Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MBBB Objection Hearing - The Cove Press Release – Copthorne Redevelopment, 29th November 2016

Perbadanan Pengurusan Cove (PTG/PB/STRATA/SPP/63)
Pejabat Pengurusan
521C-1-1, Jalan Tanjong Bungah, The Cove
11200 Pulau Pinang
Tel: 04-8990799 Fax: 04-8990799

UPDATE at 13:40 29th November 2016 after MBPP Objection Hearing 

This morning at 9:00 am Michal Deeb & Jin Tan together with their lawyers representing the 144 units ate the Cove Condominium attended the objection hearing called by the MBPP. Three owners from the adjacent Seahome were also present to register their objection.

The meeting was chaired by Datuk Patahiyah Ismail .

Facts Established:

  • The proposed building will be 65 stories high or 253.8 meters tall
  • It sits on 2.5 Acres of land
  • It will include a total of 637 habitable units made up of 217 residential units & 420 hotel rooms
  • It is a mixed development proposed on a plot which is currently zoned for tourism.
The Cove presented its objection on the basisthat the proposed building is of an unprecedented scale, height, size and type for the entire of Penang and if allowed to go ahead will represent a new precedent which will have dramatic and in our view serious negative impact on the low density residential local area and Penang as a whole. For this reason, it is imperative that the application for the proposed development is scrutinised with the outmost care by the council to ensure that priority is given to the long‐term impact and the wellbeing of the community rather than the profits of the developer.

More importantly it is our contention that the objection hearing was called prematurely based on the following grounds:


The guidelines require that certain studies are conducted and reports based on the same are submitted by the developer as part of their application. Those reports such as traffic impact assessment, social impact assessment, wind loading/ tunnelling etc.. are essential to allow the council and planners to properly evaluate the viability ad merit of the application. Guidelines also prescribe that such repots should be provided to the adjacent residents to allow them to submit an informed objection.

During the hearing, it was established that:

  1. The developer is said to have conducted some of those studies.
  2. The wind loading/ tunnelling and social impact assignments have not as of yet been conducted.
  3. The reports relating to the studies already conducted were not provided to the Council or to the residents.
Based on the above and in the absence of the said reports it is our contention that the council is missing information essential to assessing the viability and merit of the application and that in having not been given an opportunity to see or review the reports the residents do not have adequate basis to submit an informed objection.


The plot of land proposed for the development is currently zoned for tourism. However, the application by the developer assumes a zoning category of “General Purpose”. It is unreasonable to hold an objection hearing and consider the application to develop a mixed development based on a “General Purpose” zone before an application to rezone the plot as such is approved. And does a building of this size scale , height and type belong in a low density residential area?


The current guidelines prescribe that the minimum separation between a development of this size and a landed property must not be less than 20 meters. It was established during the hearing that the separation between the building in the current proposal and the Seahome bungalowsis only 6 meters. clearly in breach of the guidelines.


In calculating building density, the proposed development is in our opinion distorting the guidelines to a dramatic and an unprecedented extent which should not be allowed. The proposal is for a mixed development which included 217 residential units and 420 habitable hotel rooms. This equates to a total of 637 habitable units. However, in calculating density the developer has used only the 217 residential units against the total 2.5 acre land plot size and completely omitted the 420 habitable hotel rooms. This allowed him to present a density of 87 units per acre when in reality the density should be ( Total Habitable Unites ÷ Plot Size in acres) or ( 637 ÷ 2.5 ) resulting in an effective density of 254 units per acre which is unprecedented in Penang . This clear manipulation of the guidelines should not be allowed, unless the developer intends to have the hotel stand unoccupied indefinitely, at as calculating density is a critical factor impacting the provisioning of infra structure such as roads, utilities, sewerage, schools, hospitals etc..


It is understanding that the area for the proposed development is for traffic assessment purposes currently categorised as ”E”. This indicates heavily congested area. demolishing the 20 story Copthorne hotel and replacing it with a 65 story mixed development with 637 habitable units will have a significant impact on current traffic conditions.


Taking the Cove as an example of the tallest building in the area. Th following facts apply:

  • Type : low density residential
  • Land Area : 5.5 acres
  • Number of towers : 4
  • Total number of Units : 144
  • Building density : ( 144 ÷5.5) = 26 units per acre

The proposed Development:
  • Type : Mixed development hotel / residential
  • Land Area : 2.5 acres
  • Number of towers : 1
  • Total number of Units : 637 habitable units
  • Building density : ( 637 ÷2.5) = 254 units per acre


At the close of the hearing Datuk Patahiyah Ismail noted the objections raised by the parties and directed the developer to procure the missing assessment reports for wind loading ad social impact.

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