Morritt’s Resort aims to expand its East End beachfront property with a five-storey, 33-bedroom building extension.

Its planning application shows the $18-million structure will be situated 75 feet from the high-water mark, well short of the 160-foot legal setback. Resort representatives argue for approval, citing similar oceanfront developments.

Founded by English developer David Morritt as Morritt’s Tortuga Club in 1999, the property, now Morritt’s Resort, has undergone multiple expansions, including the Grand Resort in 2001 and The Londoner in 2014, totalling 204 units.

In August 2020, Morritt Properties submitted an application for a five-storey Londoner extension, initially delayed due to COVID-19 but now backed with financing and plans for the 13 Sep. planning authority meeting.

The proposal seeks an ocean setback variance of nearly 85 feet below the legal limit, with no objections received. Resort representatives highlight the employment opportunities and adherence to zoning regulations.

However, the Department of Environment emphasises the need for stringent conditions to protect nesting turtles and the marine environment. Operating heavy machinery during construction near the active turtle nesting area could harm sea turtles and their nests. Excavation may disturb the sand crucial for sea turtles, and the site’s proximity to a marine protected area requires careful management to avoid environmental degradation.

Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie directs the planning authority, under the National Conservation Council’s authority, to impose conditions such as proper material storage, turtle-friendly lighting, sand placement on the beach, and relocating the fire access lane.

The planning application will be discussed at the 13 Sept. Central Planning Authority meeting in George Town, with the decision published in subsequent minutes.