Four developers and their attorney, seven objectors and their attorney, three members of the public and the Central Planning Authority board packed into a conference room on the second floor of the Government Administration Building on Wednesday, all of them there for a special hearing over whether the development application for a 456-room hotel at the southern tip of Seven Mile Beach would be approved.

But soon after the meeting began, the board decided the hearing on the $300 million proposed development could not move forward “because we feel the application isn’t complete,” said chairman A. L. Thompson.

The Central Planning Authority made its decision because Chief Surveyor Michael Whiteman has not authenticated a required high water mark survey conducted on behalf of the hotel’s developers, the Howard Hospitality Group. Mr. Whiteman has not authenticated the survey because it was not signed by the owner of the 7.1-acre Pageant Beach site, according to attorney Sherri Bodden, who represented the developers at the meeting.

Ms. Bodden said that Mr. Whiteman’s decision to not authenticate the survey – a study that determines where the maximum point that the water reaches the shore lies – over what she called a technicality was “unreasonable.” Ms. Bodden further said that the planning board has discretion to waive the authenticated survey requirement, and not doing so would also be unreasonable.

Trio Design Consultants President Mike Stroh, the architect of record for the yet-to-be-named hotel, added that the survey was conducted by a reputable firm, Roland Bodden & Co., and that the board should not have any doubts about its accuracy.

Mr. Thompson agreed that the survey was likely accurate, but said that planning regulations nevertheless require it to be authenticated. He added that the board is not exercising discretion to waive that requirement because doing so could result in an appeal of its decision.

Mr. Thompson did say that once the Central Planning Authority can confirm why Mr. Whiteman chose not to authenticate the survey, it could then decide whether to waive the authentication requirement. To that end, it was suggested by one board member that someone could go find Mr. Whiteman, who works in the Government Administration Building, and he could explain why he did not authenticate the survey.

However, another board member pointed out that it was around 12:30 p.m., and that Mr. Whiteman was likely out for lunch.

Therefore, the board decided to adjourn the hearing until Wednesday, Sept. 27. If the issue of the survey is settled at the meeting, then developers will present their plans for the hotel, and the objectors will have the chance to argue why it should not be approved.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. This is the most ridiculous hearing I’ve ever heard about. This developer can’t even pay for and afford the projects they are already involved with on the island much less a brand new development of $300m. On the surface this might look like a good development but for this to be approved a developer should be in good standing with the citizens and businesses on Cayman which is certainly not the case in this instance. Also, IMHO the island is over developed already and doesn’t need a new hotel especially on this beautiful piece of property that plans on taking up every single square inch of the land with building etc. How about a development that serves the people of Cayman in a more environmental friendly manner.

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    • Exactly! How about putting a moratorium on all future development unless it is for the benefits of this country residents and until infrastructure is brought up to date and can accommodate future growth and the best world’s practices in waste management are implemented. The Dump must cease to exist in the current state. The hurricane preparedness in this country must also meet or even exceed those of the Bermuda.
      This article is relevant to the Cayman Islands : “Hurricane Irma: Florida’s Overdevelopment Has Created a Ticking Time Bomb” https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/hurricane-irma-floridas-overdevelopment-has-created-a-ticking-time-bomb/
      This country have received plenty of warning with Harvey, Irma and Maria (so far) and it doesn’t even have one Category 5 shelter.

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  2. Ray & Bell , I agree with both of your comments . Ray the Planning Board is playing one developer against the other in hopes of more money coming in , by approval for the project . When that property has the project approved it becomes more valuable in price .

    Then Ms Bell the Government don’t care about the people’s future in making sure that the Islands and the people are going to be protected from disaster, it’s all about the almighty dollars not the people .

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  3. Has anyone thought of the tourists required to fill those hotels whose applications are already in with the CPA? Then the new ones being the Hyatt, both SMB and at the golf course, the Royal Palms then the Dart Four Seasons.
    Forget Beach Bay and Ironshore, they will not happen. The government needs do some economic calculations.
    Can we seriously fill these hotel rooms? I seriously doubt it.

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  4. Good point Chris . But government don’t calculate economic growth in all aspects , they calculate only the financial growth . That’s why I said in my other comment that Government is not thinking about the future of the Islands and people and only the money .
    But all these hotels in the planning process would be just like the cruise ship dock , build it in hopes that the cruise ship would come to the Islands .

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