Fri | Oct 20, 2017

What stays? What goes? - Council to tear down buildings in breach

Published:Monday | February 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Donovan Mitchell, mayor of Mandeville.

Manchester:

One major concern that has existed for decades in the town of Mandeville is the matter of illegal buildings and how they have been dealt with by the powers that be.

According to Mayor Donovan Mitchell, it can no longer be business as usual, and buildings in breach of relevant codes will either need to be renovated for approval or risk being torn down.

"We have had to take drastic action in the past. A lot of the developers, while they may have knowledge of what the requirements are, they are of the thinking that the council, based on past experiences, will not extend its reach to have intervention on these matters."

While some developers have sought guidance from the council, others have not.

 

ISSUE OF SAFETY

 

"I want it to be clear to everyone, it is not business as usual. We're taking people to court, and we'll be taking down buildings to let people know we are serious. It's not just about people building. It's about the safety of these buildings," Mitchell added.

"Developers [need to] come in and talk to us before starting the work because we will go with the spirit of the law to the end," Mitchell warned.

The Gleaner did some checks and found several buildings in the town that have little to no parking spaces for customers; one entrance, which is also used as an exit; and unapproved expansions.

Councillor of the Alligator Pond Division Darlton Brown said that it is not that members of the council are not playing their roles, but developers circumvent stipulated regulations.

"One of the major difficulties we have is with the developers' [unwillingness] to seek the guidance of the council first before developing and to adhere to the recommendations we provide."

Mitchell acknowledged that he has identified numerous buildings in breach but is waiting on the advice of personnel from the Roads and Works Department to make the disclosure and move forward.

"We have identified a number of buildings ... and there is one in particular in the town centre that I have requested a team to investigate and should be provided with the necessary information."

tamara.bailey@gleanerjm.com