November 6, 2015
Developers who invest in housing projects in communities that are in need of regeneration stand to benefit from government incentives through new Development Orders being drafted for Kingston and St. Andrew.
Leonard Francis, Director of Spatial Planning Division at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) said through the Development Order process NEPA is creating policies that encourage redevelopment in these areas by permitting increased densities.
Mr. Francis said that requirements for facilities such as parking and recreational green spaces may also be relaxed for housing developments in areas where such infrastructure already exists in close proximity and is accessible to the public.
He added that special concessions are being made for developers who engage in mixed income and mixed use developments.
"Other incentives included in the Development Orders are allowances for smaller lot sizes and narrower set-backs. This means that developers will be able to maximize the use of the land and ultimately provide more affordable housing solutions for low to middle income Jamaicans," explained Francis.
According to NEPA's Director, Downtown, Kingston in particular has been earmarked in the draft Development Order for Kingston and St. Andrew as one of the areas that will benefit from the relaxed planning policies.
These and other matters related to the renewal of the island's urban centres will be the focus of World Town Planning Day 2015.
The internationally celebrated Calendar Day will be observed on November 8 under the theme "Housing regeneration, strengthening communities".
Jamaica will mark the special day with a church service at the Kingston Parish Church on November 8 and an exhibition and panel discussion on November 9 at NHT's Overtime facility in New Kingston. Dr. Morais Guy, Minister with responsibility for housing will be the guest speaker.
Mr. Francis said the activities are aimed at continuing the conversation among the government, private sector and civilians on how Jamaica can achieve renewal in communities that are in dire need of regeneration.
Endorsing the activities, one of the partners of World Town Planning Day, Stephen Facey, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust said his organization supports the mission of the National Environment and Planning Agency.
"World Town Planning Day on the local level, can provide a catalyst for the renaissance of the city of Kingston, igniting sustainable development in areas that have become blighted over time. This will lead to better living conditions and better jobs for all Jamaicans," he said.
Meanwhile, Aisha Campbell, General Manager at West Indies Home Contractors (WIHCON) Development, another partner said her organization was pleased to be partnering with NEPA and other stakeholders to celebrate World Town Planning Day 2015.
"WIHCON has been developing communities in Jamaica for over 50 years and the company recognizes the critical role of planning professionals and the local planning authorities in helping to create communities that offer better choices for where and how people live. We look forward to our continued collaboration to ensure that through proper and innovative planning we can improve the welfare of Jamaicans by creating more convenient, sustainable, efficient and attractive communities," she said.