Approval sought for 2-year-old shoreline work

| 08/10/2019 | 62 Comments
Cayman News Service
Beach habitat being dug up in North Side

(CNS): More than two years after a developer, without permission, ripped up a slice of the North Side shoreline close to a turtle nesting area, he is now seeking after the fact approval for the assault on the coast. According to the Central Planning Authority agenda, to be heard Wednesday, the Rum Point Club is seeking to avoid “costly legal proceedings” and is suggesting it relocate the ironshore it ripped up to another area on the site.

The CPA originally granted planning permission for the hotel-condo resort in the Rum Point area more than ten years ago. In August 2017 works began on the site. But when people spotted the heavy equipment on the beach, the local MLA and the environment and planning departments were all alerted and an enforcement notice was issued.

CNS reported on the situation after readers sent us the captured images of the work going on, and government officials confirmed that no permission had ever been granted for the shoreline work. However, the landowner, Joe Imperatto, who has been behind many tourism-related developments over the years in Cayman, is seeking to regularize the situation now that the tourism development is nearing completion.

In a letter to the CPA, lawyers acting for the developer asked for an after-the-fact shoreline modification approval. The letter suggests that the beach work was carried out over a period of one day “above the High Water Mark”, and the client believed he was carrying out beach landscaping work, not modifying the shoreline, to help sell the condos.

“The intention was to remove the top of exposed sharp outcrops of rocks above the high water mark, smooth them over and cover them with sand from the same beach,” the letter states, adding that work was stopped within a day of commencement after calls from the planning department and the issuing of the enforcement notice.

“Our client stopped works in accordance with the enforcement notice but has never applied for a Shoreline Modification to continue as they felt that it would be fruitless given the negative press received and they had consequently chosen not to proceed with the works,” the lawyers wrote, adding that they were now seeking approval and that no further rock smoothing work was being requested.

The Department of Environment, which had raised its concerns at the time of the breach of the planning laws, pointed out in its submission to the CPA that the “spreading of excavated sand deposits on the beach had covered the ironshore and taking measures to reinstate the original shoreline configuration would likely cause further impact”.

Pointing out that the area is an active turtle nesting beach, no construction work, vehicle access, storage of equipment, materials or other operations should take place there during turtle nesting season, which lasts until the end of November, without DoE’s say so. The department also repeated concerns about a 20ft wide geotextile fire lane that was installed on the beach, stating that it should be removed or at least moved out of the 75ft coastal setback.

“Artificial structures and surfacing create barriers for nesting turtles and may result in nests being laid closer to the high water mark, increasing the risk for the nest to be impacted by the sea,” the marine life experts added.

There is no indication on the planning agenda whether or not the landowner incurred any consequences for the unlawful works, and planning officials have indicated that the CPA will be considering both the merits of the applicant’s request and the DoE’s comments.


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Category: development, Land Habitat, Local News, Science & Nature

Comments (62)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Once again, DOE is hindering the rights of lawful land owners. Knock it off!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Someone needs to protect the land that you think is so abundant. Go crawl back under the rock you came out of to comment so ignorantly. After all that rock might not be there for that much longer …so enjoy your home while it lasts.

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      • Doeth says:

        I do not understand. Someone is not telling the truth. If it is ironshore and he is knocking of the tops, this is not sand and i know turtles do not crawl up on Iron shore. DOE need to start telling the truth.

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      • Tom Rich says:

        what was the outcome on RPC request? Penalty ? Fine?

  2. Anonymous says:

    This same developer is building a condo complex at the old Dolphin Point site at NW Point West Bay. If you look closely at the plans, there is a man made beach that will be created by destroying/obliterating the ironshore.

    Same developer, same intention!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    This is the guy who wanted to dynamite High Rock and build an oil tanker transshipment port.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Easier to beg for forgiveness than ask permission

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  5. Right ya so says:

    We all know that this wouldn’t have been dealt with by the developer if the opening of the development didn’t hinge on the fact that he won’t pass inspection & be granted a CoO if he hasn’t addressed all issues.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Imparato is also seeking Cabinet approval for a large dock at this location and has erected official looking signs on the beach claiming that it is a “watersports area” whatever that is. We live 6 house lots away and never get notice of any of this. I don’t mind the condos but hate the mistreatment of the beach.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Where is the National Trust now I wonder? Their silence on this matter tells us all we need to know.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What do you think they can say TWO YEARS after the fact?

