Plan guiding Bermuda’s development tabled
A new plan guiding “the development of Bermuda for many years to come” was tabled on Friday in the House of Assembly.
Tabling The Bermuda Plan 2018 Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, told MPs: “It is the product of consultation with the public, key stakeholders, statutory bodies and extensive research.
“The overarching aim of the plan is ʽto effectively manage Bermuda’s natural and built environment, resources and development and to help build healthy, sustainable communities’.”
In order to achieve this aim, the plan is based on three interrelated strategies – a Conservation Strategy, a Development Strategy and a Community Strategy.
The 228-page plan aims to encourage “suitable development on appropriate sites” and help the Development Applications Board make decisions on planning applications.
It was first released in draft form and was subject to public consultation from December 2018 to March 2019, receiving 457 objections and counter objections.
Mr Roban said: “The most common zoning objections involved landowners wanting to remove Agricultural Reserve and Woodland Reserve Conservation Areas from their property.
“This has been a common theme with objections to previous Draft Bermuda Plans, and reflects landowners wanting greater development potential for their properties.”
Mr Roban said the department dealt with 232 valid objections, with 52 per cent of them resolved between technical officers and objectors.
The remaining 48 per cent of unresolved objections were heard by a tribunal starting in February 2020.
In-person hearings went on hold because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, but went ahead virtually instead, with 16 meetings held and closing last December.
The draft plan with the tribunal’s recommendations went before Mr Roban for review and was “finalised to reflect the resolutions for each objection and representation”.
Mr Roban added: “The Bermuda Plan 2018 Planning Statement and digital zoning maps reflect the final resolutions for amendments to the Draft Bermuda Plan 2018.
“We will discuss further the resolutions in a more fulsome debate on June 4.”
The Plan covers the entire island except the City of Hamilton Plan.
It’s accompanied by The Review and Strategy Report 2018 which outlines key trends in population, housing and development over the last ten to fifteen years.
It uses data from the 2016 and 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing, planning application records and other internal government research and data sets.
The plan comprises ten sections including strategy, policy and implementation.
Within the ten sections are 36 chapters including those covering different categories of development from residential, commercial and industrial to rural, green spaces and landscaping, and coastal reserves.
It speaks to Bermuda’s vulnerability to climate change which a previous plan in 2008 addressed through the creation of a Coastal Reserve Zone and coastal development policies.
It said: “This plan, however, puts a greater emphasis on the need to encourage local food production, incorporate green infrastructure, improve the walkability of neighbourhoods and build community understanding and resilience to the local impacts of climate change.”
The plan also includes a policy document, zoning maps and the Tribunal Report.
⋅ To read the minister’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.