Other Freeport development permits not affected by NEPA Dreams hotel review
Development projects already approved by the National Environment and Planning Agency, NEPA, will not be affected by the more than two month-long review which the environmental regulator has just completed for the the Dream hotel planned for...
Development projects already approved by the National Environment and Planning Agency, NEPA, will not be affected by the more than two month-long review which the environmental regulator has just completed for the the Dream hotel planned for Montego Freeport.
In an online meeting with residents and other stakeholders of the upscale neighbourhood that is also home to several hotels, NEPA said the agency’s review of its recommendation and the earlier position taken by Natural Resources Conservation Authority and the Town and Country Planning Authority that the SKIL application be approved, was particularly related to the issue of prescriptive rights to beach access.
The state agency’s extensive consultations and facilitation of the airing of the residents’ concerns had ventured into issues such as road, water and sewerage infrastructure capacity, law and order, and soliciting comments from other government agencies on those concerns, areas that NEPA went beyond in its statutory role.
But the extensive consultations, NEPA CEO Peter Knight added, were done in the interest of transparency and good governance.
Knight’s comment suggests that if similar concerns are raised at future stages of those developments already approved, the objections would not trigger a similar review of the environmental and planning approvals already granted.
In a June 1 meeting with residents, some of whom have opposed the planned construction of the 281-room Dreams resort, which SKIL is adding to its Montego Freeport complex that already incorporates the 700-room Secrets and 150-suite Breathless hotels in the area, NEPA disclosed that that it had already given approval for several other major construction projects on the peninsula.
These include a 14-storey mixed hotel, residences and shops development called Baywest by investment conglomerate PanJam; and an 11-storey expansion of the Sunset Beach Resort, owned by the Hendrickson family and run by husband and wife Ian Kerr and Cathy Hendrickson-Kerr. That approval is believed to be for the long announced construction of a third tower and about 160 additional rooms on the almost 30-acre property.
Approvals had also been granted by NEPA for the 10-storey Soleil Residences by Sharkfin Development, owned by businessman Brian Jardim and for which construction has already been completed; a 12-storey residential complex to be built by real estate company Winfra Development Consortium, which is owned by businessman Dr Guna Muppuri; and several single family homes being developed on 17 acres by Pristine Harbour Development, a company whose chairman and main shareholders is businessman Andy Daswani.
Developments plans are yet to be announced by other owners of significant landholdings in Freeport, including Gorstew Limited which is headed by Adam Stewart.
“Planning approval goes with the land. If there is a development that was earlier approved by the NRCA and TCPA, that planning approval stands. Those approvals stand once the statutory requirements are still in effect,” Knight said during the meeting in response to questions posed by the Financial Gleaner.
He added, however, that the approvals would lapse if the developments approved do not commence within five years.
“An environmental permit lasts for five years. So, if the development does not commence within the life of the permit, then there is no environmental permit, which means that the applicant would have to reapply. It is a decision that the NRCA and the TCPA would have to make whether this would require a full blown application. That’s all things being equal. If there are proposed changes to the development, then it is a new application,” Knight explained.