Urban law making land development difficult

Samoa’s current building requirements would make it difficult for landowners to fully develop their land. 

This is according to lawyer, Sala Josephine Stowers – who represented Komisi and Sala Lupe Chan Mow in a Supreme Court proceedings – which involves the family of the Minister of Works Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’i Niko Lee Hang. 

Komisi and Sala Lupe Chan Mow oppose an application to lift an interim injunction issued against the construction of the residential property belonging Papali’i’s family. 

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“It is no longer an absolute right for any landowner or proprietor to fully enjoy their property, as there are now regulatory limitations under the Planning and Urban Management (PUMA) 2004,” Sala submitted to the Court. 

But the family of Papali’i Niko Lee Hang want the Court to lift the injunction so they can proceed with their project.

During the hearing before Supreme Court Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren recently, Sala acknowledged the Planning and Urban Management Act 2004 was enacted to establish a regulatory regime for activities that cause environmental, social and health impacts, risks and collisions with adjoining properties.  

“So everyone no longer has the privileged to fully enjoy their property. It is a no longer absolute right for any land owner or proprietor to fully enjoy their property as there are now regulatory limitations that have been put forth by parliament and all the activities that are meant to be erected on anyone’s land are now subjective to a system for a regulatory framework that actually prohibits the freedom of any land to owner to erect any size plan,” she further submitted.  

Sala noted that under Section 46 of the same Act, the bulk size and shape of any development is an essential ingredient to be considered under that particular law. 

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