activists in open meeting
The Town Planning Board today (July 22) agreed to allow representatives of the Society for Protection of the Harbour Limited, Save our Shorelines and Clear the Air to make presentations on their rezoning requests before the board in an open meeting. The three cases are now scheduled for consideration at the next board meeting on August 5.
"In response to the further requests from the three organisations for making presentations on their rezoning requests at an open meeting, the board discussed the matter again today," a spokesman of the board said.
"As an established practice, consideration of rezoning requests submitted before the commencement of the Town Planning (Amendment) Ordinance on June 10 is conducted in the absence of the proponents and the meetings are not open. According to the Amendment Ordinance, an applicant for amendment of plans may attend the meeting and the hearing part is open for public viewing. The new provisions under the Amendment Ordinance can be followed if such rezoning requests are withdrawn and resubmitted as a matter of technical procedure, and the three organisations were so informed before," the spokesman said.
"The board was previously concerned that applying the new legislative provisions to the cases submitted by the three organisations would have general implications on the processing of other rezoning requests submitted before the commencement of the Amendment Ordinance."
The spokesman said that after careful consideration, the board agreed that an exception could be made for the subject cases in view of the special circumstances.
"The three rezoning requests are related to a large area of prime waterfront in Central and Wan Chai, and the planning of the waterfront areas on both sides of Victoria Harbour has been a matter of significant public concern. In view of the wide community interest expressed and to enhance public understanding of the issues involved, the board agreed to allow the three organisations to attend and to present their cases at an open meeting.
"In this way, the public can have access to all relevant papers submitted to the board, and can observe the proceedings of the open meeting. The minutes of the meeting will also be viewable at the board's website after confirmation by the board. This would enhance public understanding of the decision-making process of the board on these cases," he explained.
Ends/Friday, July 22, 2005