The Spatial Planning Division
The Spatial Planning Division is comprised of two branches and two units. The Local Area Planning Branch is responsible for coordinating sustainable planning at the local level, while the National Spatial Strategy Branch was established for the purpose of developing effective national spatial strategies and providing a framework for the sustainable development of rural and urban areas.
The division is supported by a Geographic Information System Unit, which facilitates a shared platform that is effectively used in all areas of the Agency’s business functions providing customized applications, solutions and services through efficient distribution of information. The Architect-Planning Unit also provides support to the division.
According to section 5 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1958, the expression “development” means, "the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of material change in the use of any building or other land."
Development planning is undertaken in an attempt to attain optimal use of the nation’s land resources in a manner to benefit the maximum number of persons presently and in future generations. It seeks to balance competing land uses.
Development is the responsibility of actors/agencies both at the local and national level. Major actors include; the Town and Country Planning Authority, local planning authorities, the Minister with Portfolio Responsibility for planning and the National Environment and Planning Agency.
NEPA’s Role in Development Planning
Town Planning, Spatial Planning or Urban and Regional Planning is one of the major functional areas of the National Environment and Planning Agency’s (NEPA) mandate. The applications review process, plan preparation and enforcement are important aspects of this functional area of the Agency’s role. The National Spatial Plan, development plans, development orders and other planning documents, such as the Development Investment Manual are critical tools to guide land use planning in Jamaica.
National Spatial Plan
NEPA is currently involved in the preparation of components of the National Spatial Plan. This document will provide the spatial framework for future national development in keeping with Vision 2030 Jamaica - National Sustainable Development Plan's vision to make “Jamaica the place of choice to live, work raise families and do business”
A development order is the legal document used to guide development in the area covered by the order. Currently the Agency is involved in the preparation of the Draft Clarendon Parish Development Order. Several previously drafted Development Orders are currently being reviewed.