CPA to consider ‘flawed’ plan

| 02/08/2011

(CNS):The objectors to the proposed Emerald Sound development in South Sound say that the Central Planning Authority will be hearing the application for the controversial development without the benefit of crucial information on Wednesday. According to the objectors no government department has supplied the authority with information regarding storm surge and the National Roads Authority made its submissions based on inadequate plans. The objectors say that in short the authority will be considering the application tomorrow with flawed plans and missing information regarding the potential hazards of the project.

According to correspondence to the planning department from the NRA the country’s road’s company said it cannot supply the CPA with information on storm-surge analysis and coastal engineering impacts of this proposed development, as requested, as that was not in its remit. The NRA told the CPA it could only supply information on transportation and drainage & storm-water management issues.

The correspondence between the two public authorities also demonstrates that the NRA was not given the full plans. In his memo to the director of planning, Denis Thibeault, assistant director at the transportation & planning unit said that the NRA was aware the developer had retained the services of an overseas civil engineering firm in preparing plans for this project but it had not seen any of the preliminary engineering details of the project beyond what was shown on the subdivision and excavation plan.

Aside from not receiving all of the information it required the NRA also pointed out that there were a number of unanswered questions regarding the plans not least who will maintain and inspect the bridge structure and foundation as Thibeault said the NRA is not “outfitted to conduct such maintenance and inspection function.” Among the many recommendations that the NRA made engineering staff also pointed out that a maximum slope of 6 percent for the vertical profile of the proposed bridge would be required which would require the bridge to be 50% longer than shown by the developer’s plan.

The objectors to the development have also contacted Cayman Islands Hazard Management department and discovered that it has supplied no information to the CPA regarding the storm-surge analysis and coastal engineering impacts of the development.

Given that the main basis for the objections to the development is this issue those leading the campaign against the project have questioned how the CPA will be able to properly consider the proposals at tomorrow’s hearing.  Given the absence of want is crucial information the objectorssay the planning department should not yet have submitted the plans to the CPA to hear.

“The CPA will on August 3, therefore be considering the proposed development without taking into consideration form external agencies commenting on the objectors concerns about storm-surge and coastal impacts of the canal to the sea,” the objectors stated. “Surely this must be an abuse of process to ignore the concerns of objectors by not providing the CPA members with information to make informed decisions and take into consideration the reasons for objections.”

The objectors were also concerned that government agencies have not been communicating with each other over the proposed project and as a result other crucial information is missing.

Not only that, but the correspondence from the NRA which was sent to planning shows that the recommendations made by the authority as far back as 2009 have not been acted upon by the developer and introduced into the plans.

“The CPA is scheduled to consider a plan with fundamental flaws, this reflects very poorly on processes within the Planning Department,” the residents and objectors noted.

The planning meeting is still expected to take place on Wednesday and those against the development are hoping that they will be able to impress upon the CPA the real and genuine concerns people have over the developer’s plans to cut canals into the site that they say poses significant risk to the marine and land environments in the area.

With a petition submitted almost 18 months ago to the planning department containing more than a thousand signatures from residents in the 1500 foot zone as well as much farther afield, alongside a report from the DoE which made the dangers of the development very clear, residents and objectors are very concerned that they are being ignored by the planning department and that the development could be approved on flawed plans.

See NRA comments and plans for the development below 

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  1. Libertarian says:

    So odd, I haven't heard anything yet from Ezzard Miller and Arden Mclean about his project and the environment. But ever start a project in their own home district, they would be on it like lice. Isn't that so odd… the silence is deafening.  South Sounders, it appears, are left on there own on this one. 

  2. Libertarian says:

    It is clear as day that Mr. Burns Conolly, the developer, and who they represent, if given the green light, will go ahead with the project whether or not the people of South Sound opposes it or supports it. There excuse:  The country needs it!  Thus far, there appears to be no concern whatsoever on how this will effect the people of South Sound. After educating them about this development, I would like to see, if they would be so kind and true at heart, to conduct a survey as to who supports and oppose this project; and if the majority of the community opposes it, then respect the people. Time will tell.  I am just watching when all is said and done, how much they value the people's needs. 

    • Anonymous says:

      so if people say no for no good reason(or their own selfish reasons) that is good enough to stop proposed development????……goodnight .zzzzzz

      • Libertarian says:

        This development will effect alot of people, don't they have a say as to what goes on in their backyard?

        • Anonymous says:

          thats why there is a planning board……

          asked you before…if there was 2 residents in all of soth sound, have they got the right to block all future development?

          • anonymous33 says:

            I like Lib is talking about the majority of SS.  not two people

          • Libertarian says:

            My appeal is not to the Planning Board. I appeal to the man who has the big bucks!  I have lost faith totally in this government!  I have not heard anything from Ezzard, Alden, Arden and the UDP crew.

    • Anonymous says:

      thank god that this 'survey' will never happen…… in any situation…..

    • Anonymous says:

      so south residents can veto all future developments if they so wish????…..go back to sleep…

  3. Burns Conolly AIA says:

    I would like to comment on this notion that this application is "flawed" according to some objectors.


    We have provided the Planning department witha full application. We have proposed a development that meets all planning laws and regulations. That application calls for a development that is very low density.


