Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has said he plans to have discussions to revisit a physical zoning strategy that had been created for businesses before events such as the 2017 hurricanes interrupted its implementation.
Zoning refers to a policy that organises how land may be used. Speaking at a press conference last Friday, Dr Wheatley noted that he would like to have Chief Planner Gregory Adams host public discussions on the subject.
“Before I was in this position, I remember there was this kind of physical planning plan—not just the Act (legislation), but they had a plan that they were developing for the physical environment and that is something I think we must return to,” the Premier said.
He noted that businesses setting up shop in locations deemed inappropriate for that business or in locations detrimental to the environment was all part of the plan.
Among other things, he said the plan proposed having the government liaison with businesses to advise them where best to operate.
“Those types of matters would have been included in that plan. It may have been a plan or a strategy. But all those factors are included. It included public consultation. Actually, they were having meetings, they were on the radio, and I think it is something we have to return to,” Dr Wheatley said.
During a sitting of the House of Assembly last week, Territorial At-Large Representative Neville ‘Sheep’ Smith expressed concerns regarding what he described as poor zoning laws in the Virgin Islands
Smith noted that many businesses were being set up in the wrong place and this was an issue with optics. He suggested that the Town and Country Planning Department may have to become associated with the now-passed Business Licensing Act in order to effect proper change.