PROPOSED development plans of ‘The View at Love Beach’.
By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
THE View Love Beach development was initially rejected by the Town Planning Committee only to be later approved by an appeals board.
Luther Smith, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works with responsibility for Physical Planning, told Tribune Business that “the View Love Beach” project was approved in August, 2021, just a few weeks before the last general election.
Mr Smith also said the Town Planning Committee at the time – which was then headed by the current Free National Movement (FNM) Member of Parliament for St Anne’s, Adrian White – rejected the project. However, the project was later approved through the Town Planning Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (TPSDAC), which we were told had no chairman at the time of the approval in late August, 2021.
Mr Smith said: When the TPSDAC approved the project to proceed, letters went out to all of the community informing them of the board’s decision to allow the project to proceed. So persons in the community should have been aware of the decision made by the board.”
The composition of the original TPSDAC consisted of Pericles Maillis as chairman, who resigned for unknown reasons earlier in 2021, along with Claire Hepburn, former Attorney General and Senator under the FNM government in 2007-2008 as well as a retired supreme court justice, Patrick Rahming, Lloyd Turnquest, Stephen Melvin, and Casuarina McKinney-Lambert.
Ms McKinney-Lambert told Tribune Business that she “wasn’t there at the meeting when that matter came up” on the approval for The View Love Beach and said it must have been approved without the board’s knowledge or input.
When confronted with the fact that at the time of the approval, the board’s chairman Mr Maillis had already resigned, Ms McKinney-Lambert added: “The board hasn’t been meeting for a while, but I definitely didn’t see it.”
Tribune Business is not aware of anyone who was acting as chairman of the committee after Mr Maillis was said to have resigned.
Mr Smith also said: “Those boards have all now been dissolved after the last general elections and a new board has not been appointed yet. But at that time there would have been a board, which was appointed by the previous government at that time, but this is now a new government which will have a new TPSDC.”
Some of the concerns about The View Love Beach were addressed, however, by the TPSDAC, one of them was whether or not the project would have a hotel component to it. Mr Smith said: “I don’t think it calls for a hotel at all. Basically it will be residential accommodations, apartments and multi-family residential accommodations.
“I do know this was reviewed and approved by the TPSDAC. As said, the Town Planning Committee had refused it, but it was subsequently approved on appeal to the TPSDAC.
“With respect to the height restrictions, residents would want to know the question of restrictive covenants was extinguished and so there are no restrictive covenants regarding heights.”
Essentially this means the development can go higher than the allocated 55 feet in the air. “The project is going to proceed,” said Mr Smith.
Dr Mirko Kovats, the Austrian born billionaire and Lyford Cay resident is behind the project which had drawn opposition from the Love Beach community. Dr Kovats’ office has been trying hard to dampen any unease about the project.
Dr Kovats’s office representative, Dr Wolfgang Groeger, contacted this newspaper to ask Tribune Business: “What is controversial about investing $150m on our land in an approved investment?” Questioning such projects, he claimed, were “damaging The Bahamas’ reputation as a location for urgently needed FDI.”