Muscat: Residential buildings can now be used for commercial purposes under certain conditions, the Muscat Municipality announced on Sunday.
Speaking to the Times of Oman (TOO), a senior official of the Muscat Municipality explained that the announcement was made because of a confusion that had arisen over commercial use of residential buildings.
“There has been a lot of confusion between residential and commercial use in some areas and there have been requests to improve the situation in busy areas with a large population,” he stated.
He added that this requires a regulation which allows the issuing of permits for using a residential building for commercial purposes.
Under these conditions, the buildings of the Old Muttrah area can be used for commercial purposes, as government offices or headquarters of embassies, due to the location of Muttrah Souq, and its status as a trade and tourism attraction.
However, the building owners cannot change the shape of the building or add floors so as to preserve the urban layout and ensure the privacy of the residents of the neighbouring buildings.
These buildings will also remain residential, except in the case of approval by the Ministry of Housing to change their use.
Residential buildings should also be allowed in all the streets of the Muscat governorate so that they can be used as kindergarten and nurseries, institutions or for related activities for people with special needs, private schools (first cycle) and Quran schools, embassies and diplomatic missions, except consulates of countries that have large communities residing in the Sultanate, and women’s beauty salons, for the privacy of women if their conditions are met.
“This includes conditions that the business owner should be Omani and the business shall be registered within the general authority for small and medium enterprises,” the announcement said.
The announcement also permitted use of residential buildings for commercial purposes in several areas in Seeb, Quriyat, Amerat, Bausher, Azaiba, Ghubrah, Al Khuwair, Al Ansab, and many more places.
The Muscat Municipality official, however, said the exact number of residential buildings that can be used for commercial purposes is not known.
“There are streets where buildings can be used for a number of activities, such as in Bosher, Muttrah and Seeb, as stated in the announcement,” the official told TOO.
“If an owner wants to use his residential building for commercial purposes, the Muscat Municipality will give him a permit,” he said, adding this was discussed during a Municipal Council meeting, which endorsed the following recommendations.