The Impact of Property Development on Pattaya’s Infrastructure

Last month we discussed the evolving trends in Pattayas condominium developments and how they have changed to suit the buyers needs and budgets. This month I feel it necessary to look at how all of these condominium developments are affecting Pattayas roads and other local services.
Up until just a couple of years ago most of Pattaya’s condo developments were low rise, seven to eight floor projects. This is due to the fact that when designing your project, if you stay within specific criteria on a number of factors, it becomes easier to obtain planning permission to start construction. These boundaries are no more than 10,000 square meters of build area, 79 units within the building, 23 meters in height (this is dependent on the wide of the adjacent road of the land you are building on) minimum 25% of the land being used for common area.
If a developer wishes to construct a project greater than any of the above criteria, they are required to obtain EIA approval (Environmental Impact Assessment). EIA is made up of a large number of requirements. The developer is required by the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) to submit a report to obtain planning permission giving assessments on how the project will affect the local environment. Such items being air pollution, noise and vibration, water usage and waste, traffic, drainage systems, solid waste treatment, agriculture, land use and many more.
The point I want to address in this article is how much longer will it be until Pattaya’s condominium developers are allowed to keep building these high rise projects. I was in Pratamnak last week and noticed the traffic build up coming out onto Theppraya Road. It made me wonder what the area is going to be like once we have the proposed new 4,000 units becoming occupied in this area. Pratamnak and Cosy Beach only have two entrances and exits, being Theppraya and Pratamnak Road. I pose the question, is the road infrastructure going to be able to handle the traffic in the future.
Pattaya is forever having water shortage problems in the height on the summer. Are the local councils taking all these factors into account when they grant these EIA approvals? It makes you wonder. I think it would be a major benefit to the local community to look at the options of water treatment stations, to turn used water back into a usable state, as well as the introduction of man made reservoirs. Pattaya is solely dependant on Maprachan and Channock Reserviors and with the predicted increase in the local population, these just are going to be sufficient enough.
With Pattayas property and hotel development reaching a ‘boom’ again after a few years of financial down turn it can only be good for the city. Pattaya received 5 million visitors during 2010, with 2011 figures yet to be confirmed, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand predicting 2012 to exceed that 2010 figure by 20 percent.
There are over 40,000 condominium units in Pattaya and an influx of buyers from Russia, India and China, property development it seems can only go in one direction. What we need to ask is; are City Hall making sure that Pattaya can accommodate all of this? We have had the proposed high speed rail link to and from the airport. The local sky train to be push through and approved. The introduction on the new highway development direct into the city centre and the new railway road show things are moving in the right direction, but are these implements enough?
During the recent high season we did see a massive influx of short term holiday lets. Some of this was due to the flooding in Bangkok, but most of it was tourist coming for short holiday breaks. The rental market is very strong at the moment. The real estate arm of our business has struggled during the high season to accommodate many of our clients rental demands, which is great of the investor buying to let, but bad for the agent with no more properties available on their books.
If this major influx of tourism and the ever expanding expat community continues to grow I feel Pattaya is going to struggle in the coming years. The road infrastructure will not be able to cope and the water demands and the amount of waste rubbish the city is going to be producing will be immense.
Let’s all hope for the sake of this amazing city the government and local councils stand up and recognize the actions that are required prior to letting all of this major development get ahead of itself.

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