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    • Nadia Hardie says:

      Please understand the law – The National Trust has NO legal standing to object as it’s not an adjacent landowner. We are held to the same standards as the public. We can only object through our seat on the National Conservation Council. The same goes for the Beach Bay development. We do wish it was otherwise.

      We need to hold Planning accountable for not enforcing the rules or permitting this. Why are there never any consequences for illegally clearing or these types of actions?

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      • Anonymous says:

        So, bring a judicial review to hold department menus of government accountable. You have the legal standing to do so.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The fine should go to the company that did the work without seeing that approval had been requested and granted.
    Once you threaten the working man, I would guarantee that the rules would be followed.

    It should be one of their responsibilities anyway. How/why are you going to tear something up just cuz somebody told you to???

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    • Anonymous says:

      Once again the locals getting the hard end of the stick with trying to get food on the table for their family.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Ezzard, you need to speak up on this..It affects your district and your beaches..The Unity Government team and the Planning board will simply rubber stamp this through…

    When will we stop rewarding this type of behavior by developers???

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    • Anonymous says:

      This kind of stuff will only stop when every able bodied person who resides on this little 2×4 rock come out in full force and stand, march hinder, block this crap from taking place. We need to get all up in there business and take a bold stand whenever these unlawful things happen.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    “After the fact” applications should not exist. It defeats the purpose of following a proper application system. If Government will allow and encourage these after the fact applications, then there is no reason for an application process. They will only encourage non-compliance!

    Any developer who commences work without the appropriate application should be at risk of never ever getting approval!

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Agree wholeheartedly. I am told that this happens on a regular basis on the Brac with a well-known company. I don’t know that for a fact myself. I do know this: If ATF removal of ironshore, fill, or any other bulldozing happens as a planned thing, clearly that company should be censured, and not just the light paddling that is often apparent.

      I have family there, and they said that all one has to do is look at the DCB minutes to see the regular offender. I know, I know, “cool story, bro.”

  11. Anonymous says:

    I say FINE them. We need to do better at conserving and protecting our environment.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      From what I understand, there is already a fining system in place, that is a multiple of the original planning fee. I don’t think that’s enough, especially for repeat offenders.

      “Relocate the ironshore.” Riiiiiight. Just stack it up like firewood and call it good. Why are we tolerating this?

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      • Anonymous says:

        CI$500,000 or 4 years in prison, or both, is the maximum environmental offence penalty under the NCL.
        So DOE get off your backsides and enforce the law.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    There should be inmediate VERY high fines for this and any other works fine without spproval. No ifs ands ir buts.

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  13. Mervyn Cumber says:

    This is rather sad, I recall in 1964/65 when Dr Roy McTaggart was building the new By-Rite Supermarket. My now late father,then newly arrived administrator of the Islands was informed correctly by Government officials that Dr Roy did not have planning permission for this project. Letters were sent to Dr Roy telling him to stop construction until he had the required permission. He ignored all attempts for him do do so. I say this now, because in present day development that is not right by law this is what happened. My late father got Pete Tibbetts, head ot the PWD to come to the site with a Government bulldozer. Dr Roy was called to attend the site. He was told in no uncertain terms to stop, or the Government dozer would flatten the site. He stopped the construction and sought his required planning permission. I remind you, this was 1965. Why should this approach change now? I think we all know, but any after the act planning applications are farcical to say the least and they should be denied and action threatened as it was in this case many years ago. Sombody, help our Islands!

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    • Heller says:

      First of all Himparato should be made to pay a hefty hefty fine for his @ctions without the required permission. Secondly he should pay another hefty hefty fine for destroying Turtle nesting area, last.y he should be made to write and publish a letter of apology in all local media. This will serve as a deterrent to all who believe that their money makes them immune to our laws.

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      • Anonymous says:

        He won’t have to pay anything because he is a tourism pioneer. Bless you Mr. Imparato and all your 1st class developments.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mervyn, thst was before oodles of money was passing under the table. These greedy soulless people would allow their own mothers to be ravished and butchered if they could get a bundle out of it.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hey Roper. You there? Any of this mean anything to you?

