Portmore mayor comments surprise HAJ; agency reaffirms commitment to housing landscape
Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas

THE Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited has responded to a move by the Portmore Municipal Council (PMC) to issue a recent Cease Work Order on the Sandown Palms project being constructed in Portmore, St Catherine, as well as subsequent comments by the municipality's mayor, Leon Thomas.

The HAJ said it was surprised by the action taken by the PMC but was satisfied with the outcome that after a meeting between both parties, the matter had been resolved, and construction would continue on the 148-unit project with amenities like a jogging trail and tennis court.

Here's the full text of the HAJ's news release:

"Under the Housing Act, the Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited is allowed to start a project while obtaining the formal permits and approval.

"As such, the HAJ is concerned and surprised by the recent comments made by the Portmore Municipal Council. Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas noted that the developers of the project, Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited, started construction of housing units without submitting building plans to the municipal corporation for approval.

"The Housing Agency of Jamaica undertook a project to construct Sandown Palms on August 19, 2015. The application for subdivision and building approval was lodged with the Portmore Municipal Council. At the time, several sets of building plans were submitted along with subdivision drawings. Between then and 2021, the project was rescoped and enhanced to facilitate more units in the scheme and, on April 27, 2021, the HAJ via letter delivered, submitted another four sets of the plans as requested by the PMC at the meeting held April 9, 2021.

"Following this, on May 19 of that same year, the PMC, by letter, acknowledged receipt of the plans submitted.

"On March 21, 2022 the HAJ was given approval to start infrastructural work. Several consultations were had with the surrounding communities. The Cease Work Order was issued on September 7 and the HAJ met with senior officers at PMC to discuss the reasons for such an order and what solutions there were, going forward. The HAJ was then advised by the officers that the building plans were reviewed and no issues were found, and the plans will be presented at the council meeting on October 4, 2022.

"The HAJ has always stayed true its purpose — building affordable housing solutions for Jamaicans. Chairman Norman Brown shared, "We have always had a good relationship with the Portmore Municipal Council and seek to rectify any discrepancies. We remain steadfast in our mission – 'Building Jamaica. One community at a time'."

BROWN... we remain steadfast in our mission.

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