Tue | Jul 16, 2019

Housing construction amnesty extended by two months in Westmoreland

Published:Monday | June 17, 2019 | 12:14 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

The Westmoreland Municipality Corporation (WMC) on Thursday voted to give persons building residential homes without the relevant permits, a two-month extension on an amnesty which was previously granted. This means they will now have until July 31 to regularise their building plans without being penalised.

Although no data was provided as it relates to the number of persons who would have responded positively to the initial 47-day amnesty, which ended on May 31, Savanna-la-Mar Mayor Bertel Moore, who is also chairman of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation, said several persons have come in with papers to regularise their construction activities.

“Some persons have since taken steps to regulate the construction of their residential homes, while others have indicated the need for more time, as the process is tedious and lengthy,” explained Moore, as he justifed the need for the extension.

“We have discovered that people out there are trying to comply, but the architects who are doing the drawings, because of the amnesty, they are overloaded with work,” added Moore.

Moore said the municipal corporation is being patient with persons who are seeking to regularise their activities because he felt that once they are seeking to do the right thing, the corporation should support their efforts as much as possible.

“They are trying to get the proper documents in place. Once they have done that, we feel that it is the right thing to do for us to give them the chance to produce the documents and pay their fees so that we can approve their drawings (plan),” said Moore.

The Savanna -la-Mar mayor noted that the just-concluded amnesty was very encouraging as several homeowners who have completed construction, and others who are now building, have come in to have their property regularised.

“We have seen quite a few who had to get lawyers to write letters for them, stating that they have bought the property and they are working on getting their titles,” said Moore. “Titles do not come in a three-months period, it takes a while sometimes and this is why we say, let’s try and give them some time that they can produce the necessary papers and then we can approve their plans.”

SEVERAL PENALTIES

Moore also stated that while the corporation is seeking to have residential dwellings regularised, other persons who are involved in erecting buildings illegally should know that several penalties will come at the end of the extended amnesty.

“Once the extra two months expire, there will be severe penalties that they will have to pay if they don’t come in and we discover that they are building. We are trying our best to work with them, and we are asking them to work with us so that we can have the process run smoothly,” Moore warned.