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New South Church Street Development “Green-lit” by Planning: New Construction has Advocates and Detractors

The Cayman Islands Central Planning Authority recently green-lit plans for nineteen new homes and a man-made beach bordering the marine park in George Town, Grand Cayman.

This development plan, submitted by a company called Coriander Development Ltd., is the most recent project to be approved for the build site located on South Church Street in the South Sound district. The Central Planning Department initially approved plans for forty-two apartments for the very same parcel back in the year 2000. That project, however, never materialized and quickly fell by the wayside. In its place though, this new housing development featuring a communal pool and a man-made beach has emerged and plans have since been submitted and approved.

Documents emerging from the Central Planning Authority meeting that addressed the development point to a rough budget of $19.5 million for the new housing project. Noticeably absent from the plans, though,were the specific details about the scale, size and and cost per unit of the homes once completed. The developers stated that even though this particular lot is zoned for “beach resort/residential construction” (which allows for a much bigger development with tallerstructures and more units en total)that they havechosen to develop a complex of single family homes that will better fit into and gel with the surrounding neighborhood. The whole idea, they contend, is to promote the existing community structure and keep in line with the homes/developments already in place on South Church Street.

This new project has gotten its approval despite the many concerns voiced from the Department of Environment. Namely, the DOE states that the creation of a new artificial beachat this location is not in the best interest of the local environment. Many individuals have voiced concerns that thewaves prevalent in this area would cause the sand from the beach to wash onto the reef and negatively affect the local coral structures and wildlife in the nearby marine park. The DOE feels that the beach, then, is largely unsustainable at the location. They argue that the sand will wash into the sea and need to be replenished regularly to maintain usable levels. They go on to cite examples of other artificially created beaches in South Soundthat are already causing similar problems. This opinion is echoed by complaints from the general public and folks in the water sports industry on the island.

People against the new project have posited that the first strong northwester storm would make the Planning Department have regrets about approving this development. Others are calling for a proper environmental impact statement to be done before construction commences.Construction is slated to move forward on the new luxury development by the beginning of 2017.

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