$2M church planning appeal fails

| 23/11/2020 | 89 Comments
Cayman News Service
The Seventh-day Adventist Church already located in West Bay

(CNS): An appeal by a Seventh-day Adventist congregation to build a new $2 million temple in West Bay failed recently after the Planning Appeals Tribunal agreed with the Central Planning Authority’s original decision. The PAT found that the Berea Seventh-day Adventist Church and its pastor, Maurice Chambers, failed to justify why the community needed it, as required for churches in a residential zone.

When making the application, the church had claimed that its congregation was growing and they wanted a more convenient place of worship than their current temporary location, which is understood to be at the West Bay Primary school. But according to the PAT’s ruling, the representatives never provided any compelling reason why they should be given the green light given the relatively new and substantial SDA church very close by.

Despite getting “every opportunity to be heard” and the chance to submit reasons in writing, the PAT found that the planning application had “failed to demonstrate that a religious temple in the location of this project would serve the needs of the community”, and so the CPA was not wrong when it refused the planing application, the PAT said.

“There were no representations regarding the low density residential neighbourhood zone in which the applicant sought to insert its project,” the PAT said in its ruling, knocking back the efforts of the congregation to build the $2 million church and baptismal pool on Townhall Road.

Despite getting support from Speaker McKeeva Bush, who represents the constituency of West Bay West, when the application was made, other neighbours closer to the site objected. Among a number of problems with the proposal, they pointed out that there were already two other churches in the congested area and a new Seventh-day Church on West Church Street just over a mile away.

The PAT said in its decision that the reasons provided by the CPA left no doubt as to why the application had been refused and the church had known “full well the tests” that had to be met to get a development of this nature in a low density residential neighbourhood zone approved.

“While the religious needs of the community are so strongly relied upon by the Appellant, they do not override any development criteria imposed by the Development and Planning Law and the regulations,” the PAT said. “The CPA did not act unreasonably.”

According to the minutes of the original meeting, it emerged that the nearby existing Seventh-day Adventist church was nowhere near capacity, given that it can hold up to 500 people but had a congregation of just 300. However, Pastor Chambers had argued that his congregation of 150 worshipers, who were not all from the district, needed a separate church because each of the SDA temples had a religious culture of their own.

There are around 17 Seventh-day churches, both formal and informal, across all three Cayman Islands, covering all six districts and catering to thousands of members, with specific churches for those from the Filipino and Spanish communities. The church also has its own radio station and online streaming television service.

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Comments (89)

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  1. What about the 8th Day? says:

    “Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.” — Benjamin Franklin

  2. Anonymous says:

    There is a lot of false prophets these days. As far I could remember, the tithing plate was only supposed to be used to help the church congregation and the community as a whole. However, these same pastors and preachers that claim to be the most honest and humble are dipping into the plate behind the pulpit and driving high-end luxury cars and buying expensive houses off the congregation cash pan.

    The Bible says “Money is the root of all evil” and I hope He judges justly when that day comes. Nothing worse than an non-believer than a fake one!! Even Satan was an angel before casted out of the kingdom of God!!

  3. JTB says:

    And the Blessed McKeeva, who is known as the Most Honourable, shone the light of his countenance on the Seventh Day Adventists, and they raised up their voices in supplication to him, saying “Give us a church O Lord, that we may gather together and worship you, and collect our hams at Christmas time”. And McKeeva spake unto the Central Authority that is called Planning, saying unto them “Just nod this one through, Bobo, if you know what’s good for you, because I need the Church for the wotes.” But the Chief Pharisee of the Planners, whose name was Alty, said, “Ain’t no grease for me in this pie” and he turned his face away from McKeeva. Then McKeeva waxed wroth, and straightway sought out the chief of the Appeals, but he had no joy there either. And the Seventh Day Adventists had to make do with the 17 churches they already had, and there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  4. Share the Wealth says:

    There is a lot of degrading sentiment being spewed against organized religion on this board. Perhaps those with such views should undertake a paradigm shift and begin to admire and appreciate all of the blessings that churches in the Cayman Islands bring to society.

    Financial support of churches is voluntary. One may view giving to church as stupid while another believes that giving to church is giving to God. Either way, it is a choice to give or not to give.

    • JTB says:

      What blessings are those, exactly?

      • Anonymous says:

        Pastors and church going people are the most crooked ones, they are only trying to hide behind church

    • Anonymous says:

      When you take into consideration how generations of people have been psychologically abused to believe an invisible force will cause bad things to happen tot them is they ‘steal’ from him then the contribution seems a bit less voluntary and starts to look a bit more like extortion.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Whatever happened to the $2million of our money that Premier Alden promised to Winston Rose for the BT church?

