Sister Islands planning records go online

People interested in the development of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac now have easy access to decisions made by the Development Control Board, the body that reviews planning matters for the Sister Islands. 

The Cayman Islands Department of Planning has posted minutes from the board’s meetings during the past two years on its website. The department’s website already includes the agendas and minutes of the meetings of the Central Planning Authority, which oversees development in Grand Cayman. 

While most of the matters coming before the Sister Islands board in 2012 have been relatively routine, concerning minor projects such as houses, swimming pools and signs, the board has recently considered major projects such as Scott’s Quarry, additions to Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac, and proposals by United Kingdom-based land banking companies. 

 

Quarry 

In April, the board considered an application by Scott Development company to further excavate 356,700 cubic yards of fill (to a depth of 4 feet above sea level) from its 130-acre quarry in Cayman Brac. 

Water Authority-Cayman advised that “in principle” it had no objections to extending the quarry, but added that the developer is not in compliance with previous restrictions on the quarry limiting the depth to 4 feet above sea level. It recommended that the developer go back and fill in existing parts of the quarry to 4 feet above sea level before it proceeded with the expansion. 

The Department of Environment said the eastern part of the quarry encroaches on a 600-foot buffer zone from the Salt Water Trail. The developer had been supposed to maintain the buffer zone, according to the 2004 quarry approval.  

The developer responded, “We note that the footpath is not straight, and it is not possible to replicate every twist and turn; so in 2004 we submitted to the DCB the best straight line [fit], which admittedly has “give and take”, but was designed to make drilling and blasting as simple as possible.” 

The Aggregate Advisory Committee expressed concerns about the developer’s “failure to comply with the agreed Closure Plan as required in the Planning Permission for the current extension”. 

According to the committee, “Generally speaking, quarry Closure Plans, depth of excavation, maintaining buffers, and other conditions are very difficult to enforce once the quarry excavation is completed. With no further income from the quarry it may be difficult to motivate the operator to fulfil his obligations or mitigate damages.” 

Additionally, “The AAC expressed concern with regard to the sustainability of exporting aggregate from Cayman Brac to Grand Cayman with the resulting loss of land suitable for other purposes and the sacrifice of environmental assets.” 

Several neighbours submitted objections to the proposed quarry extension, citing the proximity of Cayman Brac’s animal sanctuary Salt Water Pond. 

The board determined to approve the developer’s application, with restrictions including that the excavation be at least 600 feet from the Salt Water Pond Trail. 

In late May, the developer’s representative indicated that the developer was in the process of backfilling low-lying areas of the quarry with rock dust. 

 

Airport 

In late April, the Cayman Islands Airports Authority applied to the board for permission to build two additions to Cayman Brac’s airport. 

With an estimated cost of $2.5 million, the project would consist of two phases. The first phase would include a 6,816-square-foot addition to the east end of the existing building, with a check-in area, restrooms, security room, baggage screening, enlarged departure lounge and relocated cafe/bar. The second phase would include a 4,670-square-foot addition to the west end of the existing building, for a new baggage claim area. 

The board approved the airport extension plans during its 7 May meeting. 

 

Land banking 

During its 14 May meeting, the board considered an application from Crown Acquisitions Worldwide Ltd. for a 106-lot subdivision on the Bluff, with access from Songbird Drive. The $2 million proposal would include a lot for a future hotel, village green and commercial areas, community centre and retail, a parcel for a tennis and swimming club, residential lots (low-, medium- and high-density), and four ponds. 

The board adjourned the item until the applicant could submit a geotechnical survey of the area. 

In February, the same developer successfully applied for a three-lot subdivision of a 0.9-acre parcel located at Guy Banks Road in Little Cayman. 

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