Gov’t to developer: No heavy equipment for land clearing

The Development Control Board recently approved a pair of subdivisions in the Sister Islands by a United Kingdom-based developer – with a catch. 

While the planning board determined to allow Crown Acquisitions Worldwide to create two major subdivisions in Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, the developer is not permitted to use heavy equipment to clear the properties. 

 

Lots, lots 

As of press time, the company’s local attorney Michael Alberga had not responded to the Caymanian Compass’ request for comment. 

The Cayman Brac proposal called for a major subdivision on the Bluff with access from Songbird Drive (with the development directly south of Scarlet Drive, Terrace Drive and Cottage Drive off Dennis Foster Road), according to the minutes from the board’s 27 August meeting. 

As of May, the proposal was for a 106-lot subdivision, including three land-for-public-purposes lots, a lot for a future hotel, village green and commercial areas, and residential lots of low, medium and high densities. According to the minutes of the board’s 14 May meeting, “The low density and medium density areas are four large lots that may require further subdivision. The high density residential lots are approximately 6,000 square feet in size and most are 60 feet wide by 100 feet deep.” 

According to the minutes of the board’s 6 August meeting, the board instructed the applicant to submit copies of a plan showing all of the proposed lots to be at least 10,000 square feet. 

The applicant also proposed four ponds. However, the board did not approve excavations for the ponds, requiring a separate application for planning permission. 

 

‘Essentially impenetrable’ 

The board minutes contain an 11 June e-mail from Brian Eccles of DDL Studio to Director of Planning Haroon Pandohie. In the e-mail, Mr. Eccles requests that the board grant approval for the subdivision with a condition addressing what they should do if they encounter caves on the property. The board had previously required a geological study of the site. 

Mr. Eccles said they had “spoken at length” with a United States civil engineer who “is very familiar with the geology of islands in Caribbean and Cayman Islands in particular”. 

According to Mr. Eccles’ e-mail, the civil engineer “is of the firm opinion that a meaningful study cannot be conducted until the land is being cleared. At present the land is covered in very dense natural scrub vegetation [with] rough rock terrain. It is essentially impenetrable from the perspective of conducting a study”. 

Mr. Eccles said the board recently approved another Crown Acquisitions subdivision of 50 acres, on a piece of land “located over a cave known as Bat Cave. No environmental or geological study was required by DCB”, according to the minutes. 

 

No heavy equipment 

On 27 August, the board determined to approve the new subdivision, under a number of conditions. One of those is that “there shall be no clearing with heavy equipment. All mature trees shall be saved”, according to the minutes. 

On the same day, the board also approved Crown Acquisitions’ proposal for a 19.84-acre subdivision in Little Cayman with 74 residential lots, five land-for-public-purposes lots, one road parcel and one community parcel for a pool and community centre. 

The board’s approval for the Little Cayman project also included the condition that heavy equipment shall not be used to clear the property, and that all mature trees shall be saved, according to the minutes. 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. For Little, a pick and a shovel is about the right pace….Good Decision.

    Southernboy, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to LC to just sit and relax.
    But to get away from Grand every few months, for 2-3 days, it’s well worth the short flight.
    It’s downright peaceful.

    Unfortunately, that’s changing!

    Over the last few years developers have senselessly bulldozed numerous parcels of land.
    Flying over the island or driving around, one can see the blatant destructive scarring.
    It’ll turn into a barren piece of rock, useless to everything upon it.

    Proposed communities with roads going nowhere are just those….roads with no communities or any signs of development, now or even in the near future.

    It’s simply land banking at its worst.

    A better decision by The Development Control Board would have been to also ban the use of pick and shovel.

    Even greed has its limits, but there’ll still be some ripping out trees and moving rocks with their bare hands.

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