CPA refuses Balboa Beach plans but work rolls on

| 08/09/2020 | 94 Comments
  • Cayman News Service
  • Cayman News Service

(CNS): The Balboa Beach project, which was heard by the Central Planning Authority last week as the owners sought approval for after-the-fact as well as new work at the waterfront site, received a mixed response from the board. A concrete slab on the ironshore that had neither planning permission nor a coastal works licence was approved, but new requests were denied, as were other past infractions. However, despite the lack of approval, work continues at the site.

The relatively small downtown waterfront property has a controversial and complex planning history. But it is now raising serious questions in the community as people are unable to fathom why, after so many compliance violations and unheeded enforcement notices, the work continues and there are no apparent consequences.

The minutes of last week’s planning meeting outlining the decisions on the application by Waterfront Central Ltd, the company making the application on land, which is owned by Kel Thompson, will not be available to the public until later next week.

However, a new application to fill in more land has been denied and the planning department said it is still investigating work that has been done without permission as well as work that is underway now. Officials at the department said it was not yet clear from the CPA what will happen regarding the after-the-fact application for filling in the water, although further filling and the new dock application were denied.

While applications relating to the site have often been denied and at least five enforcement notices issued over the last few years, there have never been any consequences and landowners nearby are fuming.

Chris Johnson, who owns the neighbouring plot and has been trying to keep his waterfront stretch as natural as possible, has made an application to the Planning Appeals Tribunal challenging the original substantive approval for this project. That case is expected to be heard next month.

Although the site is identified as a tourism rental outfit, Johnson told CNS that he believes the owners are seeking to turn the location into a bar. Given its proximity to the Sandbar Daiquiri Bar and Grill, the latest liquor licensed premises on that downtown stretch of waterfront, patrons to that bar are already spilling over onto the Balboa deck, one of the many elements of the project that has been subject to either an enforcement notice or after-the-fact permission.

Johnson believes that the CPA has been “hoodwinked and misled because none of the applications mentioned a bar”, though it seems that is where the project is heading. “I asked that the meeting be adjourned and that a fresh application be made in order that all adjoining landowners be appraised of what was taking place, following which they could object or otherwise,” he added.

While the application was heard and considered, the issue is by no means over. Construction continues, as do the violations of planning laws, while new and revised applications continue to be made. However, the question of the need for a coastal works application has still not been addressed and the Department of Environment has raised some serious concerns about the project and the failure of the developers to follow the planning legislation. The DoE has recommended that no new planning permission or after-the-fact approvals should be given.

Meanwhile, the Johnson family is pressing ahead with the appeal.

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (94)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Do not worry everyone. There is nothing to see here. The Governor himself has confirmed we are operating at high levels of good governance.

    The only question we should have is “compared to what?”

  2. Anonymous says:

    Called planning. The guy who answered didn’t even know what Balboa Beach was but managed to get a hold of the Planner dealing with the matter and he actually called me back. Kudos.

    Seems because some stuff, as mentioned in the article, was approved and other bits were not so they are now a little confused as to what to do next and the case is in a bit of “limbo”. Everyone there is apparently waiting on Ron Sanderson,Deputy Director, to decide what to do next. Who knows how long that will take…

    • Chris Johnson says:

      All applications except one were turned down. Naturally I will launch an appeal on that one.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Funny that we’ve heard little from the elected members of George Town, and less still from the other likely candidates. They probably hope we don’t ask them for their opinion on all this. God save them from actually doing something for ALL their constituents. Representatives of the people ? Hogwash. In someone else’s pockets more like. Shame on them all.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To everyone upset, the owner of this is Kel Thompson of Thompson Quality Homes… vote with your dollars.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I thought that if you don’t get planning consent you don’t get a certificate of occupancy and if you don’t get a certificate of occupancy, CUC will not connect you to the grid….so how come they are able to operate?

    • Anonymous says:

      money. CPA is laughable corrupt, all they ever do is propose fines after the fact that are so small in the comparison to the ententes they are fining that they are meaningless.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Central Planning Authority – CPA

    Can’t Protect Anything
    Can Play Along
    Caymanians Plugging All’of’us
    Criminals Protected Always
    Construction Promised Afterdefact

    Anyone else have a better meaning for the CPA?

