PHILIPSBURG–Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Maurice Lake has called on Minister responsible for Spatial Planning Angel Meyers to review the Hillside Policy. He called it “outdated” in a parliamentary session on Thursday. The policy is “20 years old. Within those 20 years a lot has changed on St. Maarten.”
Lake wants the minister to specifically review the clause that regulates the distance from the hilltop on which people can build. “St. Maarten does not have an abundance of land, and we need to look at being realistic … By changing this policy and by being more realistic with the building code restrictions, we could better serve the average St. Maartener and land owners.”
A review of the residential long lease fee, “which, in many cases, is too high for the average local person,” is needed according to Lake. “We need to live up to the purpose it was established for, which is to give out land to empower the local person, who otherwise would not be able to afford to buy private land, to build their home.”
The Ministry must also look into the billing and payments of long-lease fees. “This needs to be improved and one person within the Ministry should be assigned to send out invoices, because we have a lot of money out there for water rights, which Government is still not collecting in the lagoon and other areas,” Lake said.
The MP advised the Minister to sit with Finance Minister Richard Gibson to come up with a better payment plan for civil servants, who owe outstanding long-lease fees. “I do believe they got to pay on time, so they don’t end up in these situations. But, you can’t send a bill to them for four years outstanding and take it out of their salary at once.”
Source: Daily Herald
Lake wants review of hillside policy