BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance strictly granting no exemption or out rightly denying applications for exemption, variance or non-conforming use of commercial and institutional buildings relative to the parking lot requirement within the central business district area in the city setting the guidelines for the implementation of Article VIII of Ordinance No. 63, series of 2016.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Elaine D. Sembrano stated that the measure shall cover barangays Kayang Hilltop, Upper Market Subdivision, Padre Zamora, Padre Burgos, Camp Allen, Upper and Lower Magsaysay, Session Road, Rizal Monument, Abanao-Zandueta-Kayang-Otek, Malcolm Square, Kabayanihan, Kagitingan, Upper and Lower Gen. Luna, Andres Bonifacio-Caguioa, Rimando, Teodora Alonzo, New Lucban, Burnham-Legarda, Kayang Extension, Queen of Peace, and Palma-Urbano.
Under the provisions of the ordinance, existing commercial or institutional buildings within the aforesaid barangays using their parking lots as commercial spaces or other purposes shall be given 6 months to revert their spaces into the original use as parking spaces for tenants and clients.
Likewise, it added that commercial buildings without the necessary number of parking lots shall be required to comply pursuant to the city’s zoning ordinance within one year upon receipt of notice.
The ordinance stipulated that the City Planning and Development Officer or the Zoning Officer, upon approval of the proposed measure, shall submit to the City Mayor’s Office and the local legislative body an inventory of buildings granted exemptions, deviations or are currently non-conforming with the zoning ordinance for appropriate action pursuant to its provisions.
Within 3 months upon approval of the ordinance, the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) in coordination with the Zoning Officer shall ensure that all property owners within the city’s central business district are duly informed on the pertinent provisions of the local legislative measure.
The ordinance claimed that no business permit, occupancy permit or other related permits and clearances shall be issued to any commercial or institutional establishment for any violation of the measure aside from the fines and penalties imposed by existing law, rules and regulations.
Further, government officers and employees responsible for the approval of any grant for exemption or variance contrary to the ordinance shall be held liable and shall be dealt with accordingly pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.
According to the proposal, vehicular traffic is one of the monstrous challenges the city is experiencing more often as the mobility of people and motor vehicles increase, inversely to the shrinking space the city can offer.
Despite the implementation of several traffic re-routing schemes, the ordinance noted the city’s traffic situation direly needs improvement including the review and assessment of supporting policies to come up with complimenting tools to alleviate the public’s day-to-day struggles with traffic and other related social episodes when in the city’s commercial district.
By Dexter A. See