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Physical Planning Act (No. 5 of 2002)

This Act makes provisions for the orderly and progressive development of land in urban and rural areas and to preserve and improve the amenities thereof and for the grant of permission to develop land and for other powers of control over the use of land in Dominica.

Active transparency (Sections 14 and 84)

When a development plan for a specified part of Dominica has been approved by Cabinet or a National Physical Development Plan for Dominica has been approved by Parliament, as the case may be, a copy of the plan shall be deposited at the Registry of titles, the offices of the Authority, the Department of Lands and Surveys, the public library and post offices in Dominica, and the substance of the plan shall be publicized in the area or areas to which it applies, in such manner as the Authority may direct. Notice of the approval of a development plan shall be published in the Gazette and the plan shall come into effect on the date of such publication. Copies of a plan shall be available for inspection and purchase, at all reasonable times at the offices of the Authority, at such price as may be prescribed.

The Chief Physical Planner shall maintain a register of all planning decisions. Any person who so requests shall be provided by the Chief Physical Planner with a copy of any entry in the register upon payment of the prescribed fee. The register shall include an index which shall be in the form of a map and both the register and the index may be kept in an electronic data storage and retrieval system whether by use of a computer or otherwise.

Participation in activities and projects / Mining / Biodiversity (Sections 4(5), 22, 24, 25 and 35)

The Authority may, for the purpose of the performance of its functions, as it thinks fit consult with or obtain advice from other authorities, persons or bodies of persons, engage other persons to carry out work on its behalf or delegate any of its functions to any of the aforementioned.

The Authority may and in certain listed cases such as environmental impact assessments or permissions to carry out mining operations or mineral processing, shall (a) publish a notice in at least one daily newspaper and affix a notice on the land to which the application relates that an application to develop land has been received and will be determined on a date specified in the notice; and (b) invite comments and representations either in writing or orally on such application. The Authority shall take into account any report, representation or comment submitted or made to it.

The Chief Physical Planner may consult in writing any public officer or other person who appears to him to be able to provide information relevant to an application for development permission to enable the Chief Physical Planner to advise the Minister or the Authority , as appropriate, with regard to the application and shall consult any authority as may be prescribed in regulations. The Authority shall take into account, in order to make a proper decision on the application,  any representations made by any person with regard to the application or the probable effect of the proposed development.

In determining an application referred to him, the Minister may consult any body or person he thinks fit.

Environmental protected areas: The Authority may, and if so directed by the Minister shall, cause a survey to be made of the whole or any part of Dominica. Before finally determining whether to recommend to the Minister that any area should be declared an environmental protection area, the Authority shall (a) take such steps as in its opinion will ensure that adequate publicity is given to its proposals in the area to which the proposals relate; (b) provide persons living and working in the area and any other persons interested in the area with an opportunity of making representations and comments on the proposals; (c) consult with the Minister responsible for the Environment and any other person, body or authority who appears appropriate as being interested in or having special knowledge on environmental matters; and (d) receive and take account of the representations and comments received on the proposals. The Authority shall have regard to the survey and any representations or comments submitted by any person, body or authority on the proposals.

Participation in plans, programmes and policies (Sections 8(2), 10 and 11)

A proposal for the preparation of a development plan shall include proposals for obtaining representations from persons likely to be affected by or likely to wish to submit representations and views on the proposed plan during the course of its preparation and proposals for the review of the plan by sectoral agencies and private sector representatives, among others.

During the preparation of a development plan and before finally determining its content for submission to the Minister, the Authority shall take such steps as in its opinion will ensure (a) that adequate publicity is given in the area to which the plan relates to the matters which it proposes to include in the proposals; (b) that persons who may be expected to desire an opportunity of making representations to the Authority with respect to those matters are made aware that they are entitled to an opportunity of doing so; and (c) that such persons are given an adequate opportunity of making such representations. The Authority shall consider any representations made to it within the prescribed period.

When the Authority has prepared a draft development plan it shall send a copy to the Minister and shall deposit a copy at the offices of the Authority and at such other place or places as the Authority considers to be most effective for bringing it to the notice of persons residing, working or owning property in the area to which the draft development plan proposals relate, or who are likely to be affected by the proposals in the draft development plan. The Authority shall give notice in the Gazette and at least one newspaper circulating in Dominica of the depositing of a draft development plan, and of the places where it may be examined, and shall give such other publicity to and written or oral explanation of the draft development plan as, in its opinion, is best calculated to inform all persons affected or likely to be affected by the proposals in the draft development plan, and all persons of the right to make representations with regard to the proposals in the draft development plan. Any person may, within eight weeks of the publication in the Gazette of the notice make either oral or written representations on the draft development plan to the Authority. The Authority shall consider the draft development plan and the representations and comments made. These provisions apply to any modification or review.

Right to appeal (Sections 75 and 80)

An applicant, or person other than an applicant, whose interest in land may be affected by a decision of the Authority if dissatisfied with such a decision of the Authority may appeal to the Appeals Committee against that decision. The Appeals Committee shall, in its discretion, direct whether the appeal shall be dealt with by public inquiry or by written representations. Before deciding, the Appeals Committee shall take into consideration whether the public interest requires that all persons, including the appellant, who may have a view to express in relation to the matter to which the appeal relates should have an opportunity of having their views taken into account, of submitting evidence and of examining witnesses called by others. Where it decides that a public inquiry shall be held, it shall notify the appellant and the Authority of the fact and of the time and place at which the public inquiry shall be held and a notice thereto shall be published in the Gazette and in at least one newspaper circulating in Dominica. Any interested party may appear in person or may be represented by another person acting with his authority, whether or not the other person is a legal practitioner.

An appeal shall lie to the High Court from a decision of the Appeals Committee on a point of law.