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15% required green space for subdivision development pushed

AN ENVIRONMENTAL group here revived anew the call to increase to 15% the required green space for every subdivision development in the city.

The Comprehensive Land Use Plan of 2019-2028 states green space for residential areas remains at 10% “to avoid the additional burden that might be passed on to the end-user, if the proposed 15% is followed.” 

Lemuel Manalo, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS) program coordinator, told reporters in a sideline interview that revisiting the provision would address the urban heat island effect that the city experienced during El Niño.

Under Section 33 of the zoning ordinance, a green space refers to an area partly or completely covered by natural vegetation accessible and enjoyed by the public. 

It can be a singular entity or a combination of any of the amenities, such as but not limited to urban wetlands, forest patches, rotunda, green strips, green islands, plantable easements, retarding ponds, lagoons, ponding areas, linear parks, community gardens, slopes, and undeveloped areas, provided they remain devoted for greening purposes.

Manalo said of the 15% required green space, 5% may be established in an off-site scheme, and the remaining 10% will be retained in the area where a development project will be built.

“If the site development can’t cater to the entire 15%, they may opt to do an off-site scheme,” he added.

He said the proposed amendment includes improving the guidelines for the scheme as the terminologies in the current ordinance remained unspecified. This includes a deed of donation as one of the documentary requirements for the off-site scheme. 

The developer needs to procure another property within the Urban Ecological Enhancement Sub-Zones (UEESZ) only for reforestation purposes (5% green space) which will be donated to the local government. 

The deed of donation will be made after the green space is developed, and maintenance falls under the LGU. “This will form an environmental responsibility of the developers,” Manalo said.

IDIS also proposed the off-site schemes be located alongside each other to form a large park called a network of green and open spaces to minimize the occurrence of urban heat islands. 

Manalo said vertical greening should not be allowed as a substitute or to offset the 15% green space since the purpose of the green space is for land use, to infiltrate rainwater, to improve soil quality, and to combat the heat island effect. 

On June 10, IDIS met with Councilor Javi Campos and City Planning and Development Office Head EnP. Ivan Cortez for possible collaboration. The green space section in the Zoning Ordinance is currently under review.

IDIS study on the Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon from April 2022 to April 2023 revealed that tree canopies, vegetated spaces, and permeable pavements effectively reduce the urban heat island effect and enhance residents’ comfort levels. 

In their comparative average temperature per surface, hardly built space reaches up to 41.02 degrees Celsius; permeable-paved space is 39.33 degrees Celsius; open-landscaped space is 38.87 degrees Celsius; and closed canopy space is at 33.76 degrees Celsius.

File Photo: Bing Gonzales


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