NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Residents in the Hill View Court area are protesting against a proposed development that would expand the use of a building in Highland Park into a medical rehabilitation facility.
At the end of last month, the Department of Physical Planning indicted in a public notice that the Poinciana Recovery Institute is seeking planning approval to change the use of administrative offices on Hill View Court to a long term care facility for elderly, stroke and head trauma patients.
The offices housed the New Providence branch of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society Administration Offices.
The existing building, according to the notice, has two floors and consists of a reception/lobby area, offices, a dining room, a large kitchen and eight bedrooms with bathroom facilities and closets.
There is also parking for 13 vehicles on the site. The gate entrance for the property is on Hill View Court where there are 13 residential lots.
A public meeting was scheduled for yesterday for all interested parties to discuss and address the planning issues related to the proposed commercial development.
However, Eyewitness News understands that the public meeting was canceled.
Residents of the Grove West Homeowners Association & Neighbourhood Crime Watch have petitioned against the planned commercial project.
“The residents and property owners on the residential cul-de-sac of Hill View Court in Highland Park, and the president of the Grove West Homeowners Association are kindly requesting that the Ministry of Works and Department of Physical Planning look into the planned operation of a medical rehabilitation center at 3 Hill View Court which is in a residential area and on this residential street,” the petition read.
“…Most of the neighbors on the street have voiced their concerns on the matter – they do not want a commercial business operating on Hill View Court.”
The property was previously owned by the former Jehovah Witness Watch Tower Headquarters and sold in October 2019.
Residents said they were taken by surprise that the medical business “just appeared on the street without any notice”.
The petition noted that some five years ago, when a bank expressed interest to purchase the property, the administration contacted most of the residents on Hill View Court asking if they would accept a rezoning of “semi-commercial”.
At the time, the residents opposed the project and petition furthered the bank did not purchase the property.
Residents fear the development of the medical facility poses health risks noting its close proximity to homes and the possible contamination of medical waste and other by-products of the facility.
Residents also believe the “tranquility and quality” of the Highland Park neighborhood will be affected if the medical rehabilitation center is allowed to operate, noting noise pollution will increase once workers, doctors, patients, visitors, and delivery vehicles visit the rehabilitation center daily.
Other concerns include the possible increase in crime due to increased traffic to the area.
Residents also believe that once one commercial business is approved, it will open a “Pandora’s box” for zoning in the area, and other types of businesses will seek to develop in the residential area.
Additionally, other residents in Highland Park have voiced opposition to commercial entities entering and changing the residential structure of the Grove West/Highland Park/Vista Marina neighborhoods.
One resident, who spoke to Eyewitness News under anonymity, said they simply do not want it there because the facility does not belong in the residential area.
“We are really just trying to live a quiet normal life without all the noise and ambulance, and the extra noise,” they said.