Over-water resort kicked back to DCB after appeal

| 24/10/2022 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service
Attorney Kate McClymont and DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie

(CNS): The Planning Appeals Tribunal has quashed a decision by the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Development Control Board (DCB) to grant planning permission for the land element of a resort in Little Cayman following a successful appeal by objectors. The tribunal found the lack of details to support the decision meant it couldn’t be certain the DCB properly considered all the issues and sent the application back to the board. The project stirred up controversy when developers applied to build over-water bungalows at a picturesque spot on the island.

Peppercorn Investment received planning approval from the DCB for the land side of the proposed resort project at Kingston Bight in early February this year but was refused a coastal works licence by Cabinet less than two weeks later for the over-water bungalow element that the developers had said made the project viable.

The Department of Environment had advised against the application from the start because the developers wanted to build directly in a marine park. The DoE, which had described the whole project as “fundamentally unacceptable”, had also questioned why the DCB heard the land-side application before a decision was made on the coastal works element.

One family of residents in the area who had objected at the original hearing filed the appeal against the DCB on several grounds after the board gave the green light to the land-side element. Represented by Kate McClymont from Nelsons, the objectors argued several grounds, but the one that successfully persuaded the PAT was the argument that the reasons to support the decision were “wholly inadequate”.

The tribunal found the DCB is not an environmental or conservation authority and had failed to give clear analysis and reasons for not following the advice of the DoE staff, who are the experts, and left uncertainty as to whether they addressed their collective mind properly to the important questions raised by the DoE.

“We impress upon the DCB that their reasons for decisions must demonstrate their reasons with sufficient clarity that the reader knows what their thought process was and the reasons for coming to their final conclusions,” the tribunal stated in the ruling, as it kicked the application back to the board.

While there was a catalogue of other issues relating to the project that did not fall within the appeal tribunal’s remit, the return of the project application for reconsideration will bring the concerns back into the public domain, stressing the pressing need for a policy on over-water development and development in marine protected areas.

McClymont, who successfully represented the DoE in its case against the CPA over the Boggy Sand decision and represented the Cruise Port Referendum Campaign’s case against the government over the dock, said the objectors were right to bring this case. She said it is very important the public understands how decisions threatening the environment are made.

“Nelsons was privileged to act for the Johnson family, who took on this appeal to protect Little Cayman’s unique physical and cultural environment,” she said. “The decision in this appeal reinforces the requirement for decision-makers in planning applications to give clear and cogent reasons for departure from the recommendations given by the Department of Environment. The public has a right to know why decisions are being made, not just the result,” she said.

Given the lack of sustainability or green credentials of over-water resorts, the PACT Government, which has sustainability at the heart of all its policies, will need to make a definitive decision soon because once such a resort is granted, the appetite for coastal development by wealthy beachfront owners across the islands is likely to lead to a surge of applications.

See the full findings in the CNS Library.

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 (33)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Can I please get a comment for the MP for CBW/LC – Mo$e$ wha u say???

  2. Anonymous says:

    This application is the thin edge of the wedge called RUINATION for Little Cayman

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree little can do with a nice hotel however that aint it.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ll respectfully disagree.

      A nice but large hotel will negatively alter the charming ‘sleepy island escape’ character of Little Cayman (as has already begun with the present size hotels & to a lesser extent the condos).

      A nice but small and more expensive hotel will negatively alter the charming ‘middle class egalitarian’ character of Little Cayman. This is a harder one to pin down, but I’m talking about the tourists who came/come for years, know the local/Caymanian maid or bartender or server by name and who dey family is because they’ve been coming for so long. You know they could actually buy the resort (or at least a wing of it) if they wanted, but they don’t. Because they like the more ‘sleepy island escape’ character of Little Cayman (old Grand Cayman).

      We have three islands. There is no need for each of them to pursue the same market. Grand Cayman is by default going Ritzy. I would suggest there is still enough of a market for the ‘old style’ Cayman that Little Cayman can pursue that market successfully.

