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County government initiates mapping out of unapproved structures

The County government of Nakuru has rolled out mapping of illegal structures and unapproved developments ahead of a planned demolition of structures on riparian land and road reserves.

Nakuru Municipality Manager, Mr Gitau Thabanja said many property owners had defied orders by the county government to demolish illegal structures in notices that have elapsed.

Speaking after holding a consultative meeting on unapproved developments with the Sub County and Ward administrators from Nakuru Town West and Nakuru Town East Sub counties   Mr Thabanja said the exercise will involve reclaiming public land which were either grabbed or illegally acquired by individuals.

“The Municipal Board is committed to put to an end to the menace of mushrooming illegal structures built without approvals on road reserves and public spaces. Those who know that they irregularly acquired county’s properties should surrender them before forcible repossession,” he warned.

Several audit reports have revealed that defunct local authorities in Nakuru irregularly sold to or awarded individuals public land in the County. The parcels of lands were grabbed and illegally acquired in the 1970s, 1980s and in 1998.

The beneficiaries who include prominent personalities have also been accused of allocating themselves government staff quarters and housing units that belonged to former Municipal and County Councils in Nakuru.

Also present during the meeting were the Director in charge of Enforcement Michael Wathika and Municipal Planner Robert Kiprono.

He noted that besides being unsafe, unapproved structures caused a strain on resources such as water and drainage systems, roads, lighting and security.

“Illegal structures present a nightmare in offering vital services such as garbage collection.  We will sustain audit inspection of buildings to ascertain their structural safety, their habitability and whether the economic activities of the buildings were what it was meant for,” he affirmed.

The Municipality Manager noted that in some instances after getting professionals to design a building, which is subsequently approved by the county government, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the National Construction Authority, some developers drop the consultants who should supervise every stage of the construction in order to cut costs.

“After getting the necessary approvals, some developers disregard the professional opinion from engineers, architects, quantity surveyors and contractors. Others even go to the extent of building by themselves.

Most of us know of instances in this country where some developers had buildings with a foundation of three stories, but they increased them to as many as five as construction works proceeded,” said Mr Thabanja.

He warned that the Municipality Board was on the lookout for such illegal structures and will not hesitate to bring them down.

The Board he stated had rolled out installation of street furniture, CCTV cameras and construction of non-motorized transport systems that will help ease congestion in town.

by Anne Mwale

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