Land reserved for road development

Published: Monday | May 7, 2012 Comments 0
Licea-Ann Smith
Licea-Ann Smith

A reader recently enquired about the consequences of a portion of property being deemed to be Reserved for Road Development.

In general, the Town and Country Planning Act sets forth the manner in which the Town and Country Planning Authority (TCPA), in conjunction with the relevant local authority for a parish (for example, the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation for land located in Kingston and St Andrew), may prescribe the processes necessary for the development of land within that parish/locality.

As a result, the TCPA is given the power to make development orders with the general object of controlling the development of land comprised in the area to which the respective order applies and which are designed, amongst other things, to allow for the coordination of roads and public services.

For these purposes, the TCPA is also authorised to enter into agreements with owners of land for the purpose of carrying out the mandate of the development order.

Conditions of approval

When an application is made for subdivision approval and/or building approval, the local authority with responsibility for the parish in which the land is located, will impose certain conditions known as 'conditions of approval' after consultation with various entities, which include but are not limited to the National Environment and Planning Agency, the National Works Agency and the National Water Commission. These conditions stipulate the grounds on which the subdivision and/or construction of the building(s) is/are to be allowed and it is usual for a stipulation to be made for some of the conditions of approval to be endorsed on the title for the property.

A condition requiring that a section of land is to be reserved for road improvement/development may not necessarily be imposed in every situation. However, such a condition is imposed quite frequently. If or when the road development is to take place, it may then be necessary for the land to be acquired from its owner. According to the Land Acquisition Act (the Act), where land which is deemed to be needed for a public purpose has been declared as being so needed, the minister responsible for Crown lands is to direct the commissioner of lands to acquire the land. To this end, the land should be surveyed, and, if necessary, a plan of same prepared.

Land value

Depending on how much of the land is to be acquired, the value of the land could very well be affected. The Act also provides, therefore, that the land to be acquired is to be valued, after which the commissioner is to enter into negotiations for its purchase from its owner. It should, therefore, be possible during such negotiations for certain expenses (such as the cost of replacing perimeter fencing) to be considered. It is important to note that even in the absence of an agreement, the Act allows the commissioner of lands to take possession of the land and to acquire it compulsorily. If this occurs, compensation should, nonetheless, be paid to the owner whose land has been so acquired.

Presumably, therefore, by imposing a condition which requires a portion of property to be reserved for road development, this ensures that if or when the time comes for the requisite road improvement to be undertaken, it will be possible to achieve the desired objective with greater ease.

Licea-Ann Smith, Nunes, Scholefield, DeLeon & Co., attorneys-at-law, notaries public & trade mark agents, 6A Holborn Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, WI. Tel: (876) 960-9008-9, Fax: (876) 968-9692/9, website: www.nsdco.com, email: lasmith@nsdco.com.


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