Land use in Brac examined

The ruling People’s Progressive Movement government is considering the creation of a land use management plan for Cayman Brac which would dictate certain standards for future development.

kirkconnell

Mr. Kirkconnell

The proposal was announced during last week’s meeting of the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee by Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts.

Mr. Tibbetts insisted the land use plan for the Brac would not equate to zoning.

‘It has been recognised for quite some time that there has been difficulty in simply dealing with a zoning plan for Little Cayman and Cayman Brac,’ he told the committee Friday. ‘Such plans have been rejected by people in the Brac.’

Sister Islands MLA Julianna O’Connor-Connolly said residents in her district would not be fooled by zoning laws that are called by another name.

‘A zoning plan would dictate what can and cannot be built on a parcel of land,’ Mr. Tibbetts explained. ‘A land use management plan allows for flexibility. I am confident now that people realise there need to be standards…so that anything cannot be built anywhere.’

‘Development has begun to pick up pace in the Brac. This land use system will set those yard sticks to grow by.’

Ms O’Connor-Connolly asked if the plan would still allow property owners to build what they want provided certain construction standards are met.

‘Who will decide what gets built?’ she asked.

Mr. Tibbetts said the Brac Development Control Board would have to decide planning applications on a case by case basis. However, he said the land use system would provide specific guidelines by which those rulings are made. It would also allow land owners the option for mixed use development.

Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell agreed it was time to consider such a land use plan for the Brac. However, he said he wanted to ensure the public was consulted before anything was put into effect.

Mr. Tibbetts said internal meetings have taken place with the Planning Department and the Development Control Board regarding the land use management system.

He said a series of public meetings were planned for the Sister Islands, after which a draft proposal will be distributed for review. The entire process was expected to take between two and four months.

The government acknowledged during finance committee that the appeals process for planning applications that had been denied was moving a bit slower than it would like. Mr. Tibbetts said this was largely due to the fact that the same lawyer was representing all of the appellants.

‘The majority of difficulty with the back log now is nothing to do with the system itself,’ he said.

Ms O’Connor-Connolly said she understood there had been some problems with appointing members to the Planning Appeals Board in the Brac.

After a confused debate, Mr. Tibbetts acknowledged that there had been issues with some of the board members, but he said it was not correct to state those issues had held up the appeals process.

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