  7. Anonymous says:

    He makes a complete mockery to the system and still gets approval?

    That whole area in the sea is nasty now when it used to be clear and you could see the tarpon.

    If planning doesn’t step up to the plate and shut this fool down they are simply setting the precedent to go ahead break the laws destroy the environment and then ask for approval after.

    Once the environment is gone. It is gone for good.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your last sentence is so true and lost on those in power but they don’t care. Quick buck snatch and grab.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This idiot is destroying the clear waters in that area because of his illegal activities. If planning or DOE doesn’t do something then that says it all.

    Fine this idiot. Clean up the mess he made at his

    • Anonymous says:

      And suspend/revoke the license of the companies that did work there for knowingly doing illegal work and fine them as well.

  9. Big Pappa says:

    Wonder why so many don’t follow the laws of the islands? Look no further… Until they start enforcing the smallest of laws, like in Singapore, where if you step a bit too far out of line you get caned, everyone is going to do as they please. Set the tone with a good caning of some of the top politicians (no names required), and work your way down, until you see people acting far more civilized (including the wanna be gangstas). Apparently one caning convinces most that they want absolutely nothing to do with another. And if one isn’t enough, so be it, they step out of line again, and you repeat.

    • Big Bobo says:

      A perfect example of Caymanian entitlement. Those who are entitled here do not have to follow any laws. So many examples in the Cayman Islands but particularly related to land / real estate development.

      Sad to say, I really think we have lost our way and need direct rule.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Now if I was the owner of the property next to Al fresco who was effectively shamed by the media into sorting out the road in front of their house, I’d be following this story VERY carefully. Let’s see if Sandbar (which I’ll be boycotting along with Coral Beach and it’s woman beating patrons) will receive preferential treatment.

    • Anonymous says:

      7.32 big difference between owners of property next to Al Fresco , and Balboa and Coral beach owners.
      The former cares about either public opinion, the law, or just plain doing the right thing. The latter couldn’t give a damn about any of those things.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Okay I’m ready to sit in on this construction site until they follow the law. Any activist ready to protect our environment? Why should we watch developers do this? No work should commence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Developers riding in on the backs of sell out Caymanians have ruined these Islands for Caymanian future generations.

      Why it’s still called “Cayman Islands” still baffles me.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Amazing that there is no coverage in the Compass. Thanks Wendy for covering this.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anyone ever thought of thanking Chris Johnson for his efforts. It rather seems no one ever helped him in his objections. Looks like he is a lone soldier.

  14. Say it like it is says:

    Just look at his Trolley Roger a danger and an obstruction to traffic, yawing from side to side accross the road and proceeding at a walking pace whilst dozens of cars are held up behind it. Nobody else would get that contraption licenced to carry all those overweight tourists and hold up traffic.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is that the same person? I see that thing and wonder just how in the hell is can possibly be legal to cart tourists around narrow congested roads at rush hour in a moving roadblock. Some of the overtaking manoeuvres caused by that thing are terrifying.

      Now it makes sense- friends in high places.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Some call the neighboring land “natural.” I call it overgrown and unsightly!

    • Chris Johnson says:

      I agree . The land next door does not look good. Guess what? It is owned by the Thompson family. Last year I cut back the unsightly bushes because the Thompsons would not do so. I guess I will have to do it again. As the fishermen have relocated I asked them to remove the remaining poles as they pose a danger in any hurricane. The general idea is to tidy up what is known as Red Spot Bay for people to enjoy the area and leave one piece of ironshore undeveloped and not used as a bar!

      • Anonymous says:

        Shame those in power don’t share your principle of trying to retain a degree of Caribbean charm to these lands rather than turn them into mini-Miami.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is the part of the story where the RCIPS is supposed to arrest the owner of the property.

    • Anonymous says:

      The RCIP is off trying to convince us that rum and beer make knives appear in our pockets. They are not interested in unlawful conduct in government. They do not even seem to notice it when it is openly reported in the press.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Oh please!

    Face it, folks, CAYMAN is as crooked as it can be. The current government owes its position to the insiders and the “True Caymanians” (i.e. the voters) so it is going to allow them to do whatever they want. So long as they keep financing and electing the incumbents.

