PHILIPSBURG–Since the reinstatement of Article 28a of the National Ordinance on Spatial Development Planning LROP on April 26, 2021, no applications for civil works permits have been published in the National Gazette for review by the public.
In the past 13 months, a series of building permits have been published in the newspaper without mention of the prerequisite civil works permit.
The reintroduction of Article 28, listing the conditions for a civil works permit for demolition, clearing land for construction and removal of trees, was heralded by Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure VROMI Egbert Doran (National Alliance) for protection of the environment.
A year ago, the Ministry of VROMI explained in a press release: “Article 28a regulates the requirements for a civil works permit, which will allow the minister to review certain planned works prior to approval. This will ensure that the works will not cause undesirable and irreversible damage to the environment and are executed with concern to the environment and that the works fit within the government Spatial Development Vision. In addition, the article allows the government to impose conditions on the execution of the works.”
The ministry stated that the intention of this article is not to obstruct any developments. “Therefore, persons will require prior approval by the minister for works and projects of profound nature.”
A civil works permit is required for the excavation, raising, levelling or explosion of land; the demolition of structures; the construction of roads and other pavements; works and projects that impact water management and the groundwater level; the filling and/or dredging of water; and the felling and clear-cutting of trees or other cultivation.
The Permits Department at Ministry of VROMI consists of nine employees who, under the direction of Department Head Charlon Pompier, are in charge of the process of granting permits for construction, demolition, the construction of entrances and roads, for nuisance and work on monuments.
The civil works permit can be applied for at the same time as the building permit, using the usual building permit application form. Within 60 days after the application has been submitted, the minister will decide whether or not to grant the permit. If granted, the permit will be published in the National Gazette along with other approved permits from the same period, the Ministry of VROMI stated.
The public has six weeks from the date of publication of the permit to appeal. However, no civil works permits have been published in the National Gazette to date.
Minister Doran reinstated Article 28a effective April 26, 2021, after this specific article had lapsed almost a decade earlier. The minister said the requirement of a civil works permit also applies to the government of St. Maarten, including the Ministry of VROMI.
In reference to the criticised removal of mangroves at the Prins Bernhard Bridge, the Ministry of VROMI stated that, in case of works commissioned by the minister of VROMI, it will commit to publishing and communicating works of a profound nature to the public prior to execution. However, the public will not be able to formally appeal, the ministry said.
Bron: Daily Herald