St. Maarten News – The process to establish zoning plans will continue, Vromi-Minister Angel Meyers announced in a press release. Up to now, only draft zoning plans for Simpson Bay, Cul de Sac and Cay Hill – Little Bay were placed on public review, pursuant to a public hearing.
The ministry will continue with public hearings and public reviews for the other ten draft zoning plans in a phased manner, starting with Dutch Quarter, Middle Region, Cole Bay and Cay Bay – Billy Folly. Two prior rounds of town hall meetings facilitated the preparation of these draft zoning plans.
Minister Meyers said that some delays in the process had occurred because new members to the Committee of Experts had to be appointed. This independent committee advises the minister about objections that may be submitted when a draft zoning plan is placed on public review.
The committee is currently up and running and has rendered advice about objections against the draft zoning plan for Simpson Bay. The minister is awaiting the advice about objections against the draft zoning plans for Cul de Sac and Cay Hill – Little Bay.
Minister Meyers said in a press release that it is now high time to continue with the process, as there are currently limited means to ensure sustainable spatial development.
The temporary provision in the zoning ordinance for planning permits expired in 2012 and a recent verdict from the Common Court of Justice confirmed that it is legally impossible to revise any existing planning permit, except through the process of a zoning plan. The lack of proper spatial planning leads to adverse effects that are difficult to reverse. This can be seen for example in inadequately planned developments in the hillsides, in the occurrence of incompatible developments competing for space such as residential and industrial functions in close proximity, and in inadequate roads and other infrastructure.