Noven Owiti @PeopleDailyKe
Property investors in Kisumu will soon heave a sigh of relief when accessing land for development following an initiative by the county government to set up a land bank.
The process is meant to simplify the procedure of buying land, especially for investors eyeing to put up new developments in the lake side city.
According to the county’s Lands, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development executive committee member, Dixon Obungu, the project will cover over 1,500 acres spread in various parts of the county. The earmarked land will be available for development in areas such as Muhoroni, Chiga, Chemelil Seme and Kisumu town (Milimani).
So far Obungu says about 120 acres have been realized for the project, adding that the initiative aims at making land available for investors seeking to put up cottage industries and real estate or commercial enterprises.
However, he said the space will be allotted mainly for setting up public institutions, factories and special economic zones.
He explained that the county government will use available land or buy other parcels in coming up with the land bank with the deficit realised from repossesion of illegally allocated lands.
Currently, Obungu says the county, as part of a mass audit of public land, is repossessing all illegally acquired land ,which will be included in the land bank project.
“The county land taskforce has identified huge parcels of land that were illegally allocated by the defunct municipal authorities and county council. We want to ensure that they are all recovered and put into prudent use,” he said.
Most of the illegally acquired land, he disclosed, has been identified in Maseno, Kibos, Muhoroni, Mambeleo, and parts of Kisumu town.
Speaking to Boma in his office, Obungu said establishment of the land bank is expected to spur and increase investment within the county.
He stated that the bank will have vital information such as land ownership details, noting that already the process has taken off and will accommodate among other investments the national government planned economic zones and Export Promotion Zones (EPZ).
“The land bank will make it easy for public institutions and developers to deal directly with the county government in acquiring land hence reduce the risk of being swindled by merciless brokers,” said Obungu.
He said that the land bank is also intended to be used for the establishment of affordable houses.
He further said investors have shown positive interest and are ready to seek partnership with the county government in the land bank initiative, with many requests coming up as well.
Kisumu is among the fastest-growing towns in Kenya with the rapid growth in the town putting considerable pressure on the available land, particularly on the peripheries of its CBD, hence the need for more development space.
Meanwhile, the executive member revealed that the county government is in the process if zoning Kisumu city with the view of having controlled developments coming up.
He said a survey for the zoning is underway after the county government commissioned a geophysical mapping last month and the exercise is expected to be completed by next year.
Obungu said the zoning exercise will be extended to cover other small townships such as Ahero and Maseno which have become favourite potential areas of development.
“We have commissioned specific companies to carry out the zoning exercise. This will help us have a proper legal basis to control the development within the city,” said Obungu.
“We realized that the old planning used by the defunct municipal council may not be appropriate for us in the endeavors to have a master plan for the fast-growing town,” he added.
He noted that the plan to give the city a new face also targets the demolition of illegal structures built on riparian land, road reserves, way-leaves and unapproved buildings.