By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
LOVE Beach residents have voiced strong opposition to a proposed resort-based development, arguing it will violate zoning restrictions, destroy the beach and disrupt the community’s peace.
Dozens attended a public Town Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday night to object to ‘The View Love Beach’ project, which is being being proposed by an entity called Mylor Caribbean Development, and urge its rejection. Mylor Caribbean Development’s beneficial owners were not formally identified, although residents suggested that controversial Austrian financier, Dr Mirko Kovats, was behind the project.
Dr Kovats, a Bahamas resident who owns a home at Lyford Cay, was behind a 2014 bid to acquire the still-closed 363-acre South Ocean resort in southwestern New Providence - a proposal that was revealed by Tribune Business. However, no deal was sealed with the property’s owner.
According to its website, Mylor is an “investment vehicle” created in Hong Kong SAR (China) in 2005, and financed by multiple investors specialised in real estate development. That company, which purports to be a retirement housing development entity, “created Mylor Caribbean Development Ltd to identify perfect properties for its clients and investors”.
“We are currently exploring several acquisitions in The Bahamas and in the Turks & Caicos. Our intention is to offer to our clients a very unique one-stop service, where our operation will provide package-acquisition, inclusive of residency permit, and with all facilities to make our clients and investors’ retirement one of their happiest time ever,” its website said.
Its plans, which are currently under review by the Department of Physical Planning, call for a resort development on 7.44 acres of property in the Love Beach Subdivision. It is eyeing a four-storey, 40-room hotel; four storey restaurant facility with bar/lounge; two four-storey timeshare buildings; ten over-water bungalows; and three single-storey service buildings.
Jason Lorandos, principal of the Architekton Design Studio, the project’s architect, told attendees that the hotel component had been scrapped. He said that based on the concerns expressed by residents there could likely be a following-up meeting with an updated proposal.
Residents argued that the properties on which the developer proposes to build are zoned for multi-family residential development only, not commercial development. They added that restrictive covenants prohibit the construction of any building 28 feet in height above ground level.
One resident said: “I highly opposed this project. My wife and I applied to Town Planning for a particular house and were rejected. We applied for a three-storey house and got two-and-a-half. If you reject me why would you approve them? Is it because they have more money than me? That wouldn’t be right.”
Erica Ferriera, an attorney representing another Love Beach resident, told the Town Planning Committee: “It’s in a residential community that would have to be re-zoned to accommodate this development. We have a restaurant and bar that would change the character of the neighbourhood as it stands now. Persons would have to consider noise.
“You have restaurant and there would be concerns about rodents, pollution and things like that. My client strongly objects to a restaurant and bar operating on the premises. I believe that parking woes will be created as a result; more drunk driving, disrespectful behaviour and noise pollution. We say no the proposal for a restaurant and bar and any application that may come from any re-zoning from multi-family resident to commercial.”
Another resident argued that by going forward with what the developer proposes the very features that make Love Beach what it is would be destroyed.
And members of the Ageeb family have already written to the Department of Physical Planning in opposition of the development. A February 13, 2019, letter by Dr Gloria Ageeb to Charles Zonicle, acting director of physical planning, said: “A development of the nature proposed is not only in violation of the zoning regulations, as the subject lots are multi-family and not commercial, but will destroy the peaceful ambiance currently enjoyed by the residents and property owners of Love Beach.”