GT hotel proposal faces local opposition

| 19/09/2017 | 31 Comments
CNS Business

Pageant Beach development proposal

(CNS Business): The proposed new hotel development at the Pageant Beach site in George Town will be going before the Central Planning Authority on Wednesday, but not everyone will be hoping the board gives the proposed project the nod. Despite enthusiastic support from government for the new hotel in the capital, residents in the area are concerned that the planned development is far too big. The CPA’s meeting agenda shows objections from several parties in the area who say a 10-storey hotel in that spot is over-development and the construction will have a serious impact on their lives.

Developers HHG are proposing a $200 million development that will include a hotel with 456 rooms, six villas, six pools, two restaurants and a boardwalk.

As the project will be on the edge of a marine park, the developers have already had discussions with the Department of Environment, and officials there confirmed that its recommendations have been taken into account.

Despite excessive criticisms recently of the National Conservation Council on proposed projects, the NCC has not directed the need for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) as a result of the history of the site and the consultation the developer had with the DoE before submitting plans. Provided the developers take precautions to protect the turtle nesting sites in the area during construction and use turtle-friendly lighting once it is complete, the DoE is not objecting to the project.

Nevertheless, residents in the area who are objecting to the development believe the size of the project warrants an EIA, and that the size of the project will impact the local marine environment.

The CPA will be expecting the developer to reduce the density of rooms it has proposed, as it does exceed the density regulations, but the law now permits ten-storey buildings in tourism-zoned areas of Seven Mile Beach and George Town.

The NRA has recommended a traffic impact assessment because of the anticipated increase of vehicles in an area that already suffers some congestion, but there are few other legal hurdles in the way of the proposed development, which comes on the heels of the planning approval recently given to NCB for a smaller boutique hotel further along the coast line.

The opposition for the project is coming from residents of Poinsettia Condominiums, the closest residencies to the proposed new development. Lawyers writing to planning on behalf of the residents suggest the project is too big for the site and too close to their clients’ homes. The lawyers described the project as “disproportionate in the extreme” for the location.

Some of the residents wrote directly to planning to say that they do not object in principle to the idea of a new hotel in their neighbourhood but believe the height and size is too much and want to see a much more scaled down proposal.

CNS understands that planning meetings are now open to the public, and while only those in the relevant consultation zone are allowed to participate, people can attend to observe the proceedings.

See agenda for Wednesday’s meeting here.

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Category: Construction, Stay-over tourism, Tourism

Comments (31)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It will be a nice upgrade to the slummy end of the beach.

  2. A says:

    To big of a facility for a small piece of land. The traffic will be a nightmare.

  3. Anonymous says:

    If HHG are projecting to build a 400 room hotel and villas for $200M they are in a big surprise.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Who are HHG and what are their credentials and history for completing projects like this? What is their financial condition? All of this should be made public.

    $250m for a project of this size seems very low.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Useless NIMBYs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I cant imagine who would stay at a hotel that is directly downwind from the GT dump most days.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Much of the objection will in reality be Proxy for a much more fundamental question. Who are we developing for, and why?

    To much of this so called miracle has operated to do little or nothing for large proportions of the Caymanian people.

    They are not employed in the construction, their businesses do not supply the materials and furnishings, and they are not employed to work in what is built.

    We simply ignore our laws and live with the long term consequence.

    Government needs to address those issues now, or the welcome of the Caymanian people on which everything stands risks disappearing.

    • Anonymous says:

      A very good question!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hmmm, not quite true as tourists generate quite a bit of economic activity and government revenue which does benefit Caymanians.

      Also, you may need those jobs one day if the financial industry continues its decline. Think of them as a fall back.

      • Anonymous says:

        Economic activity? For who? Some taxi drivers?

        The North Sound boat captains are South African or Australian
        The boat owners are American
        The waitstaff are Canadian or Asian
        The construction workers are Jamaican
        The cleaners are from the Philippines

        And don’t even get me started as to who really owns these supposedly Caymanian owned businesses that employ them.

        The revenue gets wasted. Caymanians get poor healthcare and poor education and struggle to get by in a country where things are so expensive because of all this miraculous development. They would much rather have the jobs they used to.

      • West bay Premier says:

        4 :20pm ,, The fall back would be just like the present situation. Then are you suggesting that Caymanians live of the Government while you might be having your big fat pay check coming in every week .

        Anonymous 11:39 am hit the nail on the head and I know that it hurts some . But I think that he/ she should be asking for the Government to answer the question along with 1,000 unemployed Caymanians .

    • Anonymous says:

      So far as I can tell “we” are not developing anything. People who actually put up money are doing it, in accordance with the many Cayman laws and regulations.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, if you read our laws and regulations, you would realize that much of what is happening is in discordance (not accordance) with them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not true as the major building dealer will supply a lot of things

  8. Anonymous says:

    If you look at the Kimpton and the Ritz. you will see that the planning regulations for parking are woefully inadequate. At both properties the employees, for the most part, have to park on the adjoining public roads disrupting the public’s use of those roads. How would that work for this proposed development? The only adjoining road is West Bay Rd. there is no side street. The regulations need to be changed to make sure that this can not happen. Development should not trump the needs of the people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Planning regulations? I am still looking for public open space at the Ritz (a golf course closed to the public does not count) and how many stories is the Kimpton again?

      It seems that regulations are like flags around here. They look pretty and get waived.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I can’t imagine being an owner at Poinsettia Condos with the spectre of a 10 story building shading their balconies and blocking their sea views forever. Devastating. Hopefully they can negotiate some kind of settlement to offset the market value loss to them. Our government needs reminders that they have a duty to existing landowners.

    • Anonymous says:

      When the people at Poinsettia purchased their units the regulations allowed for 7 story hotels. The zoning was the same then I think. So the only difference is 3 more floors. Will that really make a material difference to them?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Judging by the issues they’re already having with the TI refurb I wouldn’t worry too much about HHG finding the funding to actually build the hotel. It seems to me the planning application is simply a way of bumping up the resale value of the site. If the CPA do rubber stamp this application can they put a time limit for completion on it? If they can that (and it certainly happens in other countries) would effectively put a stop to this option. My great fear is HHG are simply planning to clear the site and then put it back up for sale with permission to build the hotel – it’s happened before.

  11. Anonymous says:

    They will build it and DART will end up buying it in 5 years… Stand by.

  12. Sharkey says:

    I think that the government need to STOP development of major projects until it’s really known what the outcome of the project would cause .
    I don’t think that the NRA is in any position to give scientific evidence that would be good .
    The Government needs to realize the size of Cayman is not a 100 mile Island, but it looks like that’s what they are thinking the way that they are trying to develop the Cayman Islands.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have read the objection letters and responses from the architect in the meeting agenda. While I’m not thrilled about having ANY 10-storey buildings along Seven Mile Beach, the architect makes a really good point. If Poinsettia (or any other strata/owner along the Seven Mile Beach corridor) had an objection to developments reaching that height, they should have objected when the proposed revisions to the planning law were published. Now that those amendments have been approved, building to 10-storeys is well within any developer’s right. If HHG weren’t proposing this now, someone else would in the future. One cannot object to having a project proceed (if it follows the current laws and regulations) just because one does not want it next to them. (Or rather, they technically can object but it should not be considered as a valid complaint by the Central Planning Authority.)

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re assuming they didn’t object then. – But it does throw up a good point, the law needs to be changed: lower the building level, greater setbacks, & more parking. Oh, and a proper infrastructure fee to pay for the roads, sewage, etc., that will need to be upgraded to support this (and future) monstrosity.

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