St. Maarten Government pledges to put development plans online

POSTED: 04/19/12 12:43 PM

St. Maarten – The second in a series of town hall meetings on the drafting of development plans was held in the Belair Community Center on Monday. The public was invited to give input for the preparation of the development plan for conservation areas. Comments, views and ideas from the general public can also be submitted by
The audience that turned up for the meeting was informed about the plans and they were able to give their input and comments on what was presented. The attendees also suggested putting more effort in trying to get the public to attend these meetings and be informed about the preparation of the development plans.

Erno Labega, the head of the Department of Communications, who was the moderator for the evening, promised to make the presentation available on the government website. An announcement will be made when the information has been uploaded.
The conservation areas entail the hilltops and ridges, which the Hillsides Policy regards as protected resources, as well as monumental Estates (Emilio Wilson’s, Bishop Hill) and the Geneve Bay area.

The Secretary General of the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Development, Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) Louis Brown and staff of the Policy Department presented the ideas and views concerning the framework for the drafting of the plan. Different reasons for conservation were explained and illustrated on maps of the areas. Different issues were discussed such as possible developments, water management, roads in conservation areas, type of regulations and enforcement.

The input of the community is considered paramount in this process and in order for the right choices to be made, the community has to have a say by giving their views with respect to the spatial development of the country. The government believes that the public and stakeholders must have a say in the preparation of the plans, and therefore two town hall meetings for each plan area will be organized in order for the public to participate in the process. These meetings are in addition to the public hearing and public review as prescribed in the zoning ordinance.

The follow-up town hall meetings regarding the preparation of the development plans for Simpson Bay and the conservation areas are expected to be held in June. The first Town Hall meetings will also be planned at that time for plan areas such as Cul-de-Sac and Cole Bay.

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