Royal Gazette: Experts advice against parking lot at Southlands
Planning officials have urged the Minister of Home Affairs to reject a proposal to build parking and an events lawn on a portion of the Southlands National Park.
While the plans were rejected by the Development Applications Board last month, the Bermuda Housing Corporation has appealed the decision on the basis that the project was essential for the success of the neighbouring Bermudiana Beach Resort.
In response to the appeal, the department recommended that the DAB’s decision be upheld.
The director of the department said in a letter dated May 11 that the appellant had not provided any reason why the proposed development would be appropriate within a “high quality” woodland reserve.
She added: “The appellant is requesting that the minister give overarching weight to the claim that the proposed events lawn is pivotal to the success of the adjacent hotel which is currently under construction. However, no evidence to substantiate this claim has been provided.
“It must be noted that the approved hotel development includes a number of amenities including a restaurant, pool with deck area, event deck space and an elevator and stairs providing direct access to Southlands Beach, therefore the claim that an events lawn is also necessary for the success of the hotel is highly questionable.
“In any event, the department strongly disagrees that such a benefit for the hotel should be granted at the expense of a high-quality woodland.”
The director noted that while revised drawings had been submitted to clear up some issues with the application, the appellant had not responded to concerns about “significant inaccuracies” about the state of the existing woodland and that no assessment had been provided.
“Such an assessment should have been carried out prior to the submission of a planning application and informed the proposed design,” she said.