CPA will hear rejected quarry request

| 02/12/2010

(CNS): Residents in Mahogany Estates in Lower Valley are again fighting to retain the short lived peace and quiet of their neighbourhood as the developer of their sub-division has re-submitted a planning application to quarry in the area. The Central Planning Authority will be hearing an application for quarrying and blasting in the residential zone at its meeting next week. Home owners in the area who object said that they believe the application by White Rock Investments Ltd is the same one that was refused in 2008 on the grounds that it was illegal, and was not appealed. As a result, they are puzzled as to why it is being considered again. There is nothing, it appears, in the new planning law that allows large scale quarrying in a low density residential area.

The original application was turned down in accordance with a specific regulation in the law, which states: “No use of land in a residential zone shall be dangerous, obnoxious, toxic or cause offensive odours or conditions or otherwise create a nuisance or annoyance to others.” The regulation remains in the new Development and Planning Law Amendment and regulations, which were passed in the Legislative Assembly in July.

The application to quarry the land down to around 10 feet above sea level to make way for a new sub-division is seeking to remove almost 300,000 cubic yards of fill on the 44 acre site. Aside from the obvious implications to the residents living by what would be a commercial quarry where blasting will be taking place, there are also environmental concerns.

Part of the Lower Valley forest is situated on the site, which is home to several endangered and red listed species. Evidence from the Department of Environment demonstrated that the forest is home to the white shouldered bat, which was once thought to be extinct but was rediscovered in the area in 2001. The DoE is hoping the area will become one of the country’s first critical habitats under the new conservation law, which has yet to be passed.

With no conservation law in place, when the CPA hears the application next week there will be no compulsion for the members to consider the environmental implications, nor will the landowners be under any obligation to carry out an environmental impact assessment if the CPA was to grant permission.

The developer has stated in the application that it will move some of the native trees and that it believes the species at risk would move to the surrounding area, so the environmental impact would be minimal.

Residents in the area, who thought their ordeal was over with the rejection in 2008, are once again concerned for their future well-being as well as the environment in which they live. They have battled with the developer for some time as a result of illegal quarrying that had taken place at the site for over a dozen years and are once again dismayed that their homes are at risk.

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Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They will get the approval, one way or the other with this government.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The house next to mine was wiped out by Ivan. The owner-very political in my district and votes with her family for whichever group or party is in power – got huge money from Government since of course she was Caymanian and uninsured. She has rebuilt the place at about 4 times the size and made it into apartments for Filipinos (mostly) – no planning permission of course because she is a very vocal Caymanian and doesn’t believe that regulations exist for born Caymanians "My father was a seaman who built up this country etc etc". To increase her income, she has run an extension cord to a shack in the bush behind her property where several people live. I pointed this out to somone in Planning (he saw the place) who grinned and asked me if I really wanted to make a big thing of it.I said it was Planning who should be making a big thing of it not me. He did not agree and said I should make an official complaint. Yeah. Right.

    Any suggestions Haroon how to deal with this? Your predecessor, Kenneth Ebanks, now planning the future in McKeeva’s ministry, never was able to help.

    • Just Sayin' says:

      You must be relatively new here. Did they not tell you when you got off the plane that the law only applies to some?

      Haroon can’t help you I’m afraid. At least not if he wants to keep his job…..

  3. The 3 R's says:

    For the benefit of "Pit Bull", who suggested covenants to restrict the use of neighbouring land should have been insisted on by the purchasers of residential lots in Mahogany Estate, let me try to enlighten him.

    (1) Purchasers of lots in residential areas anywhere are entitled to rely on the law of the land being obeyed, especially by the Planning Authorities. In this case, the Development and Planning Regulations (2006) states in s.9(5) "Not withstanding the foregoing regulations, no use of land in a residential zone shall be dangerous, obnoxious, toxic or cause offensive odours or conditions or otherwise create a nuisance or annoyance to others." The Central Planning Authority (CPA) in their refusal of October 2008 correctly stated this as the major reason for their refusal to allow quarrying in any part of this residential estate.

    In addition to this, the Regulations (2006) in s.12 (4) state in part (d) "heavy industry shall only be carried on in areas zoned for heavy industry", and in s.12 (6) that "… for the purpose of this regulation, heavy industrial uses shall include but not be limited to power generation, fuel refining and storage, solid waste disposal and recycling, quarrying and mining, and mechanised and other forms of manufacture."

    (2) No change has been made to these regulations in the 2010 amended regulations.

    (3) There was and is therefore absolutely no such onus as asserted by "Pit Bull" placed upon purchasers of land in a residential area.

    In fact the application is for a project so egregiously illegal that it should have been thrown out by the Planning Department without even involving the CPA and troubling the residential owners yet again.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Maybe he is going to tell the CPA that it can be used to develop a new port when the quarrying is complete. The CPA probably have instructions to pass any such applications.

    Isn’t there deep water and no reef to speak of in that location?

