Members of the Cayman Kai Property Owners Association are vowing to stick to their guns in fighting a recent decision by the Central Planning Authority to give the go-ahead to a 52-condo development in their community.
The Ivory Sands project on Block 33M, Parcel 47 on Ivory Point in Cayman Kai, is also to include a spa, pool and tennis courts.
‘Maybe we will be fighting the inevitable, but we will be appealing this decision,’ said CKPOA member Dr. John Cassidy, a Harvard Medical School professor and Cayman resident.
Objections from the CKPOA centre on the high density of the project.
Kim Lund, broker for the project, says that despite the number of units proposed, given the size of the site, the project will be quite low density and in keeping with other developments in the area such as Gardens of the Kai.
‘There will be maybe as few as 40 three and four-bedroom condos on an 8.8 acre site,’ says Mr. Lund.
Mr. Lund says that with 1,400 feet of beachfront, the condos will boast some of the largest frontage buyers can find on the Island, with the penthouses topping out at 125 feet.
‘This will be resort-type living, with very little impact on the local community as it will be very quiet,’ says Mr. Lund.
‘The reason the developers have gone this route is that the development will provide buyers a beachfront residence with all the facilities and amenities and none of the worry or maintenance concerns of a house.’
Despite these reassurances, with the assistance of the Office of the Complaints Commissioner, the CKPOA is putting together an appeal to the Planning Board’s decision.
However, the group claims it is not finding the going very easy.
Mr. Cassidy is concerned that the lack of transparency in the planning process is leaving objectors to proposed developments at a significant disadvantage.
‘I only heard about the October 3 meeting by chance, as did many of the other objectors,’ he said.
‘Clearly, the selective information available to the public discourages any hope that their views will be taken seriously by the Central Planning Authority,’ says Mr. Cassidy.
‘One can certainly understand their frustration especially when viewed in the current light of repeated hearings by the CPA on specific development projects that go unannounced to area residents and hidden by the new restrictive notification limitations pushed through government by these special interest groups.’
Mr. Cassidy and his fellow association members are concerned the project will get the go-ahead despite the contention that it contravenes a 2005 ruling which outlined in detail which Cayman Kai properties were included in the scheme of development and which ones were not. The parcel in question was part of the latter group.
However, CPA Chair Dalkeith Bothwell says the CPA is not required to abide by restrictive covenants on development when making its decisions.
‘Restrictive covenants are taken into consideration, but it is up to the landowner whether or not they choose to follow them, and CPA decisions are made on the merit of the project, not whether they agree with the restrictive covenants,’ he said.
The CKPOA was particularly taken aback by the decision since the CPA had turned down an application for a similar development in the area on the site of the defunct Cayman Kai resort just a few weeks earlier.
The CKPOA is also concerned that an environmental impact study has not been conducted on the property.
Despite the setback, the CKPOA members hope their efforts, even if they do not stop the project, will lead to greater transparency in the planning process in the future.
‘This case is not about restrictive covenants, it is about following the law of the Cayman Islands,’ says Mr. Cassidy.
‘Objectors do have the right to file an appeal. We are hoping that we can show that these decisions cannot continue to be rubber stamped and given the go-ahead as they have in the past when people have legitimate concerns.’