WB home owner ordered to address landscaping issue

| 21/01/2020 | 42 Comments

(CNS): The persistent efforts of a member of the Concern Citizens Group to get public officials to address an encroachment of landscaping into the road at a large new house in West Bay has led planning to order the owners to remove the features, otherwise they will not be allowed to move into the home. Ezmie Smith wrote to officials before Christmas after trees and rocks appeared outside the property on Mary Mollie Hydes Road, causing more concern about the house, described as well-oversized for its footprint.

The issue was reported on Cayman News Service on 23 December and attracted almost 100 comments. Many related to the increasingly wide public perception that developers appear to have a free rein and no one in government has the will to stop the runaway development on Cayman’s coast line.

But despite the news report, Smith had no response to her correspondence about the plants, trees, shrubs and large rocks blocking local beach access parking, which she said was adding to the existing congestion in the area that is close to the popular beachfront Alfresco Restaurant.

So, on Sunday evening, a month later, Smith tried again and sent another email to planning.

This time she received an immediate response from Ron Sanderson, the deputy director of the planning department, who confirmed that her concerns and those of other West Bay residents were well founded. Sanderson said that staff from the departments had met with the owner’s architect on site and verified that the landscaping features were, in fact, within the public road reserve.

“Subsequently, there was discussion with the Director of Planning and the applicant’s architect was then advised that a Certificate of Occupancy would not be issued for the house until the trees, rocks and landscaping were removed from the public road reserve.

Following the receipt of the email, Smith told CNS that she now hoped the necessary action would be taken immediately to remove all the obstructions. Her colleague in the Concerned Citizen Group, Annie Moulton, also welcomed the response from planning, adding, “Thank God somebody is listening and doing something for the benefit of the Caymanian people.”

Smith had originally raised concerns over the obstructions because of the potential dangers. She was worried that nothing would be done until there was a serious accident. Smith warned in her second letter that if planning did not take action, the “the group and other concerned” residents did not “intend to sit back and let the matter fade away”.

Smith, Moulton and Alice Mae Coe have dedicated the last few years to addressing the growing problem of inaccessibility to Cayman’s beaches.

Beachfront development and traditional roads, pathways and other access points are being blocked for a variety of reasons. Government is dragging its heels over the issue in general but specifically it is preventing the preservation of existing access points.

With the loss of literally hundreds of rights of way that should have been protected on the land registry, the women have been involved in a long running battle to get these access points properly secured. They are now pursuing the failure of the land registrar to formally document these points in the courts.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Slum ghettos all around, rental properties too disgusting to be rented but are, single resident homes being expanded to create multiple rental units piling up garbage to be picked up for free, garages all over the place fixing always breaking down cars that should be junked, public road shoulders used as storage for junk cars used for scrap, I could go on…..which of our political representatives will call this mess out? Maybe MLA Mr Kenneth Bryan will be brave enough to drive through the road between Eastern Ave junction and roundabout by Al T’s Home Depot and have a word with his constituents in that area about keeping Cayman clean and having pride in your surroundings….. Same issue in many other areas of George Town and other districts. Anyone else sees the continuing degradation of our local environs?

    Hope after the cruise port has been permanently stopped, the CPR can evolve and take up some of these other environmental/planning issues….

  2. Anonymous says:

    Who insured that house? Good luck.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This house looks extremely close to both the road and water. I am really curious to know what are the set back? And did they meet the setback?

    • Anonymous says:

      What they did was get a ‘fixed boundary survey’ when the beach was wide which, since CIG is feckless, means they can claim their boundary is still out in the sea even when the beach retreats, which means you can build closer to the water without breaching your setbacks. Also works well on mangrove coastlines. Get the boundary to the seaward extent of the red mangrove growing in the sea, then bulldoze fill out to that point regardless of where the coastline really is. (Don’t know what they did for their other setbacks in this case.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    In all of the 28 years I have been on this island, I have always realized that Caymanians do nothing about anything. Mostly because they do not think it would make a difference. They talk about their people being crabs in a bucket and having their heads in the sand about what goes on around them. They’ve let each successive government sell them out and make decisions for them that are not in their best interests. They keep voting in the same ol’ guard to do the same ol’ things. Big things too! So that they can leave a legacy behind, that’s all that is!! Even voted themselves the ‘Honorary’ title FOR LIFE. It would be funny if it weren’t so horrible and ridiculous.

    Now finally and hopefully, you will see that you indeed CAN do something about anything!!

    Contractors tearing up mangroves w/o permission
    Planning permission guidelines not followed
    Not enforcing Planning Permissions
    Not withholding the law for all
    Not enforcing the law for all

    The list is too long and I need to get back to work. But basically, I hope this shows Caymanians that you CAN stand up for what you believe in and you CAN make a difference!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    How about that deadly wall in South Sound next to Cayman Crossing/ the board walk??? Are we going to wait until someone dies before it is moved back a few feet?

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious how it was approved to be built so close to the street… I understand why the homeowner tried to put a “buffer” up from side view mirror scraping the stone wall

  7. Anonymous says:

    Honestly? I could have (perhaps) let the plants slide – to a certain extent – since they were the only thing beautiful about this monstrosity of a house.

