the blog posts

observations of a planning consultant #100

I'm sure, over the lifetime of this blog, there will be a number of observations made (numbers one to 99 I've muttered to myself already) but I thought I'd start with this: what happened to practicality? Planning used to be more about pragmatism and less about "ticking the boxes" of the development plan of the day. That seems to have slipped in recent years, as if the Development Applications Board is afraid to exercise its discretion. Not sure why this is but I believe Bermuda would benefit if the pendulum swung back a little bit.

Of course, the Board may be exercising lots of discretion - I can only judge by the applications with which I am involved. More recently, these have been proposals that were outside the guidelines of the development plan but a practical solution for the landowner and not detrimental to neighbouring property owners. The Board may be obliged to say no but the 'soft no' appears to have fallen away as well.

That's a pity. As a planner, in my opinion it is usually more satisfying to help applicants achieve their goals. Of course, the applicants stepping way outside the guidelines with unrealistic expectations deserve the cold shoulder but, on balance, these are probably in the minority. It is likely there is middle ground here; we need to find it. The Customer Satisfaction Survey recently conducted by the Department of Planning is a great start.