JIS News

The 16-month old Town and Country Planning Authority (TCPA) has approved development projects valued at approximately $44 billion over the past year.
The total includes $30 billion for large hotel projects and $14 billion for smaller developments, said Chairperson for the Authority, Dr. Ruth Potopsingh.
She told JIS News that the Authority processed 233 of 266 planning and development applications received between the period January 2006 to May 24, 2007. Of the number of applications processed, 198 were approved and 35 refused. “The applications included resort hotels, residential, commercial facilities and cellular towers, among others,” she informed.
Dr. Potopsingh, who is also Group Managing Director at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, told JIS News that the Authority is reviewing draft provisional development orders for Trelawny and Portland. The review process should be completed by the end of next month for submission to the Minister of Local Government and Environment.
The National Environmental Planning Agency (NEPA), which provides technical advice to the TCPA, is preparing draft development orders for Manchester and Negril.
In addition, a draft Telecommunications Subject Order, prepared by the Authority, has been submitted to the Attorney General’s Office for comments, after which it will also be presented to the Minister for his approval.
Turning to the work of the committees, which are part of the Authority, Dr. Potopsingh informed that the Monitoring and Enforcement Committee has focused on Seymour Lands and Eastwood Park Gardens, where a number of stop and enforcement notices have been served by NEPA.
The Forward Planning Committee, in the meantime, has examined issues relating to densities, local area planning and re-zoning issues, site location and mast-sharing of cellular towers. “Some examples of reports produced were coastal setbacks, technical report on flooding in Moneague and response to the Highway 2000 Corridor Plan,” said the Chairperson.
“The Forward Planning Committee is seeking to produce a multi-hazard map in Jamaica, which will include work from agencies such as the Water Resources Authority, Office of Disaster Preparedness and the Local planning Authorities,” she added.
The TCPA has also participated in the hearing of appeals against its decisions, including refusal of applications.
She further disclosed that an exercise to review the National Resources Conservation Act (NRCA) and the Town and Country Planning Act is being undertaken, with the intent of a possible incorporation of both Acts to effect integration of spatial planning and environment. A proposed Environment and Planning Authorities Act is also being considered.
“The TCPA intends to improve its efficiency and service to the public through better communication to developers, with respect to requirements for development,” Dr. Potopsingh said.
Focus will be on increasing the number of development orders for the island, including a new Kingston and St. Andrew Development Order,” she added.
The 15-member Authority, which was approved by Cabinet on January 18, 2006, is concerned with sustainable development planning and development control, and carries out the functions of planning, monitoring and assisting other bodies in giving policy advice to the government, to ensure that the planning, development and infrastructure standards throughout the country are the very best.
The existing members will serve for a two-year period.

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