  5. Pit Bull says:

    Did the purchasers of the residential plots extract covenants in respect of the use of the neighbouring land when they bought their plots?  No?  Well stop complaining.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Restrictive covernants are not necessary to protect yourself from quarries. Quarries are everywhere considered ultrahazardous and nuisances requiring special permission.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What is amazing is that the developer does not own the land.  The lots in Mahogany were sold as low density residential lots.  The developer failed to mention the small point that he intended to blast the land behind Mahogany to smithereens. 

    What is also amazing is that there are at least 2 lots behind the existing illegal quarry gates to which the owners have no access as the land approaching the lots has been quarried to around 18 feet.  The owners cannot go to their land because the developer has erected quarry gates blocking access.  At the last CPA meeting in 2008, the developers promised to recompense these land owners.   As far as I am aware, they have not received access to their land or compensation.  Surely this is another illegal act?

     During the last lot of blasting which took place very close to some brand new homes, some properties were damaged.  One lady was in her back yard and was blown off her feet by the blast.  There were no warnings to residents of the blasting.   Their surveyors claim that the damage was not caused by the blasting. How convenient for them, but not fair for those people who have damage and cannot afford the cost of repairs.

    The plan is to blast the cliff and 44 acres behind the cliff, which is currently around 30 ft above sea level down to a few feet above sea level.  This creates a funnel for the sea to access the land which is currently protected by the bluff.   This will not just affect Beach Bay but could have wide reaching consequences to many other surrounding areas as the sea will have complete access to the area.  2 days after Ivan, there were waves crashing above the 2 storey homes on Seaspray drive.  the clilff there is around 30 feet.  The homes are at least 20 feet high and waves were crashing over the tops of these homes by at least 15 feet.  Just imagine if those cliffs had not been there???

     

    • In the know says:

      The land is actually owned by the Estate of a well known Bodden Town family realted to thje developer who is riding roughshod over the bebeficiaries. How this has been allowed to happen, I have no clue. More investigation is required.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculous!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ridiculously insane!! not in a residential development.

  9. The 3 R's says:

    To compound matters further, the application covers not just the land registered in Lands and Survey as administered by the applicant, but also seven lots owned by neighbours, two of whom have developed their properties and built houses. This is not sheer accident: their stated intentions would need to incorporate at least parts of these other properties.

    Can this be a serious application? The Planning Department obviously thinks so.

    Neighbours beware!

     

  10. Anonymous says:

    Destroying the natural habitat of a beautiful area, illegal blasting in a residential area, this is completely ludicrous if not outright pathetic and the Planning Dept. should be ashamed of themselves for even looking at the paperwork and giving it some thought especially twice.  Can I send them a big X rubber stamp they can use, CASE CLOSED, the file is sent to their warehouse for storage, call NEXT and move on to deal with proper applications?  Perhaps this is something the Human Rights Commision could look at as this is a breach of the residents human rights.  Is there another Government Agency that can intervene what about the Department of Environment, where are they?  

    • Mat DaCosta-Cottam says:

      In the absence of any appropriate environmental legislation (National Conservation Law) the Department of Environment can only make recommendations. The Department has made extensive recommendations on both this and the previous application. Without a Law there is simply no legal ground for the DoE to intervene.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The question that needs to be asked is "who is the developer?"
     

  12. Anonymous says:

     It would be interesting to know the names of the individuals, who were on the selectcommittee or involved with drafting the law and which lawyer is the representing White Rock.  Could some light be shed on this complicated riddle?

  13. Anonymous says:

      Residents and common folks on Cayman should just get used to having no voice and no qualified representation in your Government or do something about it.  O wait.  Never mind.  You are all Crying as loud as you can.  Hint: No one in Government can hear you.  Just get used to it.

  14. Syko says:

    Well what is good for the goose is good for the gander. And yes this Johnny come lately crowd weren’t here when the Bodden’s Pedro Castle Quarry use to blast and shake the whole of  Lower Valley  Pedro and Northward Complaints were just disregarded back then . Its sure funny how the piece right next to this property is being quarried yet not one complaint. Yes and what about the Big Port development in East End. i guess thats not harming anyone too. Too many double standards and hypocrites. Yes i agree Beach Bay had the last of old growth forest on this island and should have been preserved but it had to make way for massive sub divisions for the same UK based and other visitors and locals to build homes and castles. If you going to stop quarries we need to stop or curtail them all.

    • Houdini says:

      Sycho  You seem to have blinkered vision. You forgot that when Hadshpaltic had their quarry in the 70s it was later closed down because of numerous complaints from neighbours. This latest fiasco is much worse. Next we will have someone trying to quaryy onSeven Mile Beach!

  15. Dickster says:

    As a UK based, frequent visitor to Cayman I am often amazed, and sometimes flabbergasted, by what takes place on your lovely island.

    How can anyone even think that this would be a sensible idea in an area of natural beauty. 

    And having explosives next to a residential area would be laughed out of court anywhere in the world.

    I just hope that this goes the way of the last application and never appears again.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If the CPA rules in favor of this quarry because of the new law they need to question the legal representative about their involvement with drafting the new law.   This just to make sure there is no conflict of interest.

    The people of the area have repeatedly said NO to this travesty. 

    Let’s end it once and for all.