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        • Anonymous says:

          White, with one sugar, please.

        • Anonymous says:

          None of it matters until something is done about who sits on the central planning board. They all have vested interests and they all got a back to get scratched and the rich just get richer… rightful landowners, respectable developers or not, these people have no need to be greedy for more than they have just to throw their country to the dogs and make it impossible for a regular person (like they or their parents once were) to afford a decent abode these days. Even “affordable housing” is being scooped up quickly by those trying to get their status points and driving young people out of the market. What’s happening is only attracting a certain demographic and it is destroying this country…for what? When is enough enough? Our children will never be able to afford to raise their kids here. We’re living in a fake bubble of neverending prosperity and what worse at the cost of destroying our “product”, the environment, our home. The people we are attracting have other homes and countries and families to go back to when the bubble bursts..what will happen to those who only have Cayman? How can we change how this country is run?

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      We must help ourselves. Our culture has historically been somewhat passive and nonconfrontational. It is time for me, you, us to step up and define that which we choose to set the standard for our future.

      Lovely platitudes, right? Sure. We must insist on collective change that reflects our majority wishes. For the good of our children, and theirs.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We all know how this will end. It’s just a matter of FOI g through the motions to give the appearance of some sort of accountability.

    Why isn’t the DoE up in arms about this?? Not just with a statement but actual action?!!!

    Double standard.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Did you look at the link to when the work actually happened 2 years ago?

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    • Anonymous says:

      He made the mistake of not being Dart .

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    • Anonymous says:

      Because they broke Planning not DOE law? This is purely a planning issue.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The waterside is a friggin’ national park in case you didn’t know.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Unlike a sand beach, property ownership goes to the edge of the iron shore. So yes, despite this being a Marine Park, (which local Caymanians have destroyed through poaching) it is a planning matter. If I remember the story rightly, it was DOE officers who found the infringement before planning and informed them so action could be taken. Someone needs to take a long hard look at the entire planning process and enforce the law.

      • Anonymous says:

        Planning not DOE? Breaking a law is just breaking the law. If that is all you can defend them on you might as well stop.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Honestly it’s never good to do damage to the environment no matter who it is, but caymanians are the biggest hypocrites. Dart group can do as they please with not one protest or challenge for years, yet everyone is quick to jump on this developers case for such a simple matter.

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    • Joe says:

      That’s not a fair comment. Dart makes sure they go through all the hoops and tick all the boxes before going ahead with projects. The public might not always agree with the projects but Dart spends a lot of time and money to ensure they have the legal approvals

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again….Damage it as much as possible then go back and get Planning to give you an “after the fact” approval..I say hell no! This developer has done tones of projects on Cayman and he knows the rules.

    CPA please stop rewarding this type of behavior..Remember the Turner house and the Marriott pool on SMB? This is what “after the fact” approvals do for our beaches…

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  17. Anonymous says:

    He’ll get it watch and see because money is king in this country. Too bad we locals don’t have it in the quantity these foreigners do.

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    • Anonymous says:

      North Siders should sue this Developer and have pay to restore what he has damaged. Why should he get away with this and in turn make millions of dollars of the backs of the envorinment and the future generations of residents. After he makes his money and the problems of his actions starts to surface, who will pay for this? I look at this traffic problem everyday and guess who is now charged with fixing it? Our government. Who pays the government? We do! Where are the Developers who created this mess now?

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      • Anonymous says:

        The fines should equal the profits. That is the only fair way to deal with these things, unless an honest mistake was made. Should be fairly easy to determine. Any other approach allows persons to profit from breaking the law.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The CPA will cave on this one just like they recently caved to the prominent owner of another property in Cayman Kai who intentionally built a fence higher than approved – after having been specifically directed to lower the planned fence height by the CPA in order to receive approval.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Money talks in Cayman.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    Fine. Fine. Fine. A big one. A message needs to be sent to ALL to abide by the laws as this continues to happen.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    There was a time that you could always count on gorgeous clear water around Rum Point. After multiple disappointing day trips over the last 4 years, I no longer take visiting family and friends there. There is no doubt that the loss of water clarity is directly related to the unchecked development of the area.

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  21. Anonymous says:

    No Certificate of Occupancy should be granted. Fines should be levied. Without real consequences the intentional disregard for our laws will continue.

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