by Roy Pelovello
[ manilastandardtoday.com ] February 15,2010
HOMEOWNERS of the White Plains Subdivision have stopped the Quezon City government from carrying out a 2009 zoning ordinance that declares the Katipunan Avenue frontage a major commercial zone.
In an order dated Jan. 28, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96 issued an injunction against the city government pending the resolution of the homeowners’ petition challenging the legality of the zoning ordinance.
In issuing the injunction, Judge Afable Cajigal said the testimony of witnesses indicated that imposing the zoning ordinance would constitute a material prejudice and invade the rights of White Plains homeowners, causing them “grave and irreparable injury.”
On March 30, 2009, Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte signed the ordinance designating both sides of Katipunan Avenue, from the boundary of St. Ignatius Village to White Plains Avenue, as a development area, changing its classification from a low-density residential zone.
Under the ordinance, the development zone would be governed by requirements for major commercial zones that have churches, school, restaurants and offices.
Establishments that are not allowed to operate in such a zone—such as gravel and sand dealers, vulcanizing shops, hardware and auto supply shops, machine shops, beer houses and nightclubs—would be given a year to leave, after which their licenses would no longer be renewed.
But the White Plains Subdivision Homeowners Association opposed the reclassification, saying it was meant to “legitimize illegal commercial structures” along Katipunan Avenue near the subdivision.
They added that if the proliferation of commercial establishments in the area was allowed, it would have “grave, deleterious and irreparable effects on the health, safety and security” of the subdivision’s homeowners.
The homeowners pointed out that a multi-story building clearly intended for commercial purposes was being built in the area, and was in fact almost completed.
“If enforcement and implementation of the 2009 Reclassification Ordinance are not immediately enjoined, permits will consequently be issued to these establishments to the great prejudice and detriment of the residential community,” the homeowners said in their petition.
Cajigal said that while local government units had the authority to enact zoning laws, such powers should be used to the general welfare of all and not injurious to others.
The judge issued a temporary restraining order on Dec. 15, 2009, ordering the city government to stop implementing the zoning ordinance.
When the 20-day restraining order expired, the judge issued an injunction.