Commercial use of residential buildings to end

MUSCAT, July 24 – The commercial use of residential buildings outside the approved streets under the jurisdiction of Muscat Municipality will cease to exist from the beginning of next year. “The time period designated for practising commercial activities in residential buildings outside the approved streets will end by the end of 2018,” said a notification from the municipality. The notification relates to the two orders issued by the civic body in 2016 regarding the use of residential buildings for commercial activities, including extension of the time frame for the buildings located outside the approved streets.
After a study and discussions with businesses and other authorities concerned, the civic body had given its nod for using residential buildings for commercial purposes in the governorate.
“The licences and contracts of these activities will be automatically terminated on the expiry of the time limit and may not continue to be exercised in residential buildings after the specified date,” warned the notification.
The study carried out in cooperation with the ministries of housing, commerce and industry, among others, suggested that commercial-cum-residences could be in the same buildings but not in all areas.
The activities that were allowed in the residential buildings, among many others, include kindergartens and nurseries, institutes and related activities for people with special needs, private schools and Quran learning centres.
In May this year, the municipality had issued a warning against setting up of warehouses or commercial workshops in residential neighbourhoods.

Khalid al Rahbi, Director of Urban Inspection Department, was quoted by the Observer as saying, “The municipal authorities, in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing, will check the title deeds of those properties to ascertain the purpose for which the land has been registered.”
His remarks followed complaints from citizens that the existence of warehouses has been affecting the quality of life in their respective areas. He then said the municipality would not allow any kind of industrial activity in residential areas.
According to the official, zoning restrictions have already been made to prevent nuisance by providing distinct areas for certain types of development and use.  Article 115 of the Civic Law does not allow establishment of workshops and factories or crushers and also sale of construction materials in residential areas that cause nuisance and inconvenience to the public. “The properties must be used for the purpose for which they have been registered under the building permit,” stipulates the law.

SAMUEL KUTTY