Thu, 11 May 2000

Tee Box Cafe, Millenia Boutique sealed

JAKARTA (JP): Accompanied by local police, officials from the South Jakarta mayoralty office sealed off on Thursday two residential houses used for commercial activities in the upmarket Kebayoran Baru area.

No clashes occurred during the closure of Tee Box Cafe on Jl. Wijaya II in Melawai subdistrict and Millenia Boutique on Jl. Gunawarman in Rawa Barat subdistrict.

According to officials, both buildings violated local spatial planning as all structures constructed on the land in the area should only be used for residences, not for businesses.

A spokesman of the mayoralty, Haris, said he had no data about the owners but a television station reported that the Tee Box Cafe was owned by businessman Setya Novanto, who is also a member of the People's Representative Assembly (MPR) and an executive of Golkar Party faction.

"The officials sealed both houses for violating the spatial planning regulations and the owners have no permits to run such business," Haris said.

According to him, his office sent three warning letters prior to the sealing-off of both houses.

"The City Tourism Agency only issued a license for a salon with five employees to the owner of the Tee Box cafe, but the owner expanded the business with a cafe employing 135 workers.

The license, however, expired in 1996," he added.

As for the Millennia Boutique, Haris said, there was no license issued by any city agencies its operation.

"The area is only for housing, while commercial activities are prohibited," he quoted head of South Jakarta City Building Supervision Office, Irmawati, as saying.

Under the escort of South Jakarta Police chief Col. Nono Suprijono and his men, the officials had no difficulty sealing off the Tee Box Cafe as the building had been vacant for a week.

According to Nono, both owners allegedly violated Article 272 of City Bylaw No. 7/1997 on the usage of the buildings.

The officials first sealed the empty cafe at about 10 a.m. by nailing a wooden notice to its front door and put a sticker on other part of the door.

The cafe owner apparently shut the store a week ago, after receiving three warning letters from the mayoralty.

From the cafe, the officials drove to the Millenia Boutique, whose staff were busy serving several customers, and put a sticker -- stating that the building was temporarily sealed off -- on what was believed to be the entrance door.

The arrival and the action of the local officials did not interrupt the business inside the shop. Some new customers even entered the shop through the other doors of the boutique.

The Kebayoran Baru residential area was designed in the 50's as a satellite town for Jakarta, including all facilities. But the rapid development of the capital turned the area into one of the most upmarket locations in the city.

Many expatriates choose areas in South Jakarta, such as Kemang, as their favorite place to reside.

As a result, many owners of local houses hastily modify their buildings into commercial places, such as cafes, restaurants, furniture shops, art shops, beauty salons and boutiques.

The city administration has, however, insisted that certain parts of South Jakarta are listed as restricted development areas in an attempt to preserve their characteristics and uniqueness.

The area is expected to maintain its current physical attributes and amenities, including trees and parks, as a model for other residential areas in the capital.

Several years ago, a number of restaurants, cafes and shops were also ordered to close their doors. (nvn/ylt)