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    Anguilla:
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GROSS VS. NET VS. ACCESS

Anguilla has dedicated itself to pursuing the up-market track, be it in tourism, financial services or real estate development. The concept is hard to fault-Anguilla has been enjoying prosperity within the radiance of a civilized quality of life for quite a while now. However, in order to ensure the high net worth individual remains attracted to Anguilla, we must occasionally test our underlying assumptions in order to make sure they are in synch our up-market objectives.

Two key components of establishing high quality have inevitably tended to be lower density and higher price-in tourism: fewer rooms with higher room rates; in financial services: fewer clients with higher professional fees; in real estate development: larger sites with expensive properties. Anguilla currently possesses many of the qualities necessary to attract an up-market clientele in all these sectors, but I believe we can further our objectives if we revisit a few real estate thoughts with regard to Government's preferred size for alienated residential property purchases by non-belongers and to the development required of them..

Traditionally, a half acre has been Government's preferred size for alienated land purchases by non-belongers for home construction, although (in my experience) exceptions are reasonably made when conditions warrant based on unusual topography, existing lot sizes, degree of development, etc. However, in addition to those factors, a new consideration should now be taken into account when analyzing variances for lot size, for with the passage of Hurricane Luis there has been a general increase in set back requirements from the coast--the property type most in demand by non-belongers. As result of increased coastal setbacks, the gross area of any coastal parcel will be significantly less than the net buildable area remaining after those set back areas are deducted..

Therefore, with regard to alienated coastal property sales to non-belongers in particular, if one half acre of net buildable area were to be available for residential land purchases instead of one half acre of gross site area, we would reinforce our up-market positioning as the average price per coastal transaction would increase as non-belongers could purchase larger parcels of land. Would they? Based on my experience, yes-most investors are less price sensitive than site sensitive, and would spend more money for more property.

But with every benefit comes an obligation-in particular, with larger alienated coastal parcels, non-belongers should be required to increase building size or grandeur and (more importantly) should be required to guarantee coastal access to belongers. If the increase in required building size is less than the increase in the preferred site size, the result will be additional open land--and on that open land foot paths to the coast and rest areas along the coast should be established..

For example, "shared" fences on alienated land (whereby two adjoining land owners share one fence between their properties) should be prohibited-fences on alienated property should be set back from the property line leading to the sea far enough to ensure that there is a viable path to the coast. In the same vein, "cul-de-sac" preserves on alienated land (where there is an additional arc of open space at the end of these paths) should be required-fences on alienated property should provide an extra area of usable space at the coast to ensure enjoyment of the sea..

Do these requirements unfairly burden the non-belonger? I think not-in fact, they show a courtesy for the non-belonger's desire for increased parcel sizes to ensure that their property does fall prey to suburban subdivision claustrophobia, while showing a courtesy to those of us who live here and worship our access to the coast..

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