A Guide to Development

Some Facts About The Development Of Lands
Development is the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under the land or the making of any material change of use of any building or land. The National Environment & Planning Agency in conjunction with the Municipal Corporation regulates the types of development to be carried out in the island.

The principal pieces of legislation used to assess development applications are the Parish Councils’ Building Act, Town & Country Planning Act, Town & Country Planning (Development Orders) and the Local Improvements Act.

Another important document used is the Development & Investment Manual, 2007.

Before any money is spent acquiring land for development or on preparing plans and drawings, you need to seek professional guidance in respect of the zoning regulations relating to the specified area where the development is proposed.

No permission or consent will be given to develop land when the proposed land use will not be to the advantage of the district in which it is to be located or in contravention of the Restrictive Covenant that is placed on the title.

No development will be permitted in any area if such development is contrary to the current development policy of the government or zoning regulations.

The developer or his agent should consult with the Local Planning Authority (Municipal Corporation) before starting on any detailed design work.

You can submit an Enquiry or Outline Application to the Municipal Corporation. The Municipal Corporation will guide you on how to submit this or a detailed application.

The Local Planning Authority for St. Ann is the St. Ann Municipal Corporation.
Where an area falls between two parishes, the Local Planning Authority is the agency or body appointed by the Minister to assess these applications. One such example is Negril which falls between Hanover and Westmoreland which is overseen by the Negril Green Island Area Local Planning Authority.

Under the Town & Country Planning Act, any material change of use of any building or land requires planning permission. For example, if you have a house and want to change it to a commercial building (such as a villa, bed & breakfast, shop or plaza) you need to submit plans to the Municipal Corporation.

All applications for development must be submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authorities before construction commences.

No application must be submitted directly to the National Environment & Planning Agency (NEPA) unless it is an application for environmental permit or under the Beach Control Act.

If an applicant is aggrieved by the decision handed down by the Local Planning Authority, s/he can appeal to the Minister within twenty-eight (28) days of receipt of the letter.

Development Orders
The Town & Country Planning Act, 1957 (as amended) empowers the Town & Country Planning Authority to prepare, in conjunction with the Local Planning Authority, legal documents called Development Orders for specific areas across Jamaica or for the entire island.

The aim of these documents is to regulate and control the use of land; ensuring that land is not mis-used but is complementary rather than conflicting.

Development Orders were first prepared for sensitive areas extending along the coast of parishes then they were done for entire parishes which had an intense development thrust happening.

The Development Order for St. Ann covers the entire parish and was confirmed in 1999 — it is the newest Development Order in the country. It is called The Town & Country Planning (St. Ann Parish Confirmed) Development Order, 1999.

Functions Of Development Orders

  • Specify the specific areas to which they relate.
  • Give directions as to how one may obtain planning permission for development within the areas to which the Orders apply.
  • Include a development plan showing a proposed land-use strategy for special areas such as parish capitals, scenic areas, road side parks etc.
  • Restrict development to those areas where major services either exist or are planned to be implemented