Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Norbrook under siege by apartment developers

Published:Wednesday | October 28, 2020 | 12:18 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I write this seeking the urgent intervention of Prime Minister Andrew Holness. A recent high-rise apartment development on Norbrook Drive, St Andrew, is of significant concern to residents. It sets a very poor precedent for what could come – more high-rise apartments in an already overly saturated market.

Each day I traverse on Norbrook Drive, or when I walk the Constant Spring Golf Course, I observe changes and additions being made to the development in question. So I ask: where is the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC)?

Over the last few months, an additional storey or two has been added, at what seems like a whim. In fact, there’s a recent addition of a balcony overlooking all, above the fourth floor, which seems to host photo shoots daily.

In the early stages of this development, some residents enquired about the approvals. There was no approval or permit to allow for four storeys. Imagine my surprise when one recently queried at the KSAMC, and there was suddenly an addendum approving an enclosure on the fourth floor.

It’s an absolute disgrace and speaks volumes about the leadership at the KSAMC, given mounting complaints by hard-working and decent residents across several communities in the city of Kingston, many of whom are fearful of going public owing to the questionable background of some of these developers. NEPA is also in need of a shake-up, starting from the top.

WHAT OF THE INFRASTRUCTURE?

With the increased density on these lots, and taller buildings, what infrastructure do we have to support them? There’s more pressure on water, sewage, traffic; and God forbid if there is a fire, how do the local authorities access the building? Climate change is also a grave concern, and it seems every single over-50-year-old tree was removed.

I hereby call on PM Holness to insist that proper planning and zoning be put in place to restore some semblance of order to the city. I also call on him to review and reform NEPA and the KSAMC, whose leadership appears to rubber-stamp everything. I would also appreciate it if members of parliament Karl Samuda and Delroy Chuck could lend a voice to these issues.

I urge the residents of Norbrook and other communities under siege to speak up.

CONCERNED RESIDENT