Planning changes ahead


Some changes to the Cayman Islands
Development and Planning Law approved earlier this year are set to take effect
in the first three months of 2011, government officials said.

Those changes include amendments to
infrastructure fees that mean certain payments will be due upon the completion
of projects, rather than earlier in the process. 

The government has essentially
staggered planning fees for projects, so that only 50 per cent of those would
be due “up front” – when blueprints are submitted for approval of any project.
Premier McKeeva Bush has said he hoped this would allow developers to plan
better for upcoming costs.

Planning Department Director Haroon
Pandohie said this change “would be welcomed by the development sector as it
gives people more time to generate funds from sales prior to having to pay
these infrastructure fees. The Department of Planning plays a major role in the
establishment or redevelopment of a business in this country and by extension,
the policies and procedures that are put in place provide a framework to ensure
that economic growth is stimulated and maintained.”

Premier Bush also recently
announced that the issuance of certificate of occupancies for construction
projects is now considered a routine process and no longer requires the
planning director’s review or signature. The task is now handled by department
staff, again with an eye toward speeding up the review process.

“The Cayman Contractors Association
is delighted with this decision to make [certificates of occupancy] a routine
process,” said association chairman Rayal Bodden. “Time is money and the CCA believes
this will speed up the process of completing a project and will thereby help to
reduce construction costs. The development industry is Cayman’s third largest
industry and the Cayman Contractors Association is here to serve the community
by promoting changes to existing policies and procedures that make the industry
more efficient.”

Other changes to the Planning and
Development Law will cause fees for development projects in certain areas to
increase; others will remain the same.

The old planning law and
regulations section Cayman into three specific development areas; they are
referred to as ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ areas – with ‘A’ being the highest density or
more costly and “C’ areas being the least expensive.

Under the planning regulations,
certain areas along the coast of South Sound in George Town have been added to
the ‘A’ planning areas, along with the Seven Mile Beach corridor and central
George Town. Infrastructure fees for those upper echelon parts of the Islands
are now set at $2.50 per square foot.

The new law changes infrastructure
fees assessed based on type of development that’s being built. 

As an example, for newly built
industrial buildings and single-family homes in the ‘A’ areas, the new law
would not change the current $2.50 per square foot infrastructure fee.

But for houses greater than 5,000
square feet that fee goes to $3, for institutions it would be $3.50, and for
commercial buildings such as hotels and condos it would go to $4.50 per square

Similarly in the ‘B” category
areas, the current $1.50 per square foot infrastructure fee would go to $2 for
a 5,000 square foot house, and $2.50 per square foot for a institution, hotel
or other commercial development.

New development in the ‘B” areas
would also pay a single, one-time charge to support the country’s affordable
housing projects.

Mr. Bush has said ‘C’ development
areas would not increase their current 50-cent per square foot cost for new


Some changes to the Cayman Islands Development and Planning Law approved earlier this year are set to take effect in the first three months of 2011.
Photo: File

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