Rejected NWP condo project returns to CPA

| 24/11/2021 | 20 Comments
Cayman News Service
Location of proposed development on North West Point

(CNS): An application for a luxury condo project along the coast of North West Point in West Bay that was turned down earlier this year for a list of reasons, not least its height and density, is back before the Central Planning Authority at its meeting today, Wednesday. But once again the proposed development is facing fierce opposition from an immediate neighbour who believes the project breaches numerous parts of the planning legislation.

Despite some changes, including an increased setback from the oceanfront and support from the landowners to the north, the objectors say this renewed application is not an improvement on the last.

With no sign yet of the necessary changes to planning legislation to support the PACT Government’s stated policy regarding sustainability and climate resilience, the revised application might be approved this time. However, the CPA will still need to consider the suitability of the location for apartments, the proposed use of Grasscrete and the concerns of the objectors.

The Department of Environment has also detailed some of their environmental concerns about the project, which will be constructed on ironshore with a natural fissure running through the centre of it. The DoE technical experts had concerns about what was the single family house on the western side of the property and would now be an apartment block, as it is extremely close to this crack.

“DoE will not support any future filling of or works to the split as it is directly connected to the sea and Marine Reserve,” the DoE stated and added a directive to that effect. “The revised plans have moved the house further from the split, there is still a small overlap. The Applicant has confirmed they discussed with an engineer that the split does not cause a threat to the structural of the integrity. On the basis that the fissure is directly connected to the sea and Marine Reserve, we have directed a condition below to protect the Marine Reserve from development impacts.”

The DoE also noted the potential destruction of at least the ground floor apartment given the weather impacts along this shore.

“This stretch of coastline has a history of coastal property damage during storm wave action,” the DoE said and submitted images showing the impact Hurricane Ivan had on the site, recommending that the setbacks are maximised to the greatest extent possible.

“We would also encourage the use of climate change resilient design features such as wash through ground floors,” the technical experts said. However, in the updated submission the applicant has instead presented a willingness to sacrifice the ground floor.

There are objections from three neighbours, with the longest from Claire and John Upperton, whose own family home is directly adjacent to the site and who have set out a detailed lists of objections about the project.

The couple, who have lived in their home for 40 years, said they are “devastated” by the proposal and the potential threat to their future by what they describe as the over-development of this project due to its size and scale.

The Uppertons said that this application “is worse than the same development of apartments and houses as was previously applied for in November 2020 and which was refused by the CPA” as it now proposes an oceanfront apartment block on the ironshore.

“These plans do not fully address the concerns of the Authority and their reasons for refusal of the Planning Application by NWPR Ltd,” the couple wrote in their objection letter to the CPA. “We believe that this development in the residential area of North West Point is inappropriate massing, scale, proportion and design… inconsistent with the historic architectural traditions of our Islands.

“Our single storey house is more than 60 years old. In no way does the magnitude of this enormous development have the appearance of appropriate residential development in scale and massing,” the Uppertons state, adding that project is “a grossly ugly, inappropriate over-development lacking any merits of any description”.

The couple also argue that the development still exceeds height limitation, one of the reasons why the former members of the CPA declined the application. While the planning department now appears to believe the application complies with height regulations, the Uppertons disagree.

“The Applicants have consistently claimed that the height of the building is 55’ on all four sets of drawings without making any adjustments to the height as required by CPA after the first meeting dated 3 February 2021. The building height to the roof does not take into account the constructions on the fifth storey… nor the roof safety barrier… the gradient on the site is approximately 15’. The seaside elevation of the High Rise Apartment Block, as a result of the
gradient of the land, is well over 55’ adjacent to our home.”

The Planning Regulations in a Beach Resort/Residential Zone state that the maximum height of a building must not exceed 55 feet or 4 storeys, whichever is the less, but the objectors said that this project still contravenes the regulations and will result in a huge building that will impact their home, as it is just 40 feet away.

The couple said that the high rise apartments will impinge on their privacy since their house will be directly overlooked by all the apartments on the south and west elevations and the pool deck.

They also raise some of the same environmental concerns detailed by the DoE. They point out that the two pools for the three oceanfront apartment blocks and the recessed seating area will be cut into the ironshore, impacting the delicate environmental balance.

“At the previous meeting of the CPA on 28 April 2021, we were horrified to hear the Applicants recommending pouring concrete down the natural fissure on the site,” the couple said, though the DoE has directed against such a move.

In addition to this application, the CPA will be hearing a number of other projects that have stirred up various controversies at Wednesday’s meeting. HAB developers’ application for 84 apartments arranged over 14 blocks, with a clubhouse and swimming pool on Old Crewe Road in George Town has dozens of neighbours objecting to the project, especially from the Rosedale Gardens strata, where residents are concerned about the traffic congestion the project will fuel in an area already prone to traffic jams.

Foster’s application to expand their supermarket in West Bay is also back before the board after the planning process was stalled in order for the plans to be redrawn to accommodate an old traditional Caymanian house somewhere on the site. However, in the latest submissions the supermarket chain is asking that the house instead be moved to Frank Sound, where a traditional architecture enthusiast wants to restore the property so it can once again be used as a home.

See the CPA agenda for today’s meeting in the CNS Library (scroll down to NWPR Group).

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Category: development, Local News

Comments (20)

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  1. Spoken Truth says:

    These poor foolish ppl will see what storm wave damage can do when a Nor’wester hits the coast and their pretty home is no longer standing or is torn to rags. These storms/hurricanes don’t discriminate…it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, local or expat, black or white, because when the wind blows and seas surge all in it’s path is at high risk; property and human life! I CAN’T UNDERSTAND WHY PPL ON THIS ISLAND DON’T UNDERSTAND THERE ARE SOME AREAS YOU JUST SHOULDN’T TOUCH ABOUT BUILDING ON IT OR HOW COME GOVT DON’T BACK DoE AND PLACE A LAW AGAINST SUCH AREAS USED FOR BUILDINGS. Hurricane/TS Michelle devastated the old Turtle Farm that was built there for decades when it hit back in early Dec 2001. When will they ever learn???!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    This lot has a big cave under it. Seems a bit double standard when another developer had an absolutely monster green-lighted up the road with ridiculous set-backs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Not just locals. About 80% of expats too.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What we need in grand cayman is cheeper home for poor caymanian,I am happy that those people fighting this one because poor people have no more talk again here in the cayman island,there’s one such building going right now on church street next to Elizabeth street and if you should see how close they built those apartment to people houses I no they have no privacy.we wonder how planning could approve that building permission and the next thing we never saw a soul came on that building site never.but god is god

  5. John Ebanks says:

    Max site coverage for BRR is 30%..the agenda says 40%…the proposed density is 32% so it still does not comply. Please refuse.

  6. bob says:

    ..that we locals cant even afford if we wanted one!

    • South Sounder says:

      Get a better job and improve yourself.

      • B.Gates says:

        @ 5:05 what an original thought!!

      • Anonymous says:

        without foreign passport or accent no better jobs for locals.

      • Anonymous says:

        I bet you’re the first to complain when businesses bring in foreign labour when they can’t find people here to do their drudge work for minimum wage.
        Not everyone has the ability to earn $100k+, but everyone deserves to be able to put a roof over their heads.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see what Señor Pairaudeau and his merry band of Directors do this time.

    Taking any bets?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ian said last time that this project was NOT coming back to the CPA.

      Actually he scolded posters for not knowing the difference between refused and deferred.

      Well Ian, we told you and now here you are again.

      Your Board, it’s associates and masters will approve this once they have extracted their pound of flesh.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What we need in Grand Cayman is more condos.

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