Trouble is brewing between Lavington residents and a private investor over planned establishment of a petrol station at the junction of James Gichuru and Mzima Springs Roads in Nairobi without the requisite public participation.
Already, the residents have threatened to move to court to bar the planned development after the investor is said to be at an advanced stage to erect a gas station at the controlled development residential area.
The area residents told The Informer Media Group that the development will gravely interfere with the traffic flow of the congested area besides issue of drainage, noise pollution and health safety concerns.
Further, they cited the planned change of use of the land in question by the Nairobi County officials is irregular.
“We as the area residents oppose the planned establishment of a petrol station at the James Gichuru and Mzima Springs junction by a proprietor identified as Sheb Investments Limited whom we are aware has sought approvals from the Nairobi County government without following the requisite process. Such a development must be subjected to public participation on change of use of the land by area residents. “
He added” “We are also concerned about the negative impact on traffic flow, water provision, drainage and noise issue such an establishment will predispose the residents to. We are ready to move to court to block such a development here.” Our source who spoke on condition of anonymity lamented.
Speaking separately to us, another resident who sought anonymity until they formalise the petition as a resident association said the investor is said to be exploiting manipulable loopholes at City Hall to bypass the legal procedures in seeking the mandatory approvals.
Cases of irregular establishment of commercial enterprises particularly gas stations within the leafy Nairobi suburbs have been on the rise with residents pointing an accusing finger to county officials for facilitating and abetting violation of by-laws regulating establishment of such commercial enterprises.
They blamed county officials for not involving residents before such projects are approved.
In June last year, Kyuna Neighbours Association (KNA), in a lawsuit accused a developer, Maar Petroleum Limited of undertaking construction works of a petrol station in the posh estate despite a court order being in force barring the same.
According to documents filed in court, Maar Petroleum Limited proceeded with the construction of the pump station and service bay, despite an order issued by the National Environment Tribunal issued in February 2022, stopping the construction.
In November last year, Lavington Five Roads Residents’ Association through the association chairperson Ndirangu Wa Maina petitioned the Nairobi governor Johnson Sakaja’s led administration to stop a private developer from building a petrol station in their area.
Ndirangu said as a matter of public interest, they should have been thoroughly consulted.
“The constitution provides for public participation in such matters and this requirement is sometimes skipped. Sometimes they invite us to give our opinion, we object to proposals but they over-ride us.” He noted.
He said the change in the use of the area on James Gichuru road at the Olenguruone Roundabout, was also not subject to public participation.
Similar cases have also been reported in Kilimani, Kileleshwa and Parklands areas in Nairobi.