Concerned with the continuing problem of vehicular traffic in the city particularly along the Central Business District area and the challenge of addressing the issue City Councilor Elaine Sembrano has filed a proposed Ordinance seeking to prohibit the grant of any exemption and the outright denial of applications for exception,variance or non-conforming use of commercial and institutional buildings relative to the requirement of parking lots, within the central business district area, and setting the guidelines for the implementation of Article VIII of Ordinance Numbered 63, series of 2016 which is also known as the comprehensive zoning ordinance of the City of Baguio.
The proposed Ordinance provides that existing commercial or institutional buildings within the areas encompassing the Central Business District and which are using their parking lots as commercial spaces or for other purposes shall be six (6) months to revert their spaces into the original use as parking spaces for tenants and clients. Also, commercial buildings without the necessary number of parking lots shall be required to comply in accordance with the zoning ordinance within one (1) year upon receipt notice.
The proposed measure includes in its coverage the following barangays comprising the Central Business District Area to wit: (1) Kayang Hilltop Barangay; (2) Upper Market Barangay; (3) Padre Zamora Barangay; (4) Padre Burgos Barangay; (5) Camp Allen Barangay, (6) Upper and Lower Magsaysay Barangays; (7) Session Road Barangay; (8) Rizal Monument Barangay; (9) AZCKO Barangay; (10) Malcolm Square Barangay; (11) Kabayanihan Barangay; (12) Kagitingan Barangay; (13) Upper and Lower General Luna Barangays; (14) ABCR Barangay; (15) Teodora Alonzo Barangay; (16) New Lucban Barangay; (17) Burnham-Legarda Barangay; (18) Kayang Extension Barangay; (19) Queen of Peace Barangay and (20) Palma-Urbano Barangay.
With the above proposal to strictly prohibit commercial use of parking lots and areas of existing commercial and institutional buildings at the Central Business District area, the proposed Ordinance likewise directs the City Planning and Development Officer to submit to the Office of the City Mayor and the City Council an inventory of buildings granted exceptions, deviations or are currently non-conforming with the Zoning Ordinance of the city for appropriate action in accordance with the proposed measure.
Within three months from its approval into law the City Buildings and Architecture Office in coordination with the Zoning Office shall ensure that all property owners located within the Central Business District area have been duly informed on the provisions of the said proposed law, and that no business permit, occupancy permit or other related permits and clearances shall be issued to any commercial or institutional establishment for any violation of the proposed regulation, in addition to existing fines and penalties provided for by law.
Councilor Sembrano stressed the need for the said regulation pointing out that additional measures are necessary in order to alleviate the public’s day-to-day struggles with traffic and other related social issues within the central business district area.