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Town Planning Board responds to concerns on
processing of rezoning requests


    In response to media enquiries about the processing of rezoning requests submitted by the Society for Protection of the Harbour Limited (SPH), Save our Shorelines (SOS) and Clear the Air, the Town Planning Board (the Board) today (July 19) would like to clarify on the concerns raised by the three organizations with regard to their demand for making presentation to the Board in a public hearing of their cases.

    The spokesman explained that the rezoning requests of the three organizations were submitted before the commencement of the Town Planning (Amendment) Ordinance 2004 on 10 June 2005.  There is no provision in the Amendment Ordinance for a rezoning request submitted before its commencement to be processed under the new statutory procedures provided for in the Amendment Ordinance, including the provisions for the applicant to attend and make presentation at an open meeting of the Board for considering the case.

    "According to the Board's long established practice, consideration of rezoning requests submitted before the commencement of the Amendment Ordinance is carried out in the absence of the proponents and the meetings are not open.  The request from the three organizations would have general implications on the processing of other rezoning requests," the spokesman said.

    "The Board has to process the three rezoning requests in accordance with the established practice unless the request is withdrawn and resubmitted.  The arrangement has been clearly explained to the three organizations."

    "On the concerns raised by SPH on the issue of conflict of interest, legal advice has confirmed that there is no interest that the Chairperson of the Board has to declare in this case.  The Board has agreed that the Chairperson should chair the meeting to deliberate on the three rezoning requests scheduled for consideration on 22 July 2005," the spokesman added.

Ends/Tuesday, July 19, 2005


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