Riddell's Bay Members Committee
Started 2 petitions
Riddell's Bay Planning Application - Objection Petition
Acting Director of Planning Department of Planning- Government of BermudaDame Lois Browne-Evans Building, 5th Floor58 Court StreetHamilton HM12, Bermuda Planning Reference: S0020/19 Dear Acting Director, Over 1800 people have signed the petition to Preserve Bermuda Recreational Property on Change.org: https://www.change.org/p/bermuda-department-of-planning-preserve-bermuda-recreational-land-petition The signers of this petition are objecting to the application to add 19 lots (22 lots in total), 2 right of ways, along with the adjustments stated on the attached notice sign and in the planning application. On March 13th, the applicant, Castile Holdings Ltd., objected to the Draft Bermuda Plan, (2018), to change the zoning of 59.44 acres of protected recreation properties. This objection has not been accepted and therefore the majority of the property in this application is currently zoned recreation. In accordance with the applicants “Master Plan”, 20.87 acres of this property would be rezoned from Recreation to Residential 2. The signers of this petition agree: This application and the proposed Master Plan for the former Riddell’s Bay Golf Course violate the Development and Planning Act, 1974 (“the Act”) and would set a bad precedent for recreation and other protected zoning. Bermuda needs to protect our limited green open space and should not allow additional residential building since the local population is declining. We are objecting based on following factors: 1) The application does not comply with the zoning of the land. The application violates Development and Planning Act, 1974, the Bermuda Plan (2008) and Draft Bermuda Plan (2018), since the proposed new 19 Residential 2 lots in the applicant’s Master Plan are located on protected recreational property. 2) The application is based on the acceptance of the applicant’s objection to the Draft Bermuda Plan (2018) and without this acceptance there is no reason to subdivide the property. 3) Loss of open space/recreation land. The proposed change of zoning of 59.44 acres of protected recreation properties in the applicant’s Master Plan violates the objective of the Bermuda Plans (2008/2018) and specifically the language protecting recreational property: REC (1) To allocate sufficient land throughout the Island for a variety of recreational activities REC (2) To retain recreational lands in their open state and to protect significant natural features 4) The proposed subdivision is premature and not in the public interest and would be detrimental to the conservation of the visual amenities of the area. 5) Planning studies have shown that additional residential land is not required due to the decline in the local population. 6) Negative environmental impact: While the applicant has hired environmental experts to write a long environmental impact study on what could be done in the new “Nature Preserve”, Riddell’s already is considered one of the largest environmentally protected areas in Bermuda with significant areas of Woodland Reserve, Coastal Reserve, Nature Reserve and Recreation zoning. Those of us who have signed this petition recognize that the natural habitat in Riddell’s Bay is not found in other areas of Bermuda. We also recognize that changing 20.87 acres of this property to residential 2 zoning will permanently damage the sensitive eco system. 7) Coastal reserve impact: The proposed 7 western lots are located on an environmentally sensitive area which includes coastal reserve zoning and a small bay with mangroves, sea turtles and other protected sea life. Building homes on this area will have a major impact on the herons, longtails, bluebirds, lizards and other endemic species that live in this area. 8) Unknown environmental impact of future residential development. The applicant is not a developer and plans to sell the rezoned lots. Therefore, they have no control over what the new owners build on their properties. As such the applicant’s Master Plan environmental impact study cannot assess what impact this overall proposal will have on the environment. 9) Lack of clarity about the future management/potential for further development of the open space areas. It is unclear from the Master Plan who will pay to maintain “Riddell’s Bay Gardens and Nature Reserve” once the applicant has sold the residential lots. While the applicant states “to allow for development of new residential lots that will help finance long term maintenance of the nature reserve and gardens”, there are no details on how they intend to pay for the maintenance of remaining 66 acres of property. A survey of the residents indicates that they do not intend and are not obligated to pay for maintenance that had previously been paid by the golf club. 10) The granting of permission for the proposed lots under the current zoning or the change of zoning in the 2018 Draft Plan to allow such development would set a major undesirable precedent for the conversion of open space to residential development. The applicant purchased assets of the former Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club for commercial reasons, outbidding two other potential buyers who intended to maintain the golf course and recreational zoning. Since the applicant could make a substantial profit from the zoning change this will set a dangerous precedent for other golf courses and athletic clubs. The signers of this petition understand that in normal circumstances planning applicant objections would be filed directly at the Bermuda Planning Department, but we believe that this requirement should be waived based on three factors: The notice of intention to develop land "red signs" were only posted one week (on July 19th 2019) before the objection deadline. This planning application was submitted during the peak summer holiday season when many residents are traveling. The proposed change of zoning of 59.44 acres of protected recreation properties is unprecedented. For these reasons, we believe the signers of this petition should be all considered official objectors.
