The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: May 7, 2015 - 7:57:38 AM

2010 Planning and Subdivision Act Fosters protection of home property values
By Gena Gibbs, BIS
Feb 14, 2011 - 9:22:16 AM

Email this article
 Mobile friendly page

Environment Minister, Earl Deveaux, along with other officials from the Ministry of the Environment, announce the enactment of the 2010 Planning and Subdivisions Act, Forestry Act, and the Bahamas National Trust Amendments Act as of January 1, 2011. The new Acts are designed to protect the zoning of residential areas from the rapid urbanisation taking place in New Providence that depreciates the value of residential areas while transforming them into industrialised business districts. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

Nassau, The Bahamas – Rapid urbanisation and the expansion of unregulated business activities are over-commercialising residential neighbourhoods. The growing practice threatens to depreciate the safety and stagnate the value of residential property, while they are transformed into industrialised areas.

“The Planning and Subdivision Act came into force on January 1, 2011 and The Forestry Act January 4, 2011. As well, the Bahamas National Trust Amendment Act was also passed and is now law,” said Environment Minister, Earl Deveaux.

“The Planning and Subdivision Act, in particular, will be the primary means whereby the built environment of The Bahamas will be ordered and regulated.”

The 2010 Planning and Subdivision Act, Forestry Act, and new amendments to the Bahamas National Trust Act established order to the chaos created by numerous unaddressed business infractions.

By strengthening the consequences for violating the zoning protocols, the Government expects to reverse the current trends that are lowering the standards in the inner city environment.

Earl Deveaux - Environment Minister

“Several regulations have been promulgated. The Department of Physical Planning regulations, the Town Planning Committee rules, the Planning and Subdivision Application requirements, Planning and Subdivision public notices, and the Subdivision Development Appeal Board rules,” said Dr. Deveaux.

Effective January 1, 2011, the Bahamas Government attempts to resolve constituent complaints by taking action within various public agencies to enforce the new laws in the densely populated residential areas of central New Providence.

“There are a lot of infractions, particularly with regard to unregulated business activities or encroachments in traditional neighbourhoods. For example, the Mario’s digital sign is an illegal sign and they have been given a notice to take it down within 14 days. There are a number of them on Shirley Street and Prince Charles Drive and things like that intrude on a neighbourhood and creep into a community if you don’t enforce them,” said Dr. Deveaux.

Homeowners occupying single-family homes must obtain proper business licensing and home renovation permits from Government in order to alter their homes for commercial purposes.

The business district in Palmdale emerged from a quiet residential neighbourhood. It has since developed into a commercial and warehouse zone for traditional Bahamian businesses. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

“If there is an obvious infraction of a zoning regulation, between the Department of Physical Planning, Environmental Health, and the Building Control Division, we will be able to determine exactly which agency is best capable of dealing with it”, said Dr. Deveaux.

“Say you have a garage creeping up or someone has converted a residence into a business that’s inappropriate for the area, the first process would be to identify it and issue a stop order and prosecute the person. We are trying to arm the departments to take these matters to the environmental court and prosecute them themselves.”

Bahamian residents have been unable to manage the high security and crime watch demands in their neighbourhoods, as unmonitored patterns of traffic moving through private subdivisions have invited opportunities for an increase of criminal activity.

Pyfrom Road, known as Bar 20 corner, is a perfect example of how a quiet residential area can be transformed over time into a business district, if residents disregard town planning and zoning laws that prohibit unregulated commercial activity in residential neighbourhoods. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

“The island of New Providence has been catalogued into 22 planning districts and the districts broken into zones to accommodate development. The major zones are residential, which has five subcategories, commercial, which has three subcategories, institutional, which has three subcategories, and industrial, also with three subcategories. As well as, agricultural and green space, which essentially accommodates the forests,” said Dr. Deveaux.

“We are here to highlight the various Acts, the regulations and to underscore their importance to our country’s continued growth and development. Together the Acts seek to protect the natural environment of The Bahamas and to set out the process of approval, licensing, permitting for development, and mitigation of impact. The Acts prescribed are a process of regulation, public notice, consultation, which are all important to community building and shared responsibility.”

