Objection Raised Against Proposed 92 Bedroom Project On Batabano Road Loop Cayman Islands

The content originally appeared on: Cayman Compass

According to the agenda for the next meeting of the Central Planning Authority on February 28, 2024, a formal objection was made to the application by West Village Development Company Ltd. to construct 82 apartments with 92 bedrooms on Block 4D Parcels 129,513 & 514, Batabano Road, West Bay. The primary complaint is potential flooding from the development.

Based on the meeting agenda, the matter has been before the CPA before.

The agenda summarised this as follows:

The Authority granted planning permission for a Commercial and Residential complex (P21-0556) on 4D 129, 132 and 514. That project contained 179 apartments and 280 bedrooms. If the current project is approved it would supersede P21-0556.

The current application was adjourned to re-invite the applicant and objector to attend the meeting. The applicant was present, but the objector was not.

Regarding the objection to the project, one objector is “the owner of WBNW – Block 4D, Parcel 173, which is just across the street from the above development” and has lived there for 48 years.

The objector explained:

The majority of land in the Batabano area is zoned Low Density- Residential.

However, [for] the new development, the developer would be filling their parcel much higher than the surrounding parcels where homes have been built for decades.

The objector added:

Planning also approved for the Saint Mary’s cemetery to be constructed on Block 4D, Parcel 510 which is right in my back yard and I have severe flooding when it rain because the parcel was filled much much higher than the surrounding parcels, which means if the above is approved we will get water from both sides because the cemetery does not have a retaining wall and no proper drainage system and a deep well that when the tide is high water is coming over the top.

The objector continued:

I wonder how many more buildings will be constructed on that little strip of land called the Batabano road. To my knowledge this parcels of land was already submitted to planning and was rejected it was going to be a little Camana Bay and this application seems to be a little similar.

I am sincerely asking you to look carefully at this application and consider the impact if approved to the residents of the Batabano area and West Bay in general where people have lived there for decades.

Regarding the potential flooding, the Department of Environment noted the following advice for the applicant:

With the conversion of the site to hardstanding, drainage must be properly assessed.

The applicant should consider incorporating Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) into the stormwater management for the site to mitigate against the inundation of the surrounding area.

Notwithstanding this repeated feedback by the DoE on several applications before the CPA, Cayman has still not implemented a comprehensive and strict stormwater management legislation that would prevent new developments from building their foundations at higher levels than their neighbours or main roads. Unless such comprehensive legislation is put in place, many areas in Cayman that were not previously prone to flooding during periods of average rain may now experience flooding due to permitted building practices.

The CPA will discuss the objector’s concerns, project suitability, and agency comments at the next CPA meeting on February 28, 2024, at 10:00 am in Conference Room 1038, 1st Floor, Government Administration Building, 133 Elgin Avenue, George Town.