Preserve Bermuda Recreational Land Petition

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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 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.



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