Preserve Bermuda Recreational Land Petition
This petition is signed by those people opposed to the potential change in ”Recreation” zoning of the former Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club and the residential development of the protected golf course property. The petitioners believe this potential zoning change would violate the Development and Planning Act 1974 (“the Act”) and set a precedent that would jeopardize all golf courses and other areas that are currently protected under the Bermuda Plan (2008). Bermuda has limited green space and a portion of the Bermuda Plan (2008) is zoned Recreation which includes sports fields, school playing fields, playgrounds, golf courses and general recreation areas, such as Bernard Park. These areas have historically been protected from zoning changes in order to maintain land for recreational purposes. If an exception is made to allow real estate development in areas that are currently zoned Recreation it could lead to the possible closure and redevelopment of other Bermuda golf courses and protected recreational areas. Background On October 25th, 2016 there was a presentation made to the residents of Riddell’s Bay by a group of investors who were in the process of closing on the purchase of the assets of the former Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club from the Provisional Liquidator. In the meeting the investor group confirmed that they planned to permanently close the golf course operation and change the zoning on approximately 17 acres of property to allow them to subdivide the property into one acre lots for residential development. They plan to create the “Master Plan” for the area and then sell the lots to real estate developers or individuals. It is our contention that the Development and Planning Act 1974 (“the Act”) should protect the golf course from residential or commercial real estate development. We believe that any efforts to re-zone the property would set a dangerous precedent for all of Bermuda’s property zoned Recreation and impact the island’s limited green space. This would include golf courses, sports fields and recreational parks. It is understood that there was a plan presented to the Provisional Liquidator from a group of Riddell’s Bay residents and former members to purchase the assets of the former club and maintain the golf course operation. Unfortunately the successful buyer contends that the golf course operation is not viable and that there is greater potential value in selling the real estate. There is always a temptation for real estate developers to buy restricted land and test the Bermuda Plan especially valuable real estate that is located in premium locations. The Provisional liquidator recently sold less than an acre of residential property for $1.5 million dollars. Based on this value the land is far more valuable to a real estate developer than it is as a golf course operation. The zoning rules are in place to protect restricted property from residential or commercial real estate development. It is unfortunate that investors may want to test the rigid Bermuda Plan guidelines. Bermuda Plan (2008) “The Bermuda Plan 2008" (the Plan) has been prepared in accordance with the provisions of Part III of the Development and Planning Act 1974 (the Act). It is the fifth development plan for the Island and will supersede the Bermuda Plan 1992 and the Development Plan for the Former Military Bases 1996. The Plan covers the entire Island with the exception of the land subject to the provisions of the City of Hamilton Plan 2001 (and any subsequent plan). The main purpose of the Plan is to provide for the land use and development requirements of the Island in a way that makes the most effective use of its resources, protects its natural and built environment, and provides a good quality of life for the Island’s residents. As such, the Plan helps to encourage suitable development on appropriate sites and helps the Development Applications Board make decisions on planning applications". "The Bermuda Plan 2008 Zoning Maps designate all areas of the island (except for the lands subject to the provisions of the City of Hamilton Plan 2001) into four zoning types: Development Base Zones, Conservation Base Zones, Conservation Areas and Protection Areas. The Conservation and Protection Areas overlay either a Development Base Zone or a Conservation Base Zone.” ”Chapter 18: Recreation" "The purpose of the Recreation zone is to conserve land for a variety of recreational activities. The areas designated under the Plan as Recreation include public and private playing fields, sports facilities and golf courses, and they are important components of the overall network of linked open spaces across the Island." "Some areas zoned Recreation are also designated under the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986 (as amended) and are further regulated by the provisions of that Act." "The Plan gives priority to retaining these lands in their open state and to protecting significant natural features. Development in the Recreation zone shall be restricted to recreational forms of development, forms of development associated with the principal recreational use of the land, and other forms of development which are associated with the open use of the land." Objectives REC (1) To allocate sufficient land throughout the Island for a variety of recreational activities REC (2) To retain recreational lands in their open state and to protect significant natural features” It is important for those people interested in preserving the golf course to click on the links below which explain the Bermuda Plan and how it relates to Riddell’s Bay. Relevant References and Links: http://www.planning.gov.bm/documents/Final%20Bermuda%20Plan%202008/Planning%20Statement%202008.pdf http://www.planning.gov.bm/2008_zoning_maps.aspx http://www.planning.gov.bm/documents/Final%20Bermuda%20Plan%202008/Zoning%20Maps/Map_17.pdf http://www.planning.gov.bm/Documents/Final%20Bermuda%20Plan%202008/Zoning%20Maps/Zoning%20Key.pdf http://www.planning.gov.bm/documents/Final%20Bermuda%20Plan%202008/Zoning%20Maps/Map_81.pdf http://www.planning.gov.bm/documents/Final%20Bermuda%20Plan%202008/Zoning%20Maps/Map_83.pdf We look forward to your support by signing this petition.