Sunday 17 August 2008

CAB probes shadowy company's zoning bid

The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) is examining a new rezoning submission by the mysterious Jackson Way Properties, which is already the subject of a freezing order for unjust enrichment after the Flood tribunal heard allegations that Frank Dunlop had bribed Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors.

The submission emerged last week when Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council published 281 submissions from developers for residential and office developments worth billions of euro as part of the County Development Plan 2010-2016.

Town-planning consultancy firm Kiaran O'Malley & Co Ltd made the submission on behalf of Jackson Way Properties, but would not comment on Friday when asked on whose personal behalf it was acting. The tribunal linked businessman Jim Kennedy and English solicitor John Caldwell to the 70-acre site, which was rezoned in 1992. Frank Dunlop alleged to the Flood tribunal that he had bribed two Dun Laoghaire councillors in order to get the lands rezoned from agricultural to use for apartments and offices.

This increased the value of the lands from around €10m to €63m. After an investigation by cab, the High Court agreed this had been the result of corruption and that the increased value was a result of "unjust enrichment". A freeze was put on the development or disposal of the lands.

Part of the Jackson Way lands at Carrickmines in south Co Dublin were taken over by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Council for roadworks around the M50, and lawyers acting on behalf of the company sought compensation of €113m for the loss of the 20 acres. However, an independent arbitrator decided the amount of compensation should be €12.5m. The compensation has not been paid and if the county council were to attempt to pay the money, CAB would step in and take the cheque as part payment, according to garda sources.

The submission on behalf of Jackson Way states that Dun Laoghaire should, under its forthcoming development plan, zone the lands for "E" use (economic development and employment). The submission contains drawings and proposals for a mixed use of offices, shops and apartments.

Jackson Way proposes "to create a local neighbourhood hub proximate to what would become a four-armed roundabout on the Glenamuck Road/LAP connect road", the submissions states. It also states that if the draft plan for the county "changes appreciably", Jackson Way "may be obliged" to appeal this.

It states: "Having regard to the above, the council is invited to agree to our clients' submission and to rezone their land at Carrickmines for land-use zoning objective E (economic development and employment) or a variant of it with perhaps a few additions to the list of permitted uses and/or the promotion of certain open-for-consideration uses in the zoning objectives matrix."

The 281 submissions which were lodged in June contain applications from some of the biggest developers in the country. Despite the downturn in the property market it seems the big developers have an eye to another boom.

Treasury Holdings has huge plans for lands it owns in Stillorgan and Rathmichael. It is still looking for permission for a major development at Stillorgan, where it owns the shopping centre and adjoining sites, and has 41 acres at Rathmichael, where it wants to do a major development.

The submissions also contain one from the National Roads Agency, which wants Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown to make provision for the eastern bypass, which has been under consideration for almost two decades. The proposal is to link the Port Tunnel with another major tunnel beneath Dublin Bay, going under Booterstown and emerging either at Stillorgan or continuing on to the M50.

There are a considerable number of submissions from residents' groups and individuals complaining that the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area has been the subject of unrestricted over-development in recent years.

Sunday Independent

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