Questions relating to stop orders, construction monitoring, and inadequate sewerage disposal systems were put to Chief Physical Planning Officer of the Town and Country Planning Department, Gregory Adams when appeared before the Standing Finance Committee during the budget deliberations.
The question about the monitoring of construction projects was posed by Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly and Representative for the Fifth District, Hon. Delores Christopher who enquired whether it was a policy of the Department to follow-up, after an application had been approved, before a building was constructed or even to monitor it while it was being constructed.
Mr. Adams indicated that he had assigned one planner in the Department as monitoring officer, and mentioned that it was the duty of an applicant to notify the Authority when they were about to commence construction. He added that there was a monitoring record which stated the current stage of the development of each project.
Hon. Christopher also presented her concerns about improper septic tanks to Mr. Adams. She explained that there was a huge issue with buildings being constructed with inadequate sewerage systems, and asked whether his Department had investigated the problem.
The Chief Physical Planning Officer informed the Legislators that one of the standard conditions for approval was that when persons were about to construct the septic tank they were supposed to inform both Town and Country Planning Department and the Environmental Health Division so that they could monitor that aspect.
Leader of the Opposition and Representative for the Ninth District, Hon. Ralph T. O’Neal noted that a number of persons in The Valley, Virgin Gorda had land, but could not obtain permission to build their houses because they were informed that it would be interfering with the flight path at the Airport. Hon. O’Neal further mentioned that a stop order had been placed on areas such as Mine Hill, Windy Hill, part of Copper Mine area and Crab Hill.
In his response, Mr. Adams disclosed that the Department had been working closely with the BVI Airport Authority to address the issue. He added that meetings were held with property owners on Virgin Gorda in the middle of 2013 wherein they had identified several properties that were most affected by the Airport Regulations. He also stated that, in many cases they were able to find positive solutions for a number of plans before the Authority.