Minister Meyers: Process for the establishment of zoning plans will continue

POSTED: 05/25/16 7:17 PM

St. Maarten News – The process to establish zoning plans will continue, Vromi-Minister Angel Meyers announced in a press release.  Up to now, only draft zoning plans for Simpson Bay, Cul de Sac and Cay Hill – Little Bay were placed on public review, pursuant to a public hearing.

The ministry will continue with public hearings and public reviews for the other ten draft zoning plans in a phased manner, starting with Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Cole Bay and Cay Bay – Billy Folly. Two prior rounds of town hall meetings facilitated the preparation of these draft zoning plans.

Minister Meyers said that some delays in the process had occurred because new members to the Committee of Experts had to be appointed. This independent committee advises the minister about objections that may be submitted when a draft zoning plan is placed on public review.

The committee is currently up and running and has rendered advice about objections against the draft zoning plan for Simpson Bay. The minister is awaiting the advice about objections against the draft zoning plans for Cul de Sac and Cay Hill – Little Bay.

Minister Meyers said in a press release that it is now high time to continue with the process, as there are currently limited means to ensure sustainable spatial development.

The temporary provision in the zoning ordinance for planning permits expired in 2012 and a recent verdict from the Common Court of Justice confirmed that it is legally impossible to revise any existing planning permit, except through the process of a zoning plan. The lack of proper spatial planning leads to adverse effects that are difficult to reverse. This can be seen for example in inadequately planned developments in the hillsides, in the occurrence of incompatible developments competing for space such as residential and industrial functions in close proximity, and in inadequate roads and other infrastructure.

Minister Meyers acknowledges a critical note made by the Committee of Experts, that there is a lack of an island wide strategy for spatial development to place the detailed zoning plans in a broader and more comprehensive perspective.

In that regard, the preparation of a spatial development strategy as an overall cohesive and sustainable plan will be drafted.

A first draft will be presented soon for consultation.

The announcements for public hearings and public review of draft zoning plans that are in preparation will follow soon. 

The drafts consist of an elucidation, a map with common zoning or land-use designations, as well as land-use and applicable building regulations.

Zoning plans are intended to provide a legal framework for possible future development, to designate and/or reserve land for desired use, to prevent undesired development and to offer legal security to residents and developers about future spatial developments.

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