    What really got to me was the placement of boulders right beside the house as if to say “Shoo shoo peasants, don’t you dare park your cheap vehicle next to my tangible showcase of wealth”. The arrogance of whoever it was, whether architect or homeowner to build this mansion right alongside a public road/beach and try to put up barricades to prevent/impede the public from driving/parking (on public road) is astonishing.

    If they wanted privacy, there are a ton of high end neighborhoods in Cayman that they could have purchased next to the water smh.

  8. Anonymous says:

    They should be required to build a sidewalk in front of their house, same with the mansions going up on NW Point Road!! Leave those palm trees, take away the big boulders and other plants… at least the palm trees will cover the ugly monstrosity of the house!!

  9. Brian Tomlinson says:

    It’s too bad Planning and the NRA didn’t respond to similar requests on Sand Cay Rd at Rum Point a few years ago. Development encroaches into almost every property on that road, Finger Cay Rd. and Water Cay Rd.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It amazes me that this sits square into the West Bay South electoral District with Tara Rivers as the representative and you didn’t hear a peep out of her. she should be ashamed of herself to have Ms. Ezmie have to fight this not only for people in her district but for all of Cayman.

    It is useless politicians like this that need to understand that the people put them there not just to fly around the world racking up frequent flier points but to stand up and represent them particularly when things are staring them right in their face in their own districts.

    It still surprises how people like this get away with tricking or should i say treating their people by throwing a cheap Christmas party and a few turkeys and hams around to ensure votes…Tara was the Education Minister and she failed miserably so that even Alden wasn’t happy but then she was rewarded with the Financial Services ministry for shoring up the Unity Government and now her nose is so far up in the sky she has forgotten her humble beginnings and the people who put her where she is.

  11. Anonymous says:

    yawn…no news here..planning laws enforced…..zzzz
    maybe planning should inspect the slum ghettos of other parts of cayman on a daily basis….

    • Anonymous says:

      When will the private sector get its act together.

      • Anonymous says:

        it does…unlike the public sector …the private sector is held accountable to the law

        • Anonymous says:

          Unless you are the architect or contractor, in which case you did just fine…

        • Anonymous says:

          “held accountable to the law” … by the Civil Service.

          I love how they try to slam the Civil Service but just end up proving the point that the Civil Service is at least as good as the private sector in Cayman.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And once the CO is given, the plants (and more) will be back

  13. Anonymous says:

    And in due course money will change hands and this will all quietly go away? Only time will tell but right now the clock is ticking on Planning – this is a real test of who is (or isn’t?) running these islands.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if planning would have withheld the certificate in the absence of public outcry…

    • Anonymous says:

      nope…there is a reason why CPA carries a big “rubber stamp” usually held by AL’t but sometimes shared around the room…useless set of……… well don’t let me sin my soul with what I think of them..

  15. Anonymous says:

    Next hurricane will solve the problem of this house … never should have been approved

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good job ladies. The Premier now needs to revamp his list of potential heroes and give these three hard working ladies medals on Heroes Day! As for these people who come here and blatantly deliberately break our laws- they need to be jailed then get the hell out of this island. Nobody needs them. I have always tried to be nice to visitors and new residents but recently I am really getting fed up. Who exactly do they think they are. They keep pushing and pushing when they know they are breaking the law. Finally planning is doing something to merit being on the board.

    • Anonymous says:

      But they did not break any laws if the received Planning approval. How can you say they blatantly and deliberately broke the laws when they received approvals?

      • Anonymous says:

        To 5.53 Oh but they did. Just read the article again.

        • Anonymous says:

          I hardly think jail is appropriate for this sort of thing. The planning inspector is the one who should be questioned about why he did not flag this, surely they check to ensure someone builds within their boundary. I would then make fines applicable within the planning law for the builders/ etc who go ahead and do the work they know is not within the approved site plan, as well as the owners, and i don’t mean $5,000, i mean significant fines. Also, we should bring in a license requirement for builders etc and if they don’t have an up to date license they cannot build and get jobs approved by planning or employee people.

        • Anonymous says:

          But did not the original plans that were approved show what they intended to do?

        • Anonymous says:

          Suspect the Planning people did not look closely enough at what they approved.

      • Anonymous says:

        It depends who the applicant’s agent was . Planning board full of draftsmen.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well there goes the neighborhood…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Cayman SheRoes. Give them all a Certificate & Badge of Honor for Services to the Community.

    • Anonymous says:

      God bless these women for standing up for our rights. They have more guts/balls than any of the so called Caymanian men around these days. Now, if only we can get them to take on the protection of Smith Bacadere!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Who is the architect? Was this stuff planned by him or her? Is there any supervision of their conduct?

    • Anonymous says:

      They should be jailed along with the owners of this house. How long do they expect us to put up with this crap.

    • Right ya so says:

      The architect may not have known about this – the blame probably lies more with the homeowner & the landscaper. It’s usually a case of the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing by the time they get to this point. I don’t, in the main, agree with the CPA decisions but this landscaping may not have been included on the plans but it certainly should be caught at the CO stage by the inspector.


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