Persons who dare to undertake construction work within the confines of the city of Georgetown without due approval, could be subjected to immense loss, as the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown has engaged a campaign to arrest such undesirable practices. At the municipality’s most recent statutory meeting, councillors have expressed concerns about the state of affairs.
It was revealed that some persons are doing construction works without the requisite permission of the City Engineer’s Department. Some business owners are extending their building beyond the boundary and in some instances on council’s reserve.
According to a municipal official, often is the case that persons bent on ignoring the bylaws, opt to undertake operations over the weekend with the expectation that the municipality will not be in a position to halt such operations, given the Monday through Friday operation of the Engineer’s Department.
And according to Deputy Mayor, Robert Williams, even officials within City Hall could come under fire if they are found guilty of aiding such practices without following the specified procedure.
According to Public Relations Officer, Debra Lewis, “The council wants to remind citizens that permission must be obtained from the Engineer’s Department before construction of any kind can be done.”
Further, she noted that the department is empowered by the Municipal and District Councils Act to demolish any construction that is deemed illegal. Reports are that a city business is currently under scrutiny for undertaking illegal construction.
According to the Municipal and District Councils Act, “No person shall commence any building operations in the city unless he has given notice in writing of his intention so to do the City Engineer on a form provided by the Council for that purpose and otherwise complies with the provisions of the by-laws.”
The Act also states that “no person shall erect a new building or alter or add to any existing building or alter or add to any existing building or execute any structural work to any building unless he shall lay over with such notice a plan of the new building or of the alteration or additions to the existing building or of the structural work for approval by the City Engineer.”
In addition, the Act states that “no building or part thereof shall be erected over any thoroughfare except with the written permission of the Council and then only upon such terms and conditions as the council may prescribe.”
The position of every new building, its proposed use and its line of frontage shall be approved by the Engineer’s Department before any building operations are commenced.
The municipality just revealed that the council is set to enforce stringent measures to ensure the payment of property taxes before any construction or expansion of any property in the city is undertaken, according to the Deputy Mayor.
He explained that if an individual applies for permission to undertake any form of construction, persons will first have to ensure that the payment of taxes for that property is honoured.
“This is the first time that this is going to happen…This measure has been taken where it concerns compliance before a property is sold but we are going to be more rigorous when combing the official gazette and appearing before the courts on the procedure of properties and offer objections where and when necessary.”
Further, the municipality is seeking to prevent property from being changed over to another person’s name if the property taxes are not paid in full. “It is a series of initiatives that we are taking to bring in much needed funds…” Williams ascertained yesterday. Notwithstanding, the municipality is gearing to take a judicial approach to address the problem of non-payment.
Some 15 property owners are currently being targeted by the municipality. They are likely to be placed before the courts shortly.
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