As the Western Cape gets ready to welcome an estimated four million foreign visitors during 2010, the City of Cape Town has, for the first time, adopted a uniform land use policy to oversee guest accommodation establishments.
This includes camping sites, caravan parks, bed and breakfast facilities, boarding houses, guest houses, backpackers' lodges, self-catering apartments, hotels and resorts.
Please click here to view/download the policy document "Guest accommodation policy"
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According to Cape Town Tourism, foreigners spend an estimated 15 million nights in the Western Cape each year - and their average length of stay in Cape Town is eight nights.
"In recent years, the number of home-based guest accommodation establishments has increased substantially throughout the Cape metropole," says Alderman Brian Watkyns, Chairperson of the Planning and Environment Portfolio Committee (Pepco). "This, combined with the World Cup next year, has prompted the committee to set up a task team headed by Councillor Taki Amira, to develop a policy guideline.
"This growing 'home industry' needed some form of guideline to manage its impact on the surrounding environment in terms of noise, parking, loading, on-site liquor use, staff facilities and outdoor signage," says Cllr Amira
After broad consultation with the tourism industry and other stakeholders, the team developed a Guest Accommodation Policy, which has now been passed by Pepco.
"The policy provides a rational land use management framework to guide guest accommodation related land uses in support of existing and future zoning scheme regulations," Amira says.
"It provides a fair assessment of development applications for guest accommodation establishments and promotes local economic development, while protecting the interests of the community at large," he says.
The policy is aligned to the latest draft of the new Cape Town Zoning Scheme, which will eventually replace the city's current 27 individual zoning schemes. Where the policy contradicts provisions in an existing zoning scheme, the zoning scheme will apply.
The policy sets out a list of accommodation categories, details land use types and the assessment criteria for applications, and the provisions for all 27 zoning schemes - from Atlantis to Simon's Town to Gordon's Bay.
"In implementing the policy, the City's Planning and Building Development Department will work closely with tourism authorities to assist people providing tourist accommodation to become compliant with it,' says Gideon Brand, Section Head: Land Use Management, in the Department.