(CMR) Some residents of West Bay are concerned that a newly completed mansion may be encroaching on what they claim is likely West Bay's oldest road. The Mary Mollie Hydes Road runs adjacent to Town Hall Road and gives access behind the main road off the four-way stop. The house is almost adjacent to Alfresco's Restaurant and Henning Beach and is now nearing completion after being under construction for some time.
However, concerns have now arisen as the homeowners have begun finalizing their landscaping and allegedly taking away from the public road. CMR did a site visit yesterday and spoke with Ezmie Smith, West Bay residence and local advocate about the road. She is a member of the Concern's Citizens Group that fought the Dart Group to keep the West Bay Road open and also a member of the Public Lands Commission.
Smith explained that the road has historical value and should be protected at all costs. In fact, a previous homeowner is said to have been allowed to already encroach on one end of the roadway. Now, on the opposite end, this new home appears to be preparing to do the same thing. Smith wishes to highlight the issue so that the respective authorities may step in and stop the encroachment.
CMR was able to speak with the landscaping crew off-camera and was informed that their instructions are that the property line runs five feet out from the wall. Seemingly an impossible calculation, as this would place the boundary into Town Hall Road. The landowners do own a small parcel across the street as well.
The landscaping in question was being finalized yesterday and included several flower gardens on either side of the metal gate as well as two large palm trees and large decorative rock boulders. Smith explains that that area is the last remaining vantage point where tour operators can take visitors and show them the entire stretch of Seven Mile Beach. She also emphasized that there is a need to protect public access points and roads from private encroachment. Pointing out another street of the road that contained privately installed speed bumps she noted this behavior was unacceptable:
“People have used that portion of the road for centuries, there has to be a clear whether they could do what they did, whether they had approval or not … the point is that portion of the road has been used by all West Bayers.”
She explained that even if it wasn't a public road it has been used for generations and the people would also have a prescriptive right over it as well.
Local activist and boxing champion Charles Whittaker also joined in on the discussion and shared his thoughts about what he considers to be a blatant disregard for the law. He shared:
“It seems like everybody can come to this country … no one is held to the law but the indigenous population … Do you think you or I would have gotten approval to build that big ole house on that little piece of property?”
Smith is a retired Clerk of the Court and law school graduate.