    The Planning Laws give the CPA full authority to approve or turn down applications before it WITHOUT reference to anyone. The CPA has traditionally requested 'agency comments' (from other government departments including the Planning department) prior to a hearing but can, and have so done, choosen not to follow those comments, particularly as some of the agenciesmay not be cognizant of all aspects of the development. Not saying this is all good however it is the facts and what has happended here since 1977 when the CPA was given those powers. On the otherside, and in many cases, the agency comments are literally copied into the CPA approval letter and pass directly through to the applicant as conditions of approval.


    So this throwaway comment that the CPA has not spoken to one agency or another is just a "red herring."

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sooo, will the developer be paying for the cost of re-aligning and re-grading (fill material and grading equipment, labour costs for works, etc.) of the SS road? If not, what will be the cost of this extra burden on the Govt and us citizens?

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      The Developer is paying for the realigning of the road and any impact to the utilities through that area. The road will be built to NRA specifications who will review its construction.  The country benefits in the deal by having a higher elevated road that is slightly further from the sea making it more robust along with proper pedestrian and bicycle lanes in the area.


      So no cost to us taxpayers.

      • Anonymous says:

        There will only be "no cost to the taxpayers" if the Emerald Sound developer pays for any maintenance to the bridge and its run up for ever, is that going to happen?

  5. Anonymous says:

    18' – 20' clearance under the bridge!  And I was planning on bringing a sailboat down. What a lovely place to shelter from a nor'wester though.

  6. Anonymous says:

    'oh and don't forget about the threat to our property values'….zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  7. AnonymousSick and Tired of the B...S... says:

    The issue of the bridge gradient is very interesting. Is this perhaps the architectural equivalent of “artistic license” where the pictorial representation of a structure shows something which would not be viable from an engineering perspective. Meanwhile, what will be the weight-limit for the bridge. Presumably, at the least, capable of carrying the garbage trucks which will need to visit ES- what about the odd 20 cubic yard loaded marl truck that chooses South Sound as it’s route into town………..

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      The NRA will require the developer to design the bridge to AASHTO Standards, used in highways in USA. 


      PS: our graphics are correct. We have verified them. Total length required on west side is 280 feet, 320 on the east side to match existing grades. NRA made some assumptions about structural depth of bridge and used the maximum clearance dimension we gave them under bridge- we are using the lower number. Bridge works as drawn without all potential impacts noted.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why would the NRA consider putting 3 roundabouts so close to each other? Mr. Conolly seems to suggest that the ES development will accommodate the NRA's plans for the roundabout, however, i believe that it is the other way around – the developer asked "how can this work?" and the NRA saying "Well, if you do this and do that, then it could work." So the real motivation for installing a roundabout and moving the SS road to meet up with the THIRD roundabout in that area is from the developer trying to create larger lots on the seaside.

    • Burns Conolly AIA says:

      The developer would only be happy to remove the roundabout and the huge space for the South Sound Bypass going to the north through the project property. In fact, if you look closely the application only makes provision for it- NRA said they may build it in next 10 years or more. We do not require the roundabout to be built now or, in fact, ever.


      I guess this "moving road to make land" myth will never die. Oh, well….

      • Anon says:

        I accept that moving the road does not "make land" but you did admit at the meeting that it does make those lots more private and therefore much more valuable.

        • Anonymous says:

          What exactly is wrong with that?

          • Anonymous says:

            What is wrong with that is that you set a precedent of moving a public road so that a developer can make his land more valuable. Next stop, move (close) West Bay Road to make another developers land more valuable.

      • Anonymous says:

        GRABBING 50' of ROAD…

        Yes, that is what the developer is doing according to your plans: getting 50' of South Sound Rd added for free to the depth of most of his seaside lots that are way too shallow as is…

        You said that the developer would make more money developing "AFFORDABLE HOMES" on the site, so I suggest he goes ahead and does just that, as it'll be more profitable for him, the government (stamp duty and import duty on materials) and, finally, the buyers of these AFFORDABLE HOMES will be able to enjoy a SEAVIEW, for a change…

        So, BRING IT ON!!

        We want the AFFORDABLE HOMES in South Sound and NO road realignment, NO Bridge and NO Canal!…

        I hope you finally GET the MESSAGE!!…





        • Burns Conolly AIA says:

          You are missing the main point here clearly. 


          The planning permission for the seawall and filling the land to 10 feet on the seaside, along with all of those lots, has existed for 10 years. The wall has been started on three of those lots and the first home has been built there. That Planning permission is still valid and active. Whether we have ES or not, whether we move the road or not, that seaside development will happen. There are no sea views there now and there will be only homes there in the future. As clear as can say it.


          The seaside area is not even a part of this ES application with the exception of the lot where we cut the canal entrance.







          • Anonymous says:

            Although I do not personally support this project, I must say that I greatly respect Mr. Conolly's willingness to answer questions and also discuss issues with the project's detractors.

            He has done so in a very professional and respectful manner. I have been very impressed.

        • Anonymous says:

          50'  Wide Land GRAB…

          So, Mr. Conolly, you are not disagreeing with my contention that the developer will end up GRABBING 50' of South Sound road to increase the depth of most of his 22 seafront lots, thus substantially increasing their value…

          I hope the developer is prepared to go all the way to the Privvy Council and wait many years, because this is where this application is going, should the CPA be blindsided enough to grant you the application…