    In these difficult financial times, the Govt should not be giving ANY money away to any church.

    Certainly they should not since there are rumours that the Civil Service will be asked to take a pay cut after the 2021 election.

    Yet this elected Govt is spending like there is no tomorrow.

    • Anonymous says:

      If the pay cut rumour turns out to have some truth to it, the first salaries to be cut MUST be the “MPs” I would figure.

    • Hidden Town resident says:

      My understanding was that the building was to be used as a hurricane shelter for the Bodden Town community in addition to being a church, which is why Government was assisting Pastor Winston Rose with the project.
      The money is not to build a church or for the church as you claim.

      Does the Bodden Town community not need another hurricane shelter after the Civic Centre was so badly damaged?

  6. Fair and Balanced says:

    I’m very glad this application was denied because the denial should tell McKeeva that a majority of Caymanians, as reflected by the CPA and Appeals Tribunal members’ decisions, do not respect him nor the matters he supports.

    He’s trying to fool the public that he’s a decent man that pushes for spiritual things such as a church: not so, it is all about votes and $s for him!

    • Anonymous says:

      In the old days just because Mac said so, everyone would fold.
      We’ve grown up and come a long way, well done CPA and PAT for showing the law is superior to a local politicians will.

  7. Anonymous says:

    But then Planing goes and approves a 10 ft illegal wall… Maybe the church should have gotten a developer to submit their plans.

    Until it is fair for all this board is garbage

    • Anonymous says:

      A condo development makes a stream of money in stamp duty. A church does not.

      Plus a church requires less hardware to build so a certain someone on the planning board won’t make much from it so why not object.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are new developments being advertised on the radio for USD 550K condo’s with no stamp duty…..irrespective of who the buyer is.

  8. Anonymous says:

    How about they finish all of the other half built churches across the island where the pastors stole all the money and went home with it. Just a thought.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And where do 75% of these Pastors come from JA. Most never having spent a day in Theological school. Make them be qualified and get Work permits like everyone else. Also no more duty free items allowed under the guise of the church. Many built apts with duty free materials.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A Pastor in the USA asked his “sheep” to send him money to buy a bigger and more fabulous private plane. Religion, biggest scam there is.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Whoa, you folks bring the hate don’t you. It’s just a rezoning application. There a lots of pots to build their church.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wait 150 in the congregation and $2mio to spend, each one of them will be on the hook for about $14,000, plus upkeep, insurance, light and water, Mercedes etc…

  13. Anonymous says:

    For such a small island I have never seen so many “churches” in my life! It is ridiculous and do they make up the names for these churches because some sound like a cult! Religion overall is controversial but it seems humans need something to be apart of or follow and I do not know why.

  14. CPA Mafia Clan says:

    Yet we can approve a fuel station next to our water company and next to major residential places planting dangerous fuel tanks like bombs in the ground that in the event of a hurricane or an accident will endanger our precious Seven Mile Beach wow! SDA voters need to pull their support of this disgraceful government now!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Eh? “each of the SDA temples had a religious culture of their own”? Do we get a nightclub for each genre of music? Money-making machines is what they are; how many churches do we need with a population of 70,000 (give or take) where most people 18 to 28 do not attend service regularly? Check brunch or pool bars on Sundays. Come on, now.

    • Anonymous says:

      They need your mula!

    • SSM345 says:

      Back in the day I believe we held the “world record per square mile for churches” for the entire globe……the count was something like 600…..

      Not sure why we need that many on a island that 75 square miles…

  16. Anonymous says:

    One of the great benefits of Atheism is that no church or worship buildings are required.

    • Anonymous says:

      Since leaving the church and halting my 10% contribution, I’ve saved almost 50k in tithing over the years.

      Gay people don’t go to church, so they hate them because it harms their cash flow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Gnostism also has that benefit

    • Anonymous says:

      Also those that believe in religion but not in churches. Churches are a business like any other business. What did Jesus do when there was a marketplace in the church? Enough said.

    • Anonymous says:

      ‘Yeah but there no holidays either ..

  17. Tino says:

    Virtual platforms are a lot cheaper, or has that been forgotten already?
    The comments by the pastor on having their own religious culture is very very concerning. Imagine segregation by a congregation?🙄

  18. Anonymous says:

    cayman… a land of scam churches feeding off a poorly educated local population…..just like the the deep south of the states.

