Fri | Jun 22, 2018

New vision for urban development on horizon

Published:Saturday | January 27, 2018 | 12:04 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The lead story on the Finance page of The Gleaner of January 24, 2018, titled 'Back to the drawing board for Oxford Road hotel: NEPA tells applicant to reduce building height', caught the management of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) by surprise. .

The agency's surprise is largely owing to the fact that subsequent to the initial October 27, 2017, letter, a meeting was convened with the investor, consulting architects, and others to further consider the proposal to develop lands at 1A-1B Oxford Road, Kingston 5. The meeting with the investor and consultants was held on December 6, 2017.

The follow-up meeting was held in the context of the recently published provisional development order for Kingston and St Andrew and the Pedro Cays. Having reviewed a number of parameters height, density, setbacks and other relevant planning requirements - an agreement was reached and it was decided to allow an increased density of 375 habitable rooms per hectare (150 habitable per acre) in keeping with the intention and direction of the new development order. A letter containing these recommendations was directed to the consulting architect.

The intention, and as contained in the recently published Kingston and St Andrew and the Pedro Cays Provisional Development Order, 2017, is to increase densities and heights along several road corridors and growth centres, taking into consideration factors such as new policy intentions and development imperatives; the location of the site vis-a-vis major nodes and corridors; the area of the parcel of land; the availability of infrastructure such as central sewerage systems and water supply; open space, inter alia.

The overall policy decision and intention on the new development strategy for the country's major cities and urban centres will be communicated soon by the portfolio minister with responsibility for planning and development.

The announcement by the minister will clarify the issues and lay a level and predictable playing field for development in the country.

PETER KNIGHT

Chief Executive Officer/

Government Town Planner