    Just in case your haven’t noticed, CAYMAN is run just like the USA, where all the ELITES and INSIDERS get all the perks and whatever they want, and the rest of us get the bill.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is called the power of few with money. Watch “Ethos” documentary. Cayman is no different.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is sooo disgusting! Kelly should know better than flaunting the laws of the land. The concrete pad should be destroyed by Government to show Kel that they mean business.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is he related to ALT; you know the Chairman of the CPA?

      If so, I suspect this will just be something to pacify us temporarily given the conflict of interest had they granted it…..No doubt it will be granted in the coming months.

      • Anonymous says:

        All you hypocrites go sit down. Where were your cries when the CPA denied DART’s monstrosity of tunnels that go nowhere only to retract their decision? Where was your disgust when the burkes illegally cleared tracts of mangroves a few months ago with no consequence? What about imparato removing the beach rock from rum point with no CPA approval? Y’all seem to be very selective who you protest against…..

  19. Anonymous says:

    Why would anyone obey other laws, regulations and orders? Just do what you feel like.

    • Covid Man says:

      The Cayman Islands – the best island money can buy!!!!

      • Anonymous says:


        The same is everywhere, especially in the US. Only at a much larger scale and affects the entire world and every living human on planet Earth.

        “In true Silicon Valley fashion, Musk and his team didn’t consult broadly with scientists, astronomers or ethicists about what launching 12,000 satellites into space might mean.”

        “When I first saw the images that some astronomers put online, all these things, going overhead as bright as the brightest stars, I had just an immediate sensation of panic, because of the implication,” said Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The panic was so severe that Musk and his team tried to quell everyone’s worry….”

        “The Federal Communications Commission provided the licenses for SpaceX’s launch, but there is no U.S. government agency that regulates light pollution. There is no Committee to Protect Against Disruption of the Night Sky that is tasked with considering these types of effects.’


  20. Anonymous says:

    Now let some average Joe go and try build a chicken run. Planning will be there to drop the hammer on them!!!! To the FULL extend of the Law. Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Damn str8!

    • Anonymous says:

      The poorer class of people are hammered through the ground, if they try to put a nail into a piece of wood, but the elites can do whatever they want to. Money, pigmentation and who you know, mean a lot when it comes to planning.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The board has developers on it and a guy that sells them all their hardware. Waste of time. XXXXX

    The Caymanians on that board that are approving everything and allowing this island to become a concrete jungle should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Anonymous says:

      And when they are done they will all retreat to the UK because global warming will destroy this place after humans do.

    • Anonymous says:

      1.35 Should, could, would but aren’t and never will be. The almighty dollar will see to that.

    • Anonymous says:

      From long time. This is not a new revaluation.
      Unfortunately, Caymanians do not understand the word ‘corruption’ so this is normal to them. They also cannot imagine one of their own people doing something that is detrimental to the island and their environment.
      So the rich get richer and the rest of them bleat about it.

    • Cayman Attorney says:

      When you break the law you could go to prison, unless you have made deals with the authorities that assure you that there will be no legal action taken.

      Note: These deals may not be possible in a law-abiding country.

    • Anonymous says:

      To give an idea of some of those in the CPA:

      Bob Watler has acres of land – some of which he has developed like the Lakes @ Poindexter.

      Kris Bergstrom and his wife run a real estate agency (Edgewater) and are developing The Meadows. I think they also might have had a light tap on the wrist for tearing down mangroves without consent.

      Mr. Roland Bodden runs a land surveying company

      These are just the ones I am aware of but try and tell me they can be impartial.

      • Anonymous says:

        I concur. They aren’t environmentally savvy but controlled by greed and they have no place on the board.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What was that the Governor said about the rule of law being upheld by the government? Amazed Balbaoa beach even bothers applying anymore since they clearly don’t give a damn as to what the outcome is. What on earth are the enforcement options, and why aren’t they being enforced?

  23. Cheese Face says:

    Shut em down now please CIG, NOW!

    • Anonymous says:

      Just another day in the whacky private sector. Don’t worry CIG to the rescue

      • Anonymous says:

        Nope. The wacky private sector is pleading with you to apply all laws equally and effectively to everyone. All day, every day. You are failing miserably.

