On Friday, July 31st the House of Parliament unanimously approved the proposal for the reinstatement of article 28a of the National Ordinance Spatial Development Plan presented by the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure, Mr. Egbert Doran.
Minister Doran presented the proposal for the reinstatement of article 28a of the National Ordinance Spatial Development Plan to Parliament. The main purpose of the aforementioned National Ordinance is to allow the Government to establish development plans, commonly referred to as zoning plans, to better manage and guide the spatial development of the Country.
In 1993, the Ordinance was established as the Island Ordinance on Spatial Development Planning (A.B 1993, no. 13) and has since been reformed into a National Ordinance of Country Sint Maarten (AB 2013 GT no. 144). The National Ordinance formerly included provisions, which required Government’s approval for private subdivision plans, that are referred to as Planning Permits, as well as provisions for the Government to approve reputed “civil works permits” (Dutch: aanlegvergunning), for various types of civil works. In 2012, the aforementioned provisions expired.
This proposal for the reinstatement of article 28a has been pending for a period of time. The initial advice to propose the reinstatement dates back to the year 2013. In January 2016, the proposal had been submitted to the Parliament. Based on discussions held in the Central Committee meeting, Members of Parliament required clearer guidelines concerning the manner in which the provisions would be applied. The Government made an amendment to the original proposal to stipulate that the requirement to obtain a civil works permit will be concerning profound or major works.
This new proposal presented by Minister Doran is aimed at the reinstatement of the requirements for a civil works permit, which will allow the Minister to review the planned works prior to approval. This will ensure that the works will not cause undesirable and irreversible damage to the environment and are executed with concern to the environment. The intention of the reinstatement is not to obstruct any developments. Therefore, persons will require prior approval by the Minister for the following works and projects:
- The excavation, raising, leveling or explosion of the ground;
- The construction of road and other pavements;
- Works and projects that impact the water management and the ground water level;
- The clearing of trees or other cultivation;
- The demolition of structures;
- The filling of water.
A proposed amendment was presented by Members of Parliament R. Peterson, M. Gumbs and R. Brison and was approved by Parliament.
After much deliberations, the Members of Parliament unanimously approved the reinstatement of article 28a with 14 votes in favor.
In his closing statements, Minister Doran expressed his appreciation and thanked the Honorable Members of Parliament for supporting the Ordinance unanimously as well as thanking the persons who have worked on the reinstatement of the article since 2016 and the Department of Policy at the Ministry of VROMI.