and these dilapidated buildings need to be redeveloped.” Around 3.6 lakh people live in these buildings.

Shirish Sukhatme, senior architect and member of the Practising Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association (PEATA), called for a solution to break the redevelopment deadlock.

“One option is to reduce the floor height and add more habitable space. The length of the runway could be increased, which would give an additional 10 metres to each building,” he said, adding that the state government should ask the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to survey the area.

The new Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR) reduced FSI for the suburbs, including areas near the airport, to 1.33 from 1.5 for roads not wider than nine metres.

According to the DCPR which was released on Thursday, the planning committee had suggested to the state government that unconsumed FSI can be utilised in the form of transferable development rights (TDR).

TDR allows developers to use additional FSI.

Currently, they cannot avail TDR if a building falls in the funnel zone.

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