The Dart group was granted planning permission Thursday to create an event site that will be used to host the forthcoming KAABOO Cayman festival and potentially other major concerts and events.
The Central Planning Authority approved an application for utilities and parking infrastructure, including space for nearly 2,000 vehicles and two security huts at the site, north of the Kimpton resort.
The organizers of the KAABOO festival, which will bring bands including the Chainsmokers, Duran Duran and Counting Crows to the island, must still go through a separate application process with the Building Control Unit for the stages and other infrastructure associated with the festival.
Jackie Doak, president of Dart Realty, told the Central Planning Authority on Wednesday that the developer hoped to use the site for various events in the medium term.
She said Dart had originally intended to put a five-star hotel on the property but changed its plans when it became clear the company would be required to carry out an environmental impact assessment to gain permission to move beach rock from the coastal waters fronting the site.
Dart has a three-year agreement with the organizers of KAABOO for the music and comedy festival. Ms. Doak said the site could also be used for other events, citing Taste of Cayman, John Legend and Alicia Keys concerts as previous events held on the island that would have been appropriate for the site.
Addressing concerns from neighbors about the impact on their homes, Ms. Doak said the site was likely to be used for only a handful of events each year.
“These events would be few and far between,” she said. “If we were to over-program this area, 365 days a year, it would have a negative impact on the Kimpton, as well as our neighbors to the north.”
She said the development envisaged was on a small scale and would simply provide the necessary infrastructure to make it a “plug in and play” venue for event organizers.
She said KAABOO was expected to attract up to 10,000 spectators. The application also included plans for two large parking areas on either side of the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and the widening of a footpath to take pedestrians under the bridge from the parking area to the event site.
Residents at the neighboring Heritage House condominiums also appeared before the Central Planning Authority to raise concerns about the impact of the noise and traffic from such events.
In one letter to the board, filed with the agenda papers, one resident wrote, “We do not believe for a minute that bringing in 10,000 to 12,000 revelers for a rager can be of any benefit to the beauty and serenity of our Island. Security, traffic and trash thrown about is the very last thing we all need or want.”
Another resident complained that the KAABOO event seemed to have already been organized in advance of the planning application for this site.
“We are extremely disturbed that tickets to this event (KAABOO Cayman) have already been sold without consideration of the location and the disruptions that it will cause to the surrounding residents and families,” the letter stated.
The Dart group cited the fact that the original KAABOO festival was held in a residential area in San Diego and highlighted the organizers’ track record of successfully managing noise and security concerns. Ms. Doak said Dart would work in consultation with its neighbors to ensure the two-day event and any future events held at the site did not negatively impact them.
She said Dart, as owner of the Kimpton, would not be sanctioning events that negatively impacted the area.
“Every event that is requested will be properly reviewed by us to see if it is appropriate,” she said.
In a statement after the meeting, Ms. Doak said, “The Central Planning Authority approved our applications for an event site, an offsite event parking lot and the widening of an existing path. This will facilitate KAABOO Cayman in February 2019 – the first event slated for the site. Not only will KAABOO Cayman enhance the country’s entertainment offerings, it will also bring further awareness and economic benefits to the jurisdiction.”