  19. Anonymous says:

    $2million could buy the entire population of Cayman a beef patty every day for the month of December…much better use of funds if you ask me.

  20. Last Zion says:

    Is this the second “great disappointment”. I’m sure they will get over it… they could just pray…

  21. Anonymous says:

    Definitely a sin to waste $2 million on a building that’s not needed, when that money could be used to help people in the community.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Money Money Money
    It’s a new church world.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Have they heard of Zoom?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Hope they apply that same thinking and application of the laws when someone applies for the next bar, nightclub or packaged liquor licence.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Who were they buying construction materials from?

  26. Anon says:

    McKeeva Bush was in support of the church. This was the SDA Berea’s best mitigating factor for a church in a residential area. According to their so called lawyer, these church members can not meet with the members of other SDA churches, because not all SDA churches have service in English.

    • Anoymous says:

      Of course mckeeva is in favour of the construction of this church. This is just another one of his campaign strategies. Doesn’t anyone know this man as yet, after all these years? He is now trying to set himself up as this great humanitarian, such a shame that people refuse to see what this man is all about.

  27. Anonymous says:

    But…but…but….surely god could have used a jedi mind trick to convince the planning mob to say yes to this?

  28. Anonymous says:

    I much afraid to say this but we do have too many churches in this country of ours. Furthermore, I think the churches are failing in the communities they exist in and for this very reason I am seeing the light when the same man or woman who knocks down the church door after a night on the town.

    These same very members, really truly don’t care about me or you unless you are donating a large chunk of your hard earned salary to the church building fund.

    Finally, if we all got along with each other, there would be no need for such a large number of churches or buildings to house the one day christians.

  29. Anonymous says:

    ‘Pastor Chambers had argued that his congregation of 150 worshipers, who were not all from the district, needed a separate church because each of the SDA temples had a religious culture of their own.’

    Have I missed something here? Don’t they all worship the same God?

    • Anonymous says:

      A population of 60,000 doesn’t have 120 churches out of a desire for Jesus-inspired unity.

    • Anonymous says:

      Want to tell me how to live my life yet can’t even decide if worship day is actually Saturday or Sunday.

      Happens when your “culture” is picking and choosing verses that fit personal agendas.

  30. Anonymous says:

    God is good

  31. Anonymous says:

    Imagine if we took this money and spent it on something worthwhile.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not your money to spend.

      • Anonymous says:

        But…. when they get “tax” breaks because they are a religious entity then who do you think fills the gap? Us, we then must pay more for things to make up for them evading. Here, it’s in the form of charities on island. Can’t the church they belong to feed them instead of spending 2 mill on a church or must they still go to NAU?

  32. Anonymous says:

    I have seen the light! It’s all about money. There is no God.

  33. FREE WB says:

    McKeeva Bush has failed the church and will lose support from that congregation. He now deserves to lose his seat in the LA and his position as Speaker

    • Anonymous says:

      He deserved to lose his seat a long long time ago.

      • On the other crosswalk. says:

        God is good. Religion, weelll not so much. I understand the flock is made up of imperfect people but I’m not sure that the majority of those that attend church understand they are anything other than holier than thou. The pride, arrogance, and outright hatred that comes from organized religion washes over any of the good news Jesus brings.

    • Anonymous says:

      No way. McKeeva a God in West Bay.

  34. Cardelbo@yahoo.com says:

    Humans, we don’t need a building to take to God, we can have our private conversations anytime. God appoints no one to act on its behalf, we all have direct access to it.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Rum shop will be approved

  36. Anonymous says:

    Humans, we can have conversations with God anywhere, all we need to have are thoughts. God has no human appointee acting on its behalf. Cayman has been blessed so far and has nothing to do with us humans nor is it a coincidence. However none of us are innocent.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Seriously though how many churches do we need on this small island? Absurd!!! Glad it was denied. Too many as it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Should all be Dart churches anyway

    • Anonymous says:

      $2m?? Where does all that money come from. It could probably be better spent assisting some of the poorer members of society here. I hope it’s not the congregants who are forking out, from their hard earned wages every month in tithes.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Regulate the church!

    • Anonymous says:

      Too many money making false religions on these islands. Keep them out of residential areas, as a matter of fact, stop approving anymore and monitor all those breakaway ones. Another means of scamming the poorer class of people and the pastors and Declans live life to the highest. They drive expensive cars and the list goes on and on.
      Only on these islands can they come with their fake Christianity and deprive the people of their few dollars, preaching domesday and predicting lies, to frighten them. No more approvals.

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