Main Actor: Mlolongo town building owners
Ministry of Lands.
Ministry of Roads.
Location: Mlolongo town.
Mlolongo town is located along Mombasa road, 15 minutes drive form Nairobi CBD.
The town’s buildings were ‘chain sawed’ and sliced to remove the parts that had encroached into the main Mombasa road road-reserve.
To avoid such a scenario on your plot, it’s important to understand how plot boundaries are created and the processes to be followed before constructing your building.
REGISTERED PHYSICAL PLANNER
The procedure begins with the original land owner who consults a Physical Planner to come up with a sub-division plan.
The Physical Planner comes up with a plan on how the large piece of land will be sub-divided into smaller plots. The subdivision plan is then submitted to the relevant Local Authority for deliberations by the Town Planning department. The local authorities have bye-laws that regulate the plot sizes. For example, land in Karen and Muthaiga areas can be subdivided to a minimum of 0.5 acre size while land in Eastlands area can be subdivided to a minimum of 1/8th of an acre.
These bye-laws regulate the zoned areas so as to maintain certain required atmospheres within specific neighborhoods.
After the Local Authority planning department reviews the subdivisions, they may request the land owner through his appointed Physical Planner to make ammmendments such as increasing the plot size, increasing the road and road reserve sizes.
The common road sizes [road carriageway plus road reserve] are 9m, 12m, 15m, 18m 25m and 30m depending on the opinion of the Physical Planner and Local Authority town planning department.
For example, if the traffic envisaged is high, the Local Authority might request the Physical Planer to expand the road reserve.
The land acquisition act allows the Government to compulsorily acquire land for expansion of roads and compensate the land owner at an agreed amount as per the act. This is happening on the Thika road expansion whereby the owners of plots that have been affected have been handsomely compensated for the expansion.
The Local Authority have a duty to make this wise decision on whether to allow for future expansion of the road in the initial subdivision application or let the Land Acquisition Act take action in future when the expansion will be needed.
6 METER BUILDING LINE SETBACK
The local authority enforces a bye law that requires plot owners to set-back their buildings six meters form the main access road. The 6 meter line setback also aims to allow for such infrastructure expansions. This is enforced during the application for building plans approval by the plot owner through a registered Architect.
Once the Physical Planner makes the required changes and resubmits the subdivision plans, the Local authority approves the subdivision plans and instructs the Land owner to develop the infrastructure within the subdivided area to a certain standard. The infrastructure includes the road works, water works, storm water drainage works and Street lighting.
The Land owner is required to undertake the infrastructure works to the satisfaction of the Local Authority. The Local Authority can then give the Ministry of Lands a go-ahead to issue land title deeds to individual subdivided plots.
The Bye Law established in 1978 aims to ensure that as the Country grows and more plots get subdivided into smaller units, the infrastructure such as roads, sewer, water, street lights and storm water drainage grows in tandem. The cost of the infrastructure works is pushed to the Land owner as opposed to the Local Authority. Once the Land owner completes the infrastructure works, the Local Authority takes over to maintain the works with tax payers money.
Other countries that don’t have such laws do not benefit from infrastructure growth that is in tandem with population growth. In such countries, you will notice that land outside the CBD is poorly serviced, no quality roads, poor sewerage network, no street lights e.t.c.
Examples of such towns are Lusaka in Zambia and Kampala in Uganda.
If this law is followed to the letter by all Local Authorities in Kenya, we will not have plots being sold without the necessary services such as roads, sewers and street lights. Since some local authorities flaunt such laws, this is the reason we have some city suburbs that do not have any infrastructure at all.
After the Local authority approves the subdivision plan, the land owner then utilizes the services of a registered Land surveyor to mark the individual plot boundaries with a beacon consisting of a short steel rod encased in concrete.
The surveyed plans are then submitted to the Ministry of Lands for record keeping.
After the local authority certifies that the infrastructure is in place to the required standard, the Ministry of Land issues title deeds to each plot which the land owner can then transfer to potential buyers.
Once the land owner transfers the new sub divided title deed to the new owner, it’s his/her prerogative to ensure that when developing the plot, he/she requests the architect to liaise with a surveyor to establish the extents of the plot boundaries. The surveyor will check with the Ministry of Lands records at Survey of Kenya offices, Thika road.
The surveyor will buy a copy of the subdivision plan and use it to establish the boundaries. He/she will look for an existing beacon and use it as a datum to measure and countercheck the exact location as per the records held by the Ministry of Lands.
Once a Registered surveyor has established the boundaries for the plot, the developer can then request the architect to come up, with architectural designs which will be submitted to the Local authority for approval.
The Local Authority will then guide on the set-back and building line from the main access road.
Once the drawings are approved, the plot owner can then commence construction works and rest assured that the building will not be ‘chain sawed’ in future.
LAND ACQUISITION ACT
In the event that the Government requires to expand its roads, the plot owner will then be compensated as per the ‘Land Acquisition Act’.
Buildings along Thika and Mombasa roads that were not in line with the necessary statutory approvals such as Mlolongo town and Nakumatt Thika Road had to be pulled down at owners’ costs without compensation. Likewise, building owners that had all statutory approvals along these roads were handsomely compensated.