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Gov't urges vertical developments to maximise urban land use

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 15, 2017

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MINISTER without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz says the need for a review of residential density zoning standards is still a major issue for the country.

However, Vaz told yesterday's Jamaica Developers Association pre-Christmas luncheon at Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston that he and Prime Minister Andrew Holness have had initial discussions with the Town and Country Planning Authority and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and are awaiting suggestions on how best to implement new measures.

“This means that the landscape of the city will begin to be transformed very soon. However, the policy will not seek to impose the measures on our suburbs,” he explained.

According to the minister, the increase in urbanisation as well as population demand have placed additional stress on the allocation and uses of land.

“The rapid expansion of urban centres and the finite land resources bring to light the need to review existing residential density standards as an integral part of Jamaica's spatial development strategy,” he said.

“There is a need to increase densities, especially in the urban areas, to maximise the use of scarce land resources and to take advantage of economies of scale in respect of infrastructural investments, such as central sewerage systems and mass transit,” he stated.

Vaz noted that NEPA, which falls under his ministry, has been publishing provisional development order notices for comments, especially from landowners.

He added that orders have been published for Kingston and St Andrew and Pedro Cays, St Mary, St Catherine, and Clarendon. Similar orders for St Thomas, Hanover, Westmoreland, Portmore, and St James are to be published soon.

“So, as a policy decision, the Government wants to review the residential densities proposals in the development orders, and ensure that developers are allowed to maximise the use of scarce lands in development,” he said.

He added that it would also mean encouraging and allowing vertical developments, as an integral part of the maximising of available land space.

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