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New Development Plan rules legally allow restaurants on rooftops in Mumbai

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MUMBAI: While the city already has several rooftop restaurants and bars, most have been allowed only as temporary structures, or are illegal.

Rooftop restaurants are among the things the state government plans to regulate under its new Development Plan (DP) for the city.

While Mumbai already has several rooftop restaurants and bars, most of them have been allowed only as temporary structures, or are set up illegally.

By bringing such restaurants under the DP’s Development Control and Promotional Regulations (DCPR), the civic body and the state government hope to regulate them better and plug loopholes that allow illegal, dangerous structures to be set up.

The move comes just months after a massive fire at two rooftop restaurants in central Mumbai’s Kamala Mills area left 14 people dead. The DP is the overall blue print for the city’s growth over the next 20 years, while the DCPR spells out rules for construction.

Over the past few years, there has been a growing demand for rooftop restaurants and bars.

Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray took the initiative to get Shiv Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to allow such restaurants to be set up. While the BMC approved a policy for rooftop restaurants earlier this year, civic officials said the mention in the DCPR would give the civic body more power to crack down on illegal structures.

“DCPR rules for use of terraces would lead to regulation of rooftop restaurants, as several restaurants in the city are run illegally by using some loopholes in the present rules,” said Vivek More, deputy chief engineer, development plan department of the BMC.

Under the DCPR provisions, terraces of completely commercial buildings, including buildings of hotels, can be used as a restaurant, provided no inflammable material is used, the DCPR says. The new rules now mandate that no construction will be allowed on terraces, except a service platform and a toilet block. This means, any rooftop space can only be used as a serving area and not a kitchen.

Meanwhile, in a move to make buildings more environment friendly, the new rules will allow Mumbaiites to use terraces as additional recreational green spaces — a rooftop farm and garden, for instance. You may soon also see swimming pools and helipads on rooftops of buildings higher than 200m.

After repeated demands by citizens, the plan has also incorporated gender- and disabled-friendly aspects of development for the city. This is the first DP that has been integrated with the BMC’s budget, with an allocation of Rs 2,000 crore in the financial year of 2017-18.

The Development plan issued on Thursday has 2,884 reservations, which is included in the ‘excluded part’ and are open suggestions and objections.

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