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Lyford Cay residents call for halt to condominium plan


Tribune Business Reporter

Lyford Cay residents say nine-storey quartet of condominiums “must be stopped” from being developed behind their gated enclave.

Guy Cruz, a resident of 22 years in Lyford Cay, told a Town Hall hearing on the proposed development that this project “must be stopped”.

He continued, “Let’s use plain English… We do not want this project. If you take the 144 letters as I told you we have from Lyford Cay and all but two or three are opposed to this project and we’re going to stop you.”

The proposal in question involves a nine-storey, 72-unit quartet of condominium complexes, said to be developed by Eastmor Properties Limited.

Conway Smith, architect with Alexiou & Associates Ltd, the firm tasked with designing the project, told the Town Planning meeting on Monday night that the four proposed nine-storey set of condominium complexes are going to be on vacant land and is a “greenfield site development”, over 100ft tall.

The proposed development comprises four lots on 6.5 acres of land all adjacent to one another. Additionally, each complex will have two units on each floor for a total of 72 units for the development. Mr Smith said: “We believe that this can be a great benefit to the surrounding community as well… this could be a great potential for economic stimulation because it will attract people who will be able to provide jobs and help us to generate income.”

He added: “We are seeking to continue to provide a high end high quality product for young professionals or entrepreneurs here in New Providence.”

Residents, however, say the proposed development is against the restrictive covenants of Lyford Cay.

A letter to the Department of Physical Planning, addressed to its director, Charles Zonicle, which was obtained by Tribune Business, states that three of the four identified lots for the proposed development, namely 12, 13 and 14, have restrictive covenants that no condominium building should be built on them.

The letter also says that the development would represent a 15 percent increase in the number of household units and lead to an overall 502 percent greater density over that of current multi-family developments in Lyford Cay.

The latter also said traffic would increase significantly placing a burden on the community. The height of the buildings is also a concern, with four of them being proposed at 117 feet and would overshadow current and future views of developments in the immediate area.

Ultimately, property owners in Subdivision III purchased their lots in what they understood to be a single-family neighbourhood. “Initially, in 1986, the Lyford Cay Company reserved one 7.616 acre parcel in the Subdivision III plan as for possible multifamily development. The Lyford Cay Company ultimately subdivide the reserved parcel into six residential single family lots all of which were relotted and rezoned by request of the Lyford Cay Company in 2000.

“Additionally, the six lots carved out of the reserved parcel are comparable in size to the neighbouring lots, which are also designated as single family residential lots. Such a massive building complex will present significant impacts to these property owners.”

Kim Aranha, long-time resident of Lyford Cay, added: “My understanding had been that this property had originally been zoned to be condos. I don’t think that the community has anything against condos. I think what has put the fear of terror into everybody is these nine storey pencils in a coffee cup design that has upset everybody.

The concept of condos are “attractive for older couples”, she noted but the “nine-storey sort of New York towers don’t belong in Lyford Cay.”

Mr Smith also did note, however that this project is in its “infancy stages” at the beginning of the approval process before it can move to the next step, which does not seem likely if Lyford Cay residents have anything to do about it.