Planning Authority opposes ministry’s billboards programme

The Central Planning Authority is at odds with the Ministry of Sports over the government’s plans to place billboards around Grand Cayman to highlight the achievements of young Caymanians. 

In late December, Minister of Sports Mark Scotland announced, “Early in the New Year, in partnership with the Office of the Premier and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, we will install billboards across the island. 

“They will highlight achievements in sports, education and arts. We also plan to make the honouring of our athletes a full-fledged national event every year.” 

At the time, Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush supported the billboard initiative, saying, “I would like to see our athletes and their pictures where you can see them.” 

He said, “These billboards are one way of showcasing them and saying we support you.” 

However, the authority, which has generally taken a conservative stance against the prominent display of signs in Grand Cayman, has indicated that it is not in favour of the billboard programme. 

According to the minutes of the authority’s 25 April meeting, “The authority considered the information package provided by the ministry in relation to the ‘Proud of Them’ Youth highlight campaign and determined to advise the ministry that the authority is not in support of the proposed billboard signs.” 

Last week, the Caymanian Compass contacted the ministry’s senior policy adviser Joel Francis, who said he was unaware of the authority’s position. 


Roundabout U-turn 

In late August 2011, the authority granted permission to the dms Organisation to place three large digital signs at the Grand Harbour roundabout. 

The signs first went online in late January in a testing phase, and were operating through the spring. 

On 9 May, however, the authority determined that the dms installations did not conform with guidelines set by the board – not because of the digital signs themselves, but because of two sentences affixed to each of the concrete walls that contain the digital signs. The sentences are dms’ motto for the company’s community initiatives: “Our roots are in the community. Our strength comes from you.” 

According to the minutes of the authority’s meeting, “The authority was reminded that when planning permission was granted for the digital signs, the approval included dms logos on the side of each concrete wall. Photographs provided to the authority show that two sentences of words have been added to each wall and this is in breach of the planning permission that was originally granted.” 

Members resolved to issue an enforcement notice to dms in regard to the phrases. 


Dart yachts 

The largest project approved by the authority during its three meetings held 25 April, 9 May and 23 May was the Dart Group’s application to build a $1 million marine facility off Yacht Drive in the Yacht Club subdivision. 

The two-storey marine building would have an area of 7,000 square feet and feature a workshop area and retail on the ground floor, and offices and storage on the second floor. 

According to the Planning Department’s analysis of the application, “As submitted, the proposed building elevations are designed as an industrial building in appearance. Even though the aesthetics of the building is subjective, the department is of the view that the proposed building elevations could be improved to be more aesthetically suitable for the area and zone.” 

While the authority did approve the application for the marine facility, it did so with the condition that the company “submit revised plans showing the aesthetic design of the building improved to the satisfaction of the Director of Planning.” 


CPA approvals 

The authority approved a number of other projects during its 25 April, 9 May and 23 May meetings, subject to various requirements. Here are some of the significant proposals the authority approved: 


Randy Rankin and Trent Jackson: Five houses
Cost: $850,000 
Building area: 6,670 square feet 
Parcel area: 0.6259 acres 
Location: Off Hirst Road and Leonce Drive, Savannah 


Tony Powell: Restaurant
 Cost: $523,160
 Building area: 4,885 square feet
Parcel area: 0.7 acres
 Location: Sea View Road, East End 


Crossfit Cayman: One-storey commercial building
 Cost: $320,000
 Building area: 1,626 square feet
 Location: Camana Bay 


R&R Expediters: 20-foot deep canal excavation
 Cost: $150,000
 Parcel area: 20.6 acres 
Location: Along Esterley Tibbetts Highway, South of Canal Point Subdivision, Seven Mile Beach 


Burger Holdings (Burger King): Three signs for a restaurant 
Cost: $12,000
 Location: Kirk Freeport Centre, Albert Panton Street