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Districts mobilising for rejection of PLU

MARIGOT--All six district representatives of the French side have joined in a chorus of disapproval over the content of the PLU zoning plan as it stands in its present format ahead of a press conference planned for this Wednesday.

A petition saying “no” to the PLU and “no” to the public enquiry is planned.

“All sectors of the population of St. Martin, with few exceptions, are negatively impacted by the PLU project that you have been imposing for the last months, without having the courage to satisfactorily explain a certain number of basic inconsistent decisions about the economic future of our island,” the French Quarter District wrote in a letter to elected officials of the Collectivité.

“Whereas tourism is the first economic activity that is supposed to ensure the livelihood of our population, your PLU has based its decisions on a hypothetic agriculture that, according to you only, is the pillar of our economy.”

“Zones U4 and U5 covering the largest luxury vacation market on the island are directly threatened by the planned urbanization of these zones,” the release stated. “Decisions characterised as ‘agriculture – green, or nature’ largely concern the more than centuries-old properties of St. Martin people, who will not be allowed to build or invest on our ancestral inheritance in order to secure the well-being of our children and our families,” it continued.

“This inheritance identifies our local reality and the economic hope of our young generations … obliged to stay abroad on account of their exclusion from the development of the last thirty years. In short, your PLU totally disregards our tourism-oriented economy, already represented by a renowned luxury tourism industry in the Lowlands.”

“In addition, the decision to considerably increase the number of floors in villages as traditional as Marigot and Grand Case will disfigure the existing housing environment belonging to the native population and tarnish its touristic attraction, leaving the door open to the expropriation of our properties, to the urbanisation of our two major centres of local life, and consequently to the increase of delinquency and criminality,” the letter noted.

“The present density of the population (600 plus inhabitants per two kilometres) is already the highest in the French Caribbean islands. The sewage infrastructure, almost inadequate or non-existent, presently endangers the quality of life in many areas, and no provision for the improvement of this situation is made in your project.”

“Your PLU reflects two distinct disturbing trends; the protection of the new residential districts and the planned increase of exogenous residents, the stalled growth of many native landowners whose properties are declassified as non-constructible for some, and declared green or natural areas for others, and the demolishing of the luxury tourism industry.”

“Finally, communications and exchanges are made in the various languages spoken on the island in electoral times, and you boast of the multicultural and multilingual nature of our society. Therefore decisions as important as those made in your project should have taken into account our historical, ancestral, cultural and linguistic realities, and preserve the profitability of our luxury tourism zones,” the letter concluded.  

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