Beach Bay residents caught off guard by hotel planning application

Lindsay Parr, standing, speaks at a community meeting about a proposed hotel in the Beach Bay area. - Photo: Ken Silva

After years of planning, a proposal for a $200 million, 10-storey hotel in Bodden Town has been submitted to the Central Planning Authority and will be heard in an upcoming meeting.

However, multiple residents near the project site in the Beach Bay area said they have not received any notice that a planning application was submitted.

Because they apparently did not know about the project application being submitted, those residents are at risk of missing the deadline to file objections to the hotel, which is being proposed by Beach Bay Land Ltd.

Planning officials told the Compass Friday that two deadlines were nearing – one at midnight on Monday, 27 May, for property/land owners within 300 feet of the development who had directly received notices of the application, and another, at midnight on 4 June, in response to newspaper advertisements, for property/land owners within 1,000 feet of the site.*

Dozens of the residents showed up to a community meeting at Savannah Primary School on Wednesday night to air their concerns about the proposal, and to vent frustrations that the Planning Authority has not informed them that their neighbourhood could be dramatically transformed.

“Is there anyone here who hasn’t received a notification?” resident Lindsay Parr asked at the beginning of the meeting. The majority of the people in attendance raised their hands in response.

Parr said the only reason most of the community found out about the planning application is because they have a neighbourhood watch group, and someone in the group notified the rest about the project.

Planning Director Haroon Pandohie was at the community meeting to answer the residents’ questions. He said when Beach Bay Land Ltd. submitted its application, it had to publish two notices in the newspaper and notify anyone within 300 feet of its site.

Multiple residents questioned why the notices were only distributed in a 300-foot radius when the project is so massive.

Pandohie said the developer has followed all the proper planning procedures so far.

Residents asked Pandohie if he had brought plans for the hotel to the meeting, to which the planning director answered he had not.

“Why on Earth would you not bring copies of the plans for us to see?” asked a resident.

Pandohie was also hesitant to describe the project, insisting that people should go to the Government Administration Building and see for themselves.

Bodden Town MLA Chris Saunders told the residents he would ask the developer if they would be willing to have the application hearing postponed until residents have the chance to view the plans.

Even though Beach Bay Land Ltd. does not legally have to postpone the application hearing, Saunders said the developer has been reasonable and respectful in how it has gone about its plans so far. He said he expects the developer will do the neighbourly thing and give residents a chance to see how their properties might be impacted by the project.

The developer has also promised to hold a community meeting in the future to explain the plans, he said. A date for that meeting has not been scheduled.

Anyone curious about the project can go to the Government Administration Building and view the plans. Objections to the plan may be filed at [email protected]

*This story has been modified from the original to add information relating to the deadlines for objections.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.