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Minister overrules Planning inspector

The Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce (BEST) may seek a judicial review over plans to build an orphanage in Warwick.

The plans had been rejected by the Development Applications Board and an inspector allso recommended an appeal be refused.

But Planning Minister Marc Bean chose to uphold the appeal, saying the project was in the national interest and issues of concern could be remedied before final planning approval was granted.

The application stated that the three-story building on rural-zoned land on Spice Hill Road would be used as an orphanage, a children's home or a seniors home.

A spokesman for BEST said the application both lacked necessary information and greatly exceeded size limitations for projects aimed at rural areas.

The organisation also criticised the vagueness of the application, saying: “It would appear the applicants have no clear idea what they want to use the building for, as long as they can get approval to build.

“The Minister claims any of these uses rise to the level of “national interest”. We contend that a) none of these uses merit overthrowing the rules governing development on scarce rural-zoned land — especially when there are “brownfield” sites suitable for redevelopment; and b) the closure of the Sunshine League was not deemed a “national interest” issue.

“The Minister claims any of these uses rise to the level of ‘national interest’. We contend that none of these uses merit overthrowing the rules governing development on scarce rural-zoned land — especially when there are ‘brownfield’ sites suitable for redevelopment; and the closure of the Sunshine League was not deemed a ‘national interest’ issue.”

The organisation further criticised the decision because of retroactive planning permission requests included in the application for storage sheds that are already on the site.

“By allowing the appeal, the Minister is not only rewarding non-compliance, he is also in effect condoning the breaking of the rules.

“This cannot be in the National Interest. Further, the Minister has overturned extensive reasoning by the Department of Planning, the Development Applications Board and the Independent Inspector, all of whom argued that the appeal should be denied.

“BEST will be further reviewing the file and is exploring avenues for challenging this decision in the public interest. We have not ruled out invoking a Judicial Review.”

Planning Minister Marc Bean

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Published December 10, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated December 10, 2012 at 12:30 am)

Minister overrules Planning inspector

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