June 28, 2017

KSAMC seeks to enforce building laws, get buy-in with new developments

Delroy Williams

The Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is seeking to increase the enforcement of laws as well as community engagement in the construction of new developments in the Corporate Area, in order to have builders adhere to proper standards.

The decision was made last Wednesday in a meeting hastily convened by Kingston Mayor, Delroy Williams, which involved key members of the KSAMC’s engineering department and political representatives from the Corporate Area.

Williams arranged the meeting following several concerns raised by residents regarding housing and other real estate developments as a result of the infrastructural damage across the capital city because of the weeklong rainfall that the island encountered.

According to the mayor, the KSAMC will establish a short-term review panel to deal specifically with multi-family developments that generally raise concerns among residents.

The move is to ensure that residents are made aware of the developments before approvals are granted, which should provide them with the opportunity to discuss their concerns as part of the KSAMC’s decision-making process.

The ‘Intend to Build’ notice is required under the Building Act, and failure to post the notice can render any approval null and void.

“We all have a role to play and I hereby urge all developers to act responsibly. One way in doing so is by posting the relevant notices to raise awareness, so that residents are given ample time to voice their concerns.

“The corporation will be embarking on a series of meetings with residents across the municipality concerning developments, whereby we will take feedback from them, discuss concerns and inform them about the various laws that govern building and town planning as we continue serving our citizens through participation and promoting public awareness,” said Williams.

A requirement for future development will be community surveys as a feature of the application and approval process. These will be for developments that are not in keeping with the character of the communities where the construction is to take place.

According to Williams, to encourage greater citizens’ participation in the process, applications will be posted on the KSAMC’s newly-developed website.

He said the corporation has ramped up monitoring and enforcement capabilities which involve building officers working on weekends to ensure compliance with the conditions of approval.

Williams said there is to be no construction work on Sundays and public holidays.

He appealed to stakeholders in the construction industry to adhere to all the conditions in the approvals, which include noise abatement, dust control and solid waste management.

“A very important part of the condition is that if you breach any aspect, it renders the building application null and void, as is stated in the condition itself,” he said.

Williams also committed to continuing discussions with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), engaging developers in underscoring the concerns of residents, and directly informing residents through the citizens' associations and the corporation’s public information platforms


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