Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Guarding the 'Golden Triangle' - Residents say no to commercial development in upscale community

Published:Sunday | October 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMRyon Jones
Vaz
Knight
The vacant lot on Seymour Avenue in ‘The Golden Triangle’, which residents are opposed to being zoned for commercial activities.
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Several residents of the upscale St Andrew community of Seymour Lands, better known as 'The Golden Triangle', are up in arms over a decision by a developer to construct a commercial complex in the residential area.

The residents who are members of the Golden Triangle Neighbourhood Association have issued a call to Daryl Vaz, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, to intervene and prevent the planned construction of an office complex on Seymour Avenue,

According to convener of the association, Ann Hodges, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is poised to forsake an agreement for only residential developments to be allowed on Seymour Lands, which is bounded by Old Hope Road, Hope Road and Trafalgar Road.

Hodges said the association received correspondence earlier this year from attorney-at-law Abe Dabdoub seeking support for his proposed development of a 32-unit of 2,000 square feet each on Seymour Avenue.

But the association has since written to Vaz urging him to have NEPA stand by its own zoning plan.

"We have, for over a decade, been trying to control commercial incursion into the area, and we have had what I thought were very constructive discussions with them (NEPA), and we finally came to the conclusion that it would be all right to have mixed use, commercial and residential, along Old Hope Road, Hope Road and Trafalgar Road, and also Lady Musgrave Road which runs right through the area," Hodges explained.

"Having accepted this situation that we are going to agree to mixed use as long as they keep housing where housing ought to be, then we get an application from Mr Dabdoub consulting us about putting commercial in one of the few empty lots in the housing zone," added Hodges.

Last Friday, Vaz told our news team that he had seen the letter from the association only the day before and would be addressing the concerns of the residents shortly.

But chief executive officer of NEPA, Peter Knight, told The Sunday Gleaner that a provisional Development Order for Kingston and St Andrew and the Pedro Keys was recently published to replace the 1966 document used to guide development in the area.

"The Town and Country Planning Act allows any interested party to make submissions in relation to how their lands are zoned and the use that is put to their land in the development order," said Knight.

"The owner of the lands referred to has formally objected to how the lands are zoned and the use that is placed on it. So that letter is before the Town and Country Planning Authority as an objection as we have objections from other persons," added Knight.

According to Knight, with the residents' concerns in mind Dabdoub, who owns the land, was instructed to consult with the residents in the area and to publish a notice.

"I intend to invite the prospective developer to a meeting to outline what would be the Town and Country Planning Authority, government town planner and NEPA's position on the matter," said Knight.

"We have not yet reached a decision but we have to respond to objections persons have raised about their lands and that is where we are right now. I was hoping to have the meeting with the prospective developer of those lands sometime this week (last week) but we are yet to get a confirmation from them.

"In the meantime, we have received a letter from the citizens' association reiterating their position, and I also see a letter to Minister Vaz from a member of the citizens' association on the matter. I have not yet had a discussion with minister Vaz, but I intend to."

Knight emphasised that a decision to change the zoning or the use of the land and/or to give the developer any signal as to what is to be done has not yet been reached.

"The object of the meeting with the developer is to place before him all the issues from the residents' concerns to the process that the Town and Country Planning Act allows for considering, and objection to a provisional order to the proposal they have before us to include also whether the proposed development will even be considered," Knight explained.

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com