Royal Gazette: Do the right thing and refuse hotel SDO Roban advised
The Minister of Home Affairs is being urged to follow the planning board’s recommendation and turn down a special development order for the Fairmont Southampton.
While Westend Properties sought an SDO to pave the way for up to 250 units at the hotel, the Development Applications Board agreed with the Department of Planning that the proposal was in direct conflict with the goals of the Bermuda Plan 2018.
Karen Border, the executive director of the Bermuda National Trust, said that the charity was “delighted” by the decision of the DAB as it echoed the concerns it had previously raised.
“Their conclusion that the SDO is not in the national interest is exactly what BNT, other environmental organisations, hundreds of individual objectors and the thousands who signed the petition have been saying for months,” Ms Border said.
“This is an opportunity for Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, to show that he has listened not only to public protest but more particularly to Government’s own technical officers and the independent board that is in place to provide him with expert advice and guidance.
“We call on him to do the right thing and refuse this SDO for the sustainability of our island and in the long-term interest of all Bermudians.”
Westend Properties, an affiliate of the Miami-based investment firm Gencom, had originally sought approval for up to 261 units in buildings of two to six storeys at the Fairmont Southampton, where the 593-room hotel has been shuttered since 2020.
However, that proposal was criticised by residents and campaign groups amid fears about the impact on the landscape and environment.
In July, a revised request proposed a reduction by 11 in the overall number of units and none to be higher than four storeys.