      Either way what is required is an agreed vision and then Government planning/regulation/infrastructure to support it. So in Little Cayman’s case it might be no more buildings higher than a palm tree and denser than 50% of lot size and with fewer than 50% local/Caymanian employment. And a room rate no higher than 75% of the max on Grand Cayman but no lower than 50% either. And no ‘AirBnB’ rental for more than 25% of the year, i.e., no flooding the market that way either. Making the location attractive only to a certain market of both investors and tourists. The others can go to Grand Cayman. – Or, you know, we let the developers go overwater bungalows, white-glove service, 10th story penthouses and a jet-length runway.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Next we move our attention to Port Zeus, Cayman Brac – shopping village, Marina, offices – lol.

    Washed up dot.com guy figuring he can come to a small island and do as he pleases – we shall see.

    Ah yeh, now for sarcasm – what happened to the lady southside and her marina? What happened to the hotel owner next to a stinky pond and his marina? What happened to the local family and their talking about a northside marina? What they all have in common is that there is not any money to be made from a Marina on Cayman Brac.

    It would have to be subsidised by Government to buil it and agreements would have to be made where government keeps a couple vessels at extremely rates – that would work.

    Keeping it all in perspective

  5. Anonymous says:

    In 2012, billionaire Bill Maines was gifted a Cabinet status grant. In sponsoring the citizenship, then-Cayman Island Deputy Governor Franz Manderson cited Maines’ outstanding donation of a portable AED defibrillator (approx MSRP $2000) to a local sports organization. If that’s what Cayman’s public received as quid pro quo for non-revocable permanence, then what on Earth did the PPM get?

    • Anonymous says:

      At least the Government should fix the Scotts Dock by the West End Cemetery. On the other hand,STOP shipping the BLUFF to Grand by Barge.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmnn, which is worst—-shipping the bluff to Grand. Or shipping Grand people to the bluff..
        I vote ship bluff to Grand.

  6. Anonymous says:

    You clearly came to this conclusion based on the CNS article without reading the PAT decision. All the reasons you think this got quashed were thrown out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    ‘The tribunal found the lack of details to support the decision meant it couldn’t be certain the DCB properly considered all the issues and sent the application back to the board.’ Or in plain English, ‘The DCB tried to backdoor it?’

    • Anonymous says:

      Correct, look at who is the developer.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you actually read the PAT decision (supplied by CNS, thank you), the two directed conditions that were not included by DCB for any ‘good reason’ in the approval are the only reasons this got sent back -(they were mechanical clearing outside property boundary and no cats or dogs regarding the iguanas for those who don’t want to read!) Its NOT for the more ‘meaningful’ reasons that the public may want to believe.

      DoP/NCC should have directed an EIA on the land side development just in case DCB reviewed the (limited) application before the coastal works application for over water bungalows was seen by Cabinet – independent of the coastal works application.

      C’mon DoE/NCC – cover your bases. If DCB werent sloppy enough to miss out reference to those 2 (somewhat non priority) conditions, this appeal would’ve sadly failed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Good!! Now let’s not rest on our laurels. We need to keep an eye on this 30 floor pie in the sky idea.

  9. Anonymous says:

    A concept that proven to be low impact on the environ and highly sought after as a stay over accommodation.
    Let’s stop pretending to be conservationist while our shores are being fished out, our population is exploding and the mighty CI dollar is almost the strongest currency on the planet …. The only objectors are the same ones who Monday to Thursday call for the old days & ways to return and them Friday they Sunday complain their kids have no future in the sister islands and government needs to do something to help them.
    Wakey wakey …. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

  10. Jtb says:

    Good work Kate!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am impressed that the PAT actually seems to have followed the law and did not just rubber stamp the DCB decision – perhaps there is room for something resembling the rule of law in development and planning matters after all.

  12. Anonymous says:

    big money always win it seems…

  13. Anonymous says:


  14. Anonymous says:

    “stressing the pressing need for a policy on over-water development and development in marine protected areas.”

    Say what now? Heres a policy: it canNOT and shall NOT be allowed….EVER!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Tell us plainly, who are the Peppercorn Investment shareholders?

  16. Anonymous says:

    In regard to the Boggy Sound leaning gazebo, has anyone seen the huge sink hole that is in the road in front of this building? That thing needs to be knocked down and removed before this gets worse. What is the world was the CPA thinking by wanting that to proceed?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Gina and Kate for fighting to protect our environment and standing up to the development mafia. Make it make sense lord,


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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