Our Readers' Opinions
April 7, 2017
Does zoning really exist in St Vincent and the Grenadines?

EDITOR: Permit me to ask some questions about zoning regulations, and their implications in St Vincent. The Government says that they exist, but also implies they are not enforced. When people in a residential community of teachers, police department employees, wage earners and taxpaying returnees complained about their roads not being maintained, the Government responded that the land developer was obliged, under the conditions of his permission to build, to put in a serviceable road, which he did not comply with. There are residential developments that have been constructed in the areas of garbage dumps, automobile graveyards, and waste sites. 

   Acknowledging that this is a third world country (as our Prime Minister keeps reminding us), we still seem to have stumbling aspirations to move toward something better (a billion dollar first world airport?).  Zoning codes can always be changed, but that means assisting those negatively affected.  If an area was zoned industrial, or more likely not zoned at all and residential housing has now been permitted, the non-residential activities (dumps, etc) affected must be forced to, and helped to, relocate. 

   All this presupposes that zoning exists. That there are residential zoned areas, agriculturally zoned areas, business zoned areas, industrial zoned areas, and that these are defined and enforced. Enforced is the key word. If a residential developer does not conform to the requirements of his permit (he DOES HAVE a permit, right?), should not the Government take legal action? If an area, formerly agricultural, is rezoned for resort development, what assistance is the Government obliged to provide to the evicted? How long is a junk yard permitted to exist in a neighbourhood of taxpaying wage earners, not squatters, but professionals and returnees who have, perhaps unwisely, come to believe that this country is really interested in moving into the 21st century? 

The Government sees it easy enough to find the money, means, and legal justification to take action against, or shut down, some businesses, so why not similarly engage zoning regulation violators? Or are there none? Or are they all “yours”?