Consultations ongoing to update city land use, zoning

Consultations ongoing to update city land use, zoning

The City Planning and Development Office has been conducting barangay and sectoral consultations to ensure inclusive planning in updating the city’s land use and zoning masterplans.

Architect Donna Tabangin, city planning and development coordinator, said her office conducted an audit of the 21-year-old land use and zoning code of Baguio City with findings zeroing in on the carrying capacity of the City vis a vis the population growth and physical development of the City.

Tabangin said these concepts have started to be cascaded to the barangays already.

“The concept of zoning was not downloaded to the community and that is why we need to inform all residents in the city, entities who plan to purchase properties and develop, and the barangay officials, so they are properly informed about the allowable developments in the City,” Tabangin said.

The CPDO audit revealed that 80 percent of the City’s Zoning Ordinance of 2001 and 2011 has been implemented on developments that sought zoning clearances and 20 percent comprises exemptions from the code by the Local Zoning Board and National Agencies. It was also found out from the audit that a large part of the structures in the city were built without a zoning clearance, thus, are non-compliant to the Code.

“These 20 percent exemptions from the zoning code caused major problems in our land use plan,” Tabangin said.

Tabangin added that for the past 21 years, urban planners of the city have implemented inconsistent interpretations of the land use plan resulting in zoning conditions not being followed.

Based on the audit, the CPDO found six elements that need to be addressed with sustainable strategies towards a better Baguio.

These are: multiple growth nodes instead of single central business district; combined gray, green and blue infrastructure to address limited public blue-green spaces; and, multi-modal mass transport to address high usage of personal transport.

The CPDO also recommends walkable and bikeable settlements to attain a “15-minute city” similar to Paris’ 20-minute city as a solution to unequal access to services.

Mixed and flexible uses of buildings and public spaces is also recommended, and the mainstreaming of Climate and Disaster Risk Analysis on all areas with emphasis on unmanaged settlements in the city.

Tabangin said the CPDO accomplished several master development plans that form part of the comprehensive land use plan using digital land use data gathering and analytics.

More work needs to be accomplished particularly on the integration of the City’s Development Plan and the Smart Sustainable City Framework; the development for interoperability of data and analytics across different LGU offices; and the integration of cadastral plots of the City Assessor’s Office with the Land Use.

In consultation with Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), the updated Comprehensive Land Use and Development Plan of the City should have gone through the prescribed evaluation, public consultation, and eventual approval before the year ends. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan