Beach bar proposal turned down for East End

The Central Planning Authority has rejected plans for a beachside bar and restaurant in East End.

Christopher Guckert, a long-time visitor to Grand Cayman, had proposed the Bamboo Beach bar as a concept that would fit with the Ministry of Tourism’s “Go East” initiative.

He said he had scouted possible locations and selected the site because it was in a hotel/tourism zone, and within walking distance of the district’s two large hotels.

Mr. Guckert said he was baffled that the application was turned down after complaints that it was not in keeping with the residential nature of the neighborhood.

The site is on a stretch of beach popular for kitesurfing. He said he planned to run a low-key island-style bar to fill a niche in the community.

Speaking to the Compass after the decision was announced this week, Mr. Guckert said he planned to appeal.

“If we can’t do it here, where can we do it?” he asked.

“We have been told there is this drive to push visitors out east. The Department of Tourism’s plan for the next five years specifically calls for dining options, activities and attractions to push people out of Seven Mile Beach and over to this side of the island.”

The plans also included five residential units, which Mr. Guckert said would be used for short- to medium-term rentals for tourists.

Attorney Waide DaCosta, representing objectors at the Central Planning Authority meeting last week, said the scale of the development was out of keeping with the neighborhood. He said a restaurant should go in a commercial zone, rather than in a hotel/tourism zone.

In a letter to the authority before the meeting, Mr. DaCosta outlined a number of concerns, including that the bar and restaurant would bring crowds and loud music to the area.

“My clients’ concern is that this large-scale restaurant and bar will destroy the quiet and tranquil area and will be a nuisance. The sheer magnitude of the restaurant and bar puts it on the same level as Grand Old House, the Wharf and Cayman Kai, to name a few.”

Architect John Doak, speaking for the applicant, said such developments were commonly allowed in hotel/tourism zones.

Mr. Guckert told the CPA there would be entertainment, but he planned to run a laid-back venue that would not be on the same scale as the restaurants referenced.

“It is not going to be a wild nightclub,” he said.

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