      • Hubert says:

        What 2:01? You don’t get it. The CIG should be applying the law here not the private sector.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t waste your breath, Cheese. CIG isn’t going to shut themselves down!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Boycott this guy’s business’s. What an example of CaymanKind! If you can’t get the cruise ship dock to ruin the harbour, Kel Thompson will do it for you!

  25. Anonymous says:

    One rule for the rich and another for the poor.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Forfeit the land to the crown

  27. Anonymous says:

    Exactly what I was thinking when I started reading the article. Why have a Planning Authority if everyone can do exactly as they like with no consequences.

    • Anonymous says:

      We should simply defund them, and the anti corruption commission, aspects of the police, trade and business licensing, and immigration.

      They appear to serve no purpose.

  28. Anonymous says:

    If a government body allows this to continue, then what is the point of having the Authority continue in its role. What will prevent me filling in another stretch of waterfront, and building on it, contrary to rules, laws and directives ? Ah yes, money must be changing hands. Corruption, pure and simple, perhaps accompanied by greed and incompetence. You decide where the accusations lie.

  29. Anonymous says:

    How many foreign nationals are actually being paid, in broad daylight, to break the laws of the Cayman Islands? How is a contractor even able to work without permissions in place? We are a joke. We are corrupt. Legge was right!

    Governor????? Please explain! We are glad you stepped in to enforce the rule of law for gay rights. What about almost everything else?????

    • Anonymous says:

      Why the foreign national cut? Because its culturally allright for Caymanians to break their own laws but not expats(foreign nationals). This is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak of Caymanians not following the laws and can always count on the Government to give them a pass. We all know thats how its done here. corruption is endemic here.

      • Anonymous says:

        For size and population Cayman is the most corrupt place in the world

        • Anonymous says:

          Brac or Grand?

        • Anonymous says:

          12.48 Sub-Saharan despots look at Cayman with envy. They wish they could be as bent as us.

        • Anonymous says:

          And today we are witnessing the potential death of the Cayman Compass in direct consequence of them taking an editorial position by which they pointed out the truth. The change in the immigration law to no longer require advertising for jobs was intentional. The consequences anticipated. The Governor grins. The Commissioner says the crime situation is stable.

          We are screwed.

          • Anonymous says:

            The Compass had an unsustainable business model that relied on a gravy train of ads for Work Permit renewals. it was effectively another tax on Cayman businesses.

            The rest of the world moved online for those types of advertisements over 20 years ago. In theory the change to an online portal should make the system better. I say in theory because, well you know…

        • It'sTheGlobalSystem. says:

          12:48pm. History has taught us, Western CORRUPTION began in England (Europe in general) some migrated to USA, Caribbean and rest of the world.

          The history books ans the secret files will tell you.

          Currently the UK fails to yield to the UN and ICJ concerning the Chagos islands and then come to Cayman talking about “Rule of Law”?

          Dispite the issues which are present anywhere there are “clubs” and “capitalism”, But easily observed because of our size, CAYMAN is still MUCH better than where migrants come from or they would NOT be here.
          Give thanks and continue to root out the “clubs”.

          Only Jesus Christ will totally end this global corruption.

      • Anonymous says:

        No. It is just ironic that our immigration authorities appear to have issued licenses to foreign work crews to break our laws.

    • Anonymous says:

      Home rule is the only way to go. Things are totally out of control politically now. There is no enforcement of basic laws.

  30. Mary's Little Lamb says:

    The bleatings will continue until morals improve…

  31. Robert Mugabe IV says:

    Nothing changes in Cayman. Same old story, the rich doing whatever they want, wherever they want. The CPA/Planning Board is a cesspit. Caymanians who run businesses of any kind should never be allowed on any board, especially planning. Talk about conflicts of interests. They only have teeth they use when it suits them and their friends, often driven by personal agendas and dislikes of certain individuals.
    It’s laughable that most Caymanians blame ‘foreigners’ for all the development over the years and ruining the ‘Pearl of the Caribbean’ Give me a break!!
    We Caymanians only have ourselves to blame, our greed has destroyed what the Island was, we Caymanians sold the land to the ‘foreigners’, we Caymanians let the rich Caymanians and ‘foreigners’ alike build whatever and wherever.

  32. Anonymous says:

    So who owns sandbar? I won’t give any money to balboa beach people.

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