Thu | Feb 22, 2018

Government still mulling how to maximise use of space in urban areas

Published:Sunday | December 17, 2017 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
Daryl Vaz

The Government has again signalled its intention to review the country's residential density zoning standards, but the Andrew Holness-led administration has still not given any timeline for this to be done.

Almost eight months after he told Parliament of the planned review, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz last week declared that changes to the residential density zoning standards remain a major issue, with an increase in urbanisation in Jamaica.

"The rapid expansion of urban centres and the finite land resources bring to light the need to review existing residential density standards as an integral part of Jamaica's spatial development strategy," Vaz told members of the Jamaica Developers Association late last week.

He said the population demand for more space in urban areas has put more stress on the allocation and use of land with vertical developments being used increasingly.

According to Vaz, there is a need to increase densities in the urban areas to maximise the use of scarce land resources and to take advantage of economies of scale in respect of infrastructural investments such as central sewerage systems and mass transit.

Development order notices

He said in recent months the National Environment and Planning Agency has been publishing provisional development order notices for comments, especially by landowners.

Provisional orders have been published for Kingston, St Andrew and the Pedro Cays; St Mary; St Catherine and Clarendon, with orders for Westmoreland, St Thomas, Hanover, St James and Portmore, St Catherine to be published shortly.

"So as a policy position the Government wants to review the residential density proposals in the Development Orders and ensure that the developers are allowed to maximise the use of scarce lands in development.

"It means also encouraging and allowing vertical development as an integral part of maximising available land," said Vaz.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com