KSAMC Building Committee decisions must now document more details
Kingston Mayor, Delroy Williams

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Under new guidelines issued by the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), the Building and Town Planning Committee must have written detailed documentation of all material considerations and reasons for decisions taken in the approval process of each building application, Kingston Mayor Delroy Williams has said.  

The Mayor told the recent meeting of the Building and Town Planning Committee on January 26, that arising from court cases the KSAMC attorney-at-law had told the Corporation that it was necessary for material considerations outlined by the Building Committee in court cases, to be more detailed and comprehensive. 

"The reasons for the Committee's decisions have to be stated, so that if they are being reviewed five years after you don't have to be guessing," Williams said.

He said that it was in the interest of the municipality to use the guidance of the courts "to improve our operations."

The comprehensive list of material considerations the lawyer has recommended that the Building Committee take into account and document during the building application process for any development include: issues in respect of amenity and safety, traffic, zoning, planning history, history of enforcement, appeal history, resolution of enforcement objections, relevant plans and policies and statutory policy guidelines.

In the case of the traffic considerations for a development application before the Building Committee, the lawyer suggested that they take into account issues such as the impact on safe road usage and traffic flow, means of access, proximity to light and corners and whether street parking would be necessary.

The lawyer also suggested that the Building Committee document the comments and recommendations from the Chief Engineering Officer and the Director of Planning of the KSAMC in review of an application.

The comments, recommendations, objections of agencies and government ministries such as the Natural Resources Conservation Authority, NEPA, NWC (Water Resources) Ministry of Health, Mines and Geology and the grounds and reasons given by the agencies in support of their recommendations should also be documented by the Building Committee, the lawyer stated.

Other material considerations such as availability of infrastructure, green space, the current use of adjoining lands and the impact of the development on adjoining lands should be determined and documented, the lawyer told the KSAMC. 

Meanwhile, People's National Party (PNP) Councillor Venesha Phillips, (Papine Division) told the meeting that rezoning for the municipality was critical and should be looked at. She said that living in the city was different from living in a suburban area and that the Building and Town Planning Committee's role was not to stifle development.  

Jamaica Labour Party Councillor Kari Douglas told the mayor that more collaboration was needed between citizens groups and the planning and engineering departments of the corporation.  

Claudene Edwards

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