Regulatory changes that could affect property size, location and use are expected to come before the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly within the next year.
The Planning Department is reviewing the island’s building code, which was last updated in 1999, comparing it to the International Building Code with a view to modernising the document.
‘We have started looking at our code and that (International Building Code) to see similarities, differences…what we could borrow or adopt,’ said Planning Department Director Kenneth Ebanks. ‘I’m hoping that by early next year…that we should have some document ready for discussion.’
One of the issues Mr. Ebanks said he hopes to tackle is the cost of buying and building on land.
‘The philosophy behind it is that we will look at the code, see how we can take it to not sacrifice quality, but maybe at the same time how best we can look at addressing the cost of construction,’ he said. ‘(There are) ways that you can end up with the same end-product and a lower cost.’
Mr. Ebanks said one way to do that would be dropping the minimum lot sizes required for residential construction.
‘We’ll…be looking at maybe reducing some lot sizes so it will make land more affordable,’ he said. ‘We should at least…do our part in terms of reducing the cost of living, the cost of construction on the island.’
The building code review is still being researched, so it’s not clear when the Legislature will get a chance to review it.
Other changes may be closer to a final vote.
Last week, Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts said the Planning Department, for which his ministry is responsible, would be considering the issue of coastal setbacks for property…in other words, how close to the shore new construction projects can be built.
‘It’s part and parcel of a review of the existing legislation,’ Mr. Tibbetts.
Mr. Tibbetts said any changes to the Development and Planning Law would not be made ‘as a stand-alone situation.’
‘There are several other amendments that are going to be proposed with regard to the other issue of vehicles on the side of the road,’ he said.
The government has long been considering stricter regulations involving the use of land to sell cars. There were numerous complaints about sellers parking vehicles on a strip of land across from the Treasure Island resort.
Those vehicles were moved earlier this year after the government discovered they were parking on land owned by the Crown.
However, there are still lingering questions about those who use private property that is not designated for commercial operations to sell vehicles.
Mr. Tibbetts said the coastal setback and vehicle sales issues would not come before the Legislative Assembly at its next meeting, however he said he hoped the issue could be discussed soon.
‘I have issued my keen desire for us to be able to deal with it for the following meeting of the Legislative Assembly closer to the end of the year.’