The Development Application Board (DAB) has approved plans to upgrade facilities at Tobacco Bay in St George’s.

The proposal also includes plans to improve accessibility to the popular beach.

According to a report by a technical officer for the DAB: “These grounds are considered reasonable and acceptable to justify the board’s use of discretion.

“Additionally, the proposed additional site coverage of the roof extends over an existing deck, meaning there is no additional site coverage outside of the existing developed area, and therefore there are no additional negative impacts on the coastal reserve,” the report added.

“Furthermore, the existing shipping container, which is used for storage and partly within the nature reserve, will be removed from the site as the proposal will result in more storage within the building.

“Also, the garbage dumpsters will be moved beyond the nature reserve. The nature reserve will then be landscaped according to the landscape plan submitted, which is a conservation gain.”

A rendering of the proposed renovated concession at Tobacco Bay

The application, submitted by concession operators Beach Boys Ltd, includes the creation of accessible shower facilities and additional bathroom stall, with increased bar space and a rooftop viewing deck.

One objector however, raised concerns regarding “discarded items, shipping containers and other miscellaneous items” at the site.

But the developer said that the project would remove the need for containers by expanding storage.

It was also noted that staff work daily to clear the beach of debris and any waste that washes up at the beach.

“They feel it is a chore worth their while to help keep Bermuda beautiful. But make no mistake, it is an ongoing effort,” the applicant wrote.

The new roof proposed would increase site coverage by 825 square feet, which exceeds the planning policy limit of 250sq ft.

On that note, the applicant stated that the extension would cover an existing concrete deck surrounded by three existing permanent walls, with the accessibility ramp to protect ramp users from the elements.

The technical officer also stated in the report that larger expansions can be allowed with the discretion of the DAB, and this case represented such discretion.

“While it can be argued that the proposed site coverage exceeds what can be considered as a minor variance, in this case it is warranted for a tourist development, particularly when the majority of proposed development is sited within the existing developed footprint,” the report added.