Slide Show - The business activity is creating an inner city atmosphere in traditional residential neighbourhoods, attracting an intensity of high traffic throughout single-family home areas and exposing them to be victims of criminal activity (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

External cultural influences have compromised the traditional Bahamian shared values with the impact of cultural diversity. The Act addresses the regulation of roadside vendors from conducting business transactions without a proper permit.

“Roadside garages are increasingly evident. Small businesses, hairdressing businesses, printing businesses migrate into small convenience stores, and water sales. With the Business License Act that was recently passed and the Planning and Subdivisions Act, you’ll have two means of dealing with it. Anyone operating a business on the road will have to get a certificate from the landlord to show they have permission to operate a business from there,” said Dr. Deveaux.

Digital advertising billboards are creeping up in high traffic residential areas and are a violation of the 2010 Subdivisions and Planning Act. (BIS Photo / Gena Gibbs).

The new laws are the Government’s response to decrease the flow of high volume commercial traffic into these zoned subdivisions and resolve the overcrowding issue in central New Providence. Law enforcement of the new Act will reduce the intensity of land use and residual criminal activity that is emerging from residential areas transforming into business districts.

Bookmark and Share

© Copyright 2011 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

Receive our Top Stories

Preview | Powered by CommandBlast

Bahamas Information Services Updates
Latest Headlines
(Photos) Post-Joaquin Assessments in San Salvador & Rum Cay
NEMA Partners with Arawak Port Development Ltd. to receive Hurricane Relief Supplies
Ministry for GB / NEMA spearhead Hurricane Relief efforts on Grand Bahama
Bahamian airports now open in Spring Point, Acklins and Colonel Hill, and Crooked Island
Mitchell addresses UN Human Rights Council General Debate
Life-Changing CCELD15 Experience for Three Bahamian Women
Bahamas Airport Fee Exemptions - Hurricane Joaquin
Bahamasair: Travel to Long Island, Acklins, Crooked Island and San Salvador Changes Allowed
Junior Councilors - Future Nation Builders Recognized
Prime Minister Provides Update on Hurricane Relief Efforts
(Photos) Bahamas Gov't Officials Tour Islands Stricken by Hurricane Joaquin‏
Older Persons Month Kicks Off with International Older Persons Day
Family Island Airport Update: Duncan Town and Rum Cay airports open
San Salvador and Stellar Maris airports now open
Luncheon Held at Government House in Honour of H.E. Madam Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma‏
Bahamasair post-hurricane update
Update on Family Island airport openings in The Bahamas
Girl Guides Present First Set of Cookies to the Governor General for Start of 'Cookie Week'‏
Bahamas Government Monitors the Effects of Hurricane Joaquin
Minister Griffin Affirms Bahamas Commitment to Protecting Rights of the Disabled at UN
Message to Family Islands from Min. Hope Strachan
Bahamas Cabinet updates on October 2nd Businesses Closure
Bahamas Airport Closures: Friday, October 2
Fred Mitchell Delivers Address to UN General Assembly
Wife of Bahamas Prime Minister, Officially Names New Shipping Vessel in Japan
Bahamas to Facilitate Development of Age-Inclusive Environments for All Older Persons
HRH Princess Anne and Bahamas Governor General present 2015 GGYA Gold Awards
Farmer's Market in Freeport Being Refurbished‏
Hurricane preparedness for National Prescription Drug Plan beneficiaries
Prime Minister Christie to Address The Nation with NEMA at Press Briefing Today
DPM Visits New Fire Station in Freeport‏
Griffin Signs Protocol Ratifying U.N. Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Princess Anne welcomed to The Bahamas
Work Done to Strengthen Institutional Capacity of Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality
Kemp Road Community Meeting Gives Feedback‏
8 Mile Rock oil spill commentary by Bahamas Ministry of Transport & Aviation
Min. Fred Mitchell on the passing of Ken Perigord
More Bahamian Engineers Needed Says DPM Davis
Governor General Attends Installation of Senior Pastor of Remnant Tabernacle of Praise‏
Roberts: Chipman blasted for making a mockery of the PAC