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Aug 3, 2018

Belize City Council Consults on Urban Planning

The Belize City Council, with the help of consulting group, Grupo Innovoterra, is in the process of drafting a zoning ordinance for Belize City. It’s a document that will become legislation and used to specify the types of building construction and business activities that are allowed to take place in specific areas of the city. On Thursday, the City Council held a community consultation with residents and business owners to provide feedback into the way they want to see the city grow in terms of infrastructure and use of property. Today, Urban Development Planner Keisha Rodriguez explained what the zoning ordinance is and in what ways it will be used.

 

Keisha Rodriguez, Urban Development Planner, Belize City Council

Keisha Rodriguez

“Well, the zoning ordinance is a tool. It is an instrument really, a regulatory instrument that the City Council will be able to use to regulate what various uses are attributed to different parcels of land within the city, different zones within the City. So, essentially, what it does, it looks at what exists already and what is the vision for the city in terms of how it will grow in the next ten, twenty years. It looks at for example, we want a compact city. So, we are looking at higher floors, higher buildings, and higher densities. So, the zoning ordinance separates the city into different zones that will allow various uses as well as different heights of buildings in those areas. It will be a legal instrument so it will give the council authority to be able to regulate where those uses go.   Well, some of the concerns definitely, if you look at how the city is growing, you have, for example the heritage areas. And if you go into those areas, the older parts of Belize City, it is very often you see those buildings knocked down or burnt down, etc. And so we want a city where those types of buildings and the history of the city can be preserved. So, definitely the zoning ordinance is looking at how those areas can be preserved so that the architecture that exists in those areas can be conserved. But also, some of the other issues are for example, informal settlements, where people are moving into the mangrove areas. And it is not only that they are cutting down these very valuable resources but also that the people themselves are vulnerable in these areas, as they are living in swamps and so forth. So, looking at ways in which we can stop the informal settlements and looking at producing things like social housing that would assist people so that they would not go to settle in these areas and so forth.”

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