Muscat: The Muscat Municipality reiterated that residential buildings should not be used for setting up commercial activities in undesignated areas.
The warning came in the wake of raids on Monday in houses in Muttrah that were used by expatriates carrying out tailoring activities.
According to an official in the department of market regulations, commercial use of residential buildings outside the approved streets under the jurisdiction of Muscat Municipality is not allowed.
“In today’s case, the activity was being carried out even without a licence. This is a clear case of violation. Offenders will face strict action in accordance with the law”, he said.
The raids resulted in the seizure of 10 sewing machines and seven embroidery machines.
Meanwhile, an official at the Urban Inspection Department said, zoning restrictions have already been made by providing distinct areas for certain types of development and use.
He said that the municipality will not allow any kind of activity in buildings other than what they have been registered under the law.
“The authorities will take all necessary steps to ensure that building owners comply with the law,” he said.
He admitted that there have been complaints from citizens and residents that commercial activities in some parts of the city are creating nuisance and spoiling the quietness of their respective areas.
“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 and action will be taken accordingly,” he said.
A few years ago, the civic body allowed use of residential buildings for commercial purposes as part of its initiatives to help small businesses make more revenues without inconveniencing residents.
The notification then allowed buildings located on the streets of old Muttrah area to be used for commercial purposes for its trade and tourism nature and existence of the souq.
On its expiry, the permission was given extension for one year in the beginning of this year.
The activities included kindergartens and nurseries, institutes and related activities for people with special needs, private schools and Quran learning centres and embassies and diplomatic missions, except consulates of countries that have large communities residing in the Sultanate.