CPA refuses builder’s compound in mangroves

| 31/08/2021 | 17 Comments
Cayman News Service
Aerial photo of area cleared illegally by K&B Ltd

(CNS): A controversial application to completely clear a parcel of land of the remaining vegetation, which includes primary mangrove habitat, to store construction materials and dump dug-out soil from other sites was knocked back by the new members of the Central Planning Authority at their first meeting in July. An application by K&B Ltd to use a site on Hurley Merren Boulevard as a construction compound was refused by the CPA.

Explaining the decision, the board said the applicant was proposing an industrial site that was inconsistent with the zoning for neighbourhood commercial and had not demonstrated it would service the needs of the community.

The developers wanted to use the parcel ahead of future plans to build a mixed-use development on the site, describing it as “a temporary material and equipment storage and dump area for the dug-out soil” from other ongoing construction projects the landowner was involved in.

During the CPA meeting the lawyer representing the applicants said they needed somewhere to put the material and equipment for the Grand Palmera project behind Grand Harbour because his client could not find anywhere else to put it. The application for development would be submitted in two or three months time, the lawyer said.

The applicant had been granted after-the-fact permission in March 2020 following the illegal clearing of around one acre of the site, which was discovered in January 2020 by the Department of Environment. At the time, the CPA said the reason for the retrospective permission was because the clearance complied with the planning law but that no more clearance could be undertaken unless it was authorised by the CPA.

However, in its advice to the CPA the DoE pointed out the problems with allowing the clearance of land before planning approval has been granted. In this case, the DoE said, the site consists of a mixture of primary seasonally flooded mangroves and these had been the subject of the unauthorised clearing before the Mangrove Conservation Plan came into effect.

“The trend of assumptive applications for land clearing for ‘future’ development without the approval of the ‘future’ development is unsustainable and a concerning precedent,” the DoE warned. “This approach is extremely destructive for the natural environment as areas of primary habitat are dwindling and under increasing pressure. We recommend that applications for land clearing are presented along with the development that is being proposed so that appropriate mitigation measures can be recommended.”

The experts also said that as some mangroves remain on the site in the case of this second application, they did not support the speculative clearing of the land or the use of areas of primary habitat as storage sites.

In turning down the application, the CPA did not mention the DoE’s concerns.

But the members were of the view that an industrial compound would lead to heavy equipment and trucks coming and going to the site with construction activity on site in relation to the stockpiling of fill material and that the proposal was purely to cater to the needs of the applicant and not the community. The CPA also said that an industrial construction compound would be offensive and would adversely affect the area due to the associated activities.

Meanwhile, during the 12 July meeting the CPA also granted planning permission to the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) for new floodlights at the pitch in Prospect, despite objections.

The CPA said that those objectors “did not raise sufficient grounds to refuse permission” and the concerns raised by the objectors largely related to the use of the play field, not the lights themselves. “One concern was raised regarding the brightness of the LED lights impacting surrounding apartment complexes,” the CPA said but found that the objector provided no evidence to support the concern.

The board said that the request for the new LED lights indicated that they will be directed downward and inward with a smaller beam than those on the existing lights and will not have an adverse impact on the surrounding landowners.

Despite the change in the line-up of the board’s membership, the minutes show that the ongoing problem of conflicts of interest has not been resolved. Four members of the authority had to recuse themselves from four different applications as a result of conflicts relating to those applications.

See the minutes of the new CPA board’s first meeting here.

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , ,

Category: development, Local News

Comments (17)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Guido Marsupio says:

    What is the schedule for cabinet to rule on the coastal works application for the over-water bungalows in the Marine Park on Little Cayman? The deadline for public comment has come and gone.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Some CPA members even have a history of planning violations. You can take that to the banc.

  3. $$$$ says:

    Finance Committee is on. CIGTV.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The old rubber stamp was in full swing for the rest though.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’s rather difficult to find persons on the island who do not have such conflicts. This is what happens when so many construction companies are licensed.

    • D. Truth says:

      Yes, there ARE too many, and they should not be in the CPA.

    • Stashen Cash says:

      I say, Mr. 7:20 a.m., could it be that too many Builders Supply stores are also controlling too much of the CPA?

  6. Elvis says:

    Good decision. I just hope building standards are on top of these so called brand new homes shooting up everywhere for stupid prices. My friend bought one and the complex already suing the builder for leaks and shoddy repairs.
    Soon there will be no mangroves or protected areas left i fear.
    Ill wait i think

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh please. They better had refused them homes sinking in sand on 7 Mile Beach.

  8. Anonymous says:

    CNS your final comment is laughable. To quote “ Despite the change in the line-up of the board’s membership, the minutes show that the ongoing problem of conflicts of interest has not been resolved. Four members of the authority had to recuse themselves from four different applications as a result of conflicts relating to those applications.”
    If someone has a conflict, they declare it and leave the room. What’s the problem? Do you actually think you would find a board this size without a single conflict? Appears to me they are managing them just fine. There would be a problem if they had conflicts and did NOT declare them.

    • Anonymous says:

      On reading this comment I thought of the phrase ‘casting pearls before swine’. The conflict problem is immediately obvious to anyone with a brain cell.

    • Anonymous says:

      It will be interesting to see how many of the projects that members recuse themselves from get approved. In the past it has been most.

      • Anonymous says:

        They will continue to leave the room with a nod, a smile and a secret handshake.

        • Anonymous says:

          Do other civilized countries have this problem? I am assuming that we are considered “civilized”.

        • Anonymous says:

          And whisper whisper in the hallway because there people are asking questions and they are trying to come up with the “correct answer” to shut them down.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.