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Best concern amid claims of misuse of land

An appeal to residents: parcel #20675, 6 Tribe Road No 6, Warwick, is zoned residential 2 with agricultural reserve and woodland reserve, is one of the areas where the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce claims industrial activity is taking place on land zoned for other uses (Photograph by Best)

Industrial activity being carried out on land that is not zoned for that use is happening more frequently that you might imagine.

Bermuda is a very small place having to accommodate the needs of some 60,000 residents and more than 500,000 visitors annually. To help create a pleasant and harmonious mixed-use environment, a variety of land use zonings are laid out in the current Bermuda Plan 2018, including areas for residential, agriculture, tourism, conservation and commercial areas as well as about 280 acres of land zoned as industrial.

Industrial-type activities such as warehousing, repair works, rock-crushing, sand-sifting, stockpiling, dumping or parking of heavy equipment are restricted to industrial areas due to concerns about the compatibility of industrial activities with people’s enjoyment of their homes or the compatibility with areas that have protected status.

I am writing with concern about what appears to be an increasing practice in Bermuda, where industrial-type activities are being carried out on land that is zoned as residential, or on land with protected status, such as agricultural reserve, open space reserve and woodland reserve.

It has been brought to our attention that there are currently a number of large sites where inappropriate or nonconforming industrial-type activities are being carried out.

The following are just the sites that we have been made aware of recently:

1. Off Luke’s Point Drive in Southampton, on parcel #44142 which is zoned Residential 1 with one third of the site being open space reserve with agricultural reserve. This land is within Constituency 32 Southampton West, under government MP Scott Simmons.

2. Off Barry Lane in St George’s, on parcel #42145 which is zoned open space reserve and agricultural reserve. This site is within Constituency 1 St George’s North, under Government MP Renée Ming.

3. At 6 Tribe Road No 6 in Warwick, on parcel #20675 which is zoned residential 2 with agricultural reserve and woodland reserve. This site is within Constituency 27 Warwick North Central, under the Minister for Public Works, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch.

4. Off Tribe Road No 2 in Warwick (south of Ord Road), on parcel #21107 which is zoned residential 1. This site is within Constituency 24 Warwick South East, under government MP Lawrence Scott.

5. While not yet on the same scale as the previous four examples, on a site just east of Ardsheal Drive off South Road in Paget which is zoned residential 2 where heavy equipment is being parked/stored. This site is within Constituency 22 Paget East, under Opposition MP, Scott Pearman.

It seems obvious to us that industrial-type activities should only be permitted within areas zoned as industrial, and certainly not be carried out in residential areas or in areas with important ecological zonings.

This inappropriate activity is going on as we speak, despite complaints and communications sent to the enforcement section of the planning department.

These activities are potentially injurious to the health and wellbeing of the nearby residents and these industrial activities are likely diminishing the residents’ quality of life and reducing their property values, not to mention increasing the regular maintenance costs of their properties. It is very possible, we imagine, that homeowners could consider legal actions as a result of the damages they are faced with.

This nonconforming activity directly contradicts the development and planning policies and regulations. If allowed to continue unchecked, it will likely be used to claim ‘existing use rights’ status and potentially become grandfathered-in unless the practices are stopped.

We are appealing to residents in any other area around Bermuda where industrial-type activity is occurring, where it shouldn’t be, to contact us by e-mail office@best.org.bm so that we can make sure to document as many instances of this practice as possible. You can also submit a complaint to the Department of Planning and contact your local government representative to officially register your concern.

• Kim Smith is the Executive Director of the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce

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Published April 09, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 09, 2024 at 7:47 am)

Best concern amid claims of misuse of land

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