The Zoning Ordinance currently in force in Quezon City is already outdated having been enacted more than nineteen years ago when the city’s population was only 1.17 M and development in certain areas may be described either sluggish or just starting. Since then, the population have risen to almost two million and developments significantly intensified and expanded. Despite the many changes that have transpired – physically, socio-economically and politically, the land use plan has not changed.
Thus, one can easily surmise the gap between the plan and what is actually happening. The plan is no longer relevant and responsive to the needs of the city and its residents. This is readily manifested by the number of Temporary Use Permits (TUPs), exemptions, and, variances, which have been issued through the years. Most of these TUPs, exemptions and the like were issued to new establishments along Commonwealth Ave., Tandang Sora Ave. and other emerging commercial areas.
They were issued as a stopgap measure instituted to cope up with the development initiatives taking place in various areas of the city. However, it is only a temporary mitigating device that can not address long-term development needs for good. There remains the imperative to come up with a new comprehensive land use plan that is truly reflective of the city’s development goals and objectives.
The formulation of a comprehensive land use plan is not only dictated by the needs and aspirations of the city but is also mandated by law. Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the “Local Government Code of 1991” empowers the City Council, under Section 458, Paragraph 2, to generate and maximize the use of resources and revenues for the development plans, program objectives and priorities of the city by adopting a comprehensive land use plan for the city and enacting integrated zoning ordinances in accordance with the approved comprehensive land use plan.
To facilitate the implementation of this specific provision, Executive Order No. 72 dated March 25, 1993 was issued providing for the preparation and implementation of the comprehensive land use plan of local government units. The present administration, however, issued Presidential Memorandum dated October 19, 1999 stating that failure to adopt updated comprehensive land use plan by LGUs reviewed by Sanggunian by the end of March 2000, the authority to issue development permits shall be withdrawn from the LGUs.
On the other hand, Republic Act 7279, also known as “The Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992” provides for the formulation of a National Urban Development and Housing Framework that includes a review and rationalization of existing town and land use plans, housing programs, and all other projects and activities of government agencies and the private sector which may substantially affect urban land use patterns, transportation and public utilities, infrastructure, environment and population movements.
Empowered by these existing national laws and fully aware of the urgency of a new comprehensive land use plan for Quezon City, the City Government made earnest efforts towards the formulation of the said plan. In 1993, Ordinance No. SP-113, S-93 was passed by the City Council, directing the Quezon City Zoning Review Committee, as provided in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Ordinance No. SP 22, S-92, otherwise known as “The QC Zoning Ordinance of 1992” to review the existing zoning classification and/or zoning boundaries and to draft and submit to the City Council for approval its recommendations for rezonification.
The most recent undertaking was the creation by virtue of Executive No. 1, Series 2000, of the Joint Legislative-Executive Committee tasked with the preparation of the (new and updated) Comprehensive and Land Use Plan, which when approved, will become the basis of the Proposed QC Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of 2000.
In coming up with the proposed Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the following processes and activities were undertaken:
This phase included the conduct of preliminary studies utilizing existing data, mostly taken from the 1991 QC Comprehensive Development Program. Initial mapping activities were conducted consisting of the preparation of base and thematic / analytical maps and the collection of other pertinent data from existing secondary sources.
Prior to the actual field survey of existing land uses, preliminary analysis of the general land uses was undertaken utilizing data gathered from researches and “windshield” survey. This determined the general trend, direction and location of land use transformation. Areas with established characteristics that were perceived not to undergo significant changes in the immediate future were identified and eliminated from the list of areas for survey.
Other activities in this phase also included the preparation of the survey instruments: base maps of the survey area, survey forms, color coding schemes, reporting formats, data handling/processing structures; recruitment and training for survey manpower, allocation of survey areas and dissemination of letters to barangay officials and homeowners’ associations regarding the conduct of survey in their respective areas.
II.Field Survey Phase
The survey was initially pilot-tested in seven (7) barangays to determine the efficiency of the survey form and the reporting system and to gauge the capability and proficiency level of the survey teams. These barangays were selected on the basis of rapid land transformation. After the initial survey, necessary adjustments were made and the survey staff was re-briefed and given additional instructions to improve the process. The actual survey followed, covering 116 out of the city’s total of 142 barangays, as pre-determined. III. Analysis of the Existing Situation
This activity involved the process of evaluating the physical, social and economic conditions in the city. In particular, it included analysis of the physical characteristics, study of development trends and patterns, assessment of social, economic and institutional issues and concerns, identification of problems and constraints and description of development opportunities and potentials.
A comparative analysis of past and present land use data revealed development trends. Primary reference tools used were the 1972 aerial photos produced by the Certeza Aero Photo Systems, Inc., the NAMRIA Planimetric Maps circa 1985, and the results of 1994-95 actual land use field survey.
Changes in land uses were noted in terms of area expansion or decrease, shifts from one use to another or increase or decrease in intensity/ density. Visual appreciation of these changes indicated the direction of growth and development, location of new growth centers and the emerging forms of urban growth –whether linear, nodal or grid.
Based on the foregoing analysis of the City’s existing situation, the Conceptual Framework for the City’s future development was formulated. In the ensuing SWOT analysis, problems and constraints that include the city’s inherent weaknesses and outside forces and events threatening internal growth and development, were analyzed and matched against opportunities and potentials to define the more specific and responsible role for Quezon City consistent with the vision for its development and to prescribe strategies to achieve said vision.
The role and functions of the city in both the national and regional perspectives were considered as well as the visions of the former President and the City’s first Mayor, Manuel Luis Quezon, and of the incumbent Mayor, Ismael A. Mathay, Jr. According to President Quezon’s vision, Quezon City was meant to be the political seat and one of the showplaces of the nation. On the other hand, Mayor Mathay envisioned Quezon City to be a Model City. Given this, a Development Concept Plan was drawn up. In it, the development corridors and directions of growth were indicated in relation to in- and off-city growth centers.
V.Formulation of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan
Demand-supply analysis of future space requirements of the different land uses formed the integral part of this phase of the Land Use Plan formulation process. This hinged primarily on population projections over the planperiod of ten (10) years and estimation of future growth of major land uses.
The specific objectives of the Land Use Plan therefore were directed towards realizing these visions through rational allocation of land for development, maintenance of ecological balance, adoption of a Shelter Plan, promotion of an efficient circulation system and provision of a healthy investment climate.
The next step in this stage was the presentation of the Draft Comprehensive Land Use Plan to different sectors such as the academe, UAP, HLURB and MMDA, to civic organization – the Rotary, and the QC Businessmen’s Congress. It was also presented in three (3) general public hearings held at City Hall and in seventeen (17) others held at the CAR (Councilor’s Area of Responsibility) level.
Significant inputs from these public consultations with the various Homeowners Associations, barangay officials, and the general public were evaluated and those found with merit were included in the final version of the Plan.