Today’s Editorial for January 08: Changes to Development Plan overdue

A government-appointed committee has submitted its first report to the Ministry of Planning recommending 24 various changes to the Development and Planning Law and Regulations, or to Planning Department policies.

Changes to Cayman’s Development Plan are long overdue.

The Cayman Islands has changed drastically since the 1970s when the Development and Planning Law was first enacted here. Since then, Cayman’s population has increased six-fold, changing the demand and usage of land.

The increased demand caused by a growing population has increased the cost of property significantly. Inland house lots near George Town that sold for $10,000 in the late ’80s now sell for $40,000 and more. As a result, land – outside of low income housing developments – is increasingly difficult to buy for young Caymanians.

Regulations requiring relatively large minimum lot sizes and increasing costs of landfill and the delivery of infrastructure such as roads and utilities have combined to hamper developers from offering more affordable house lots.

In addition, newer developments are trying to build projects that are more consistent with the aspirations and needs of modern-day people. Here again, however, developers are impeded by what is really an archaic Development Plan in Cayman.

It’s not as if the old Development Plan served Cayman very well, either. The concept of public open space in the past has often led to empty and overgrown properties that have no real use. Sidewalks and bike paths are virtually non-existent. Commercial areas are often far from the residential areas, necessitating a vehicle to get a simple loaf of bread or gallon of milk.

Cayman will continue to change as the population grows going forward. It needs to grow in a way that is more efficient and liveable. We support the current efforts to modernise the Development Plan and hope many of the recommendations made by the review committee are adopted sooner rather than later.

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