Lamaha Gar­dens Com­mu­nity group should be al­lowed to erect sign - Ed­in­boro

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

In light of the on­go­ing is­sue be­tween the Lamaha Gar­dens Com­mu­nity Co­op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety Inc. and the Ge­orge­town Mayor and City Coun­cil (M&CC) over putting up a sign at the head of the com­mu­nity and re­spect­ing zon­ing laws, ur­ban plan­ner Rawle Ed­in­boro says the group should be al­lowed to erect the sign since it would re­flect the com­mu­nity’s “civic­ness.”

The com­mu­nity group had re­quested per­mis­sion from the City Coun­cil for the erec­tion of a sign at the head of Dun­can Street, with a message stat­ing no cat­tle or busi­ness. How­ever, its re­quest was de­nied.

In an ad­ver­tise­ment that was pub­lished in the Novem­ber 2 edi­tion of Stabroek News, Ed­in­boro said he re­viewed the is­sue be­tween the M&CC and the group and came to a con­clu­sion that the com­mu­nity sign ini­tia­tive is “a re­flec­tion of com­mu­nity ‘civic­ness’ – a key el­e­ment in our thrust to­wards sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties and an im­por­tant mo­ti­vat­ing el­e­ment in the de­sire by com­mu­ni­ties to main­tain a sense of place.”

Ed­in­boro added that he views the pro­posed sig­nage as a pub­lic com­mu­ni­ca­tion ini­tia­tive to sen­si­tise the pub­lic on what can be seen as law­ful com­mu­nity devel­op­ment con­cerns.

“Given our weak cul­ture of en­force­ment, an ini­tia­tive of this na­ture should not be re­sisted but should rather be en­cour­aged as a val­ued as­pect of a com­mu­nity sup­port ap­proach to en­force­ment. It is im­por­tant in this re­gard to note that the No­tice does not in any way neg­a­tively in­ter­fere with the statu­tory duty of the City Coun­cil, the EPA [En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency] or the CH&PA [Cen­tral Hous­ing and Plan­ning Author­ity] to carry out any en­force­ment ac­tion con­sis­tent with their re­spec­tive leg­isla­tive man­date,” Ed­in­boro stated.

Mean­while, he em­pha­sised that the re­quest by the group is in a bid to sen­si­tise the pub­lic on good en­vi­ron­men­tal/de­vel­op­men­tal at­ti­tudes, con­sis­tent with the sta­tus quo of the com­mu­nity as a pre­dom­i­nantly res­i­den­tial area.

“If we are to be re­ally se­ri­ous about trans­lat­ing rhetoric into ac­tion and giv­ing tan­gi­ble mean­ing to gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy on de­vel­op­ing sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties and a green city, we must seek to em­brace a bot­tom-up rather than top-down ap­proach to com­mu­nity man­age­ment,” he added, while stat­ing that the voices of com­mu­ni­ties must be lis­tened to along with their pro­posed ini­tia­tives to pre­serve or­der and re­spect.

To ar­rive at his con­clu­sion, Ed­in­boro ex­plained that he used sev­eral con­sid­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing the plan­ning per­spec­tive in the con­text of de­sir­able land use/devel­op­ment ob­jec­tives that can be gleaned from a pe­rusal of the Town and Coun­try Plan­ning Act; the Mu­nic­i­pal Man­age­ment per­spec­tive, given the stip­u­la­tions of the Mu­nic­i­pal and Dis­tricts Coun­cils Act, Chap­ter 28:01 and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Act, Chap­ter 20:05.

He also stated that the per­spec­tive of prop­erty own­ers, broader com­mu­nity devel­op­ment per­spec­tive and prece­dence were also used.

With re­spect to prece­dence, Ed­in­boro ex­plained that the ini­tia­tive is not with­out com­pa­ra­ble prece­dence and he is aware that “No Cat­tle Al­lowed” signs have been placed in res­i­den­tial schemes that have been de­vel­oped by the CH&PA and pri­vate de­vel­op­ers be­fore.

“The burn­ing is­sue in all cases is that of the land degra­da­tion and pub­lic health im­pact roam­ing cat­tle can have in des­ig­nated res­i­den­tial ar­eas. One can, for ex­am­ple, point to the im­pact of roam­ing cat­tle on the func­tion­ing of earthen drains and mov­ing traf­fic,” he said.

Ref­er­enc­ing the plan­ning scheme that would have been ap­proved by the CH&PA prior to the con­struc­tion of the com­mu­nity, Ed­in­boro stated the plans would’ve sought to pro­vide for or­derly and har­mo­nious land use devel­op­ment through the zon­ing of lands and preser­va­tion of ameni­ties.

“There­fore, any ac­tiv­i­ties not con­sis­tent with these ob­jec­tives are not to be tol­er­ated. This in­cludes rear­ing of an­i­mals such as cows and the in­tru­sion of in­com­pat­i­ble land uses, such as com­mer­cial busi­ness in an area ap­proved as a res­i­den­tial scheme,” Ed­in­boro pointed out.

He added that once the plan­ning scheme would’ve been ap­proved then the lo­cal author­ity, the City Coun­cil must work in such a man­ner to en­sure that the pro­vi­sions of the scheme are re­spected.

Ed­in­boro also noted that while it is the Coun­cil’s duty to en­force the law, the com­mu­nity’s ap­proach rep­re­sents sup­port for en­force­ment that is rel­e­vant in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries such as Guyana, where the in­sti­tu­tional re­sources are lim­ited.

“In con­sid­er­a­tion of the points herein dis­cussed, I see no rea­son why the Lamaha Gar­dens com­mu­nity should not be granted per­mis­sion to erect the pro­posed sign­board at ap­proved lo­ca­tions within the com­mu­nity,” Ed­in­boro said.

Town Clerk Roys­ton King, when quizzed about the Coun­cil’s re­fusal to grant the group per­mis­sion to erect the sign, ex­plained that Lamaha Gar­den’s sta­tus as a strictly res­i­den­tial area had eroded over time as a re­sult of il­le­gal busi­ness be­ing con­ducted.

King along with Mayor Patricia Chase-Green also stated that if they were to tackle the op­er­a­tion of busi­nesses in the area, the coun­cil would have to, by law, com­pen­sate them for mov­ing, which it can­not af­ford at this time.

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