September 17, 2021

Proposed amendments to the Cayman Islands Development and Planning Law (2015 Revision) and the Planning Regulations (2015 Revision)

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big-crestThe Ministry of Planning, Lands, Agriculture, Housing & Infrastructure (PLAHI) will be amended on 12 September, 2016, the Development and Planning Law (2015), the Development and Planning Regulations (2015), and the Building Code Regulations (2013).

The amended law and regulations will bring into effect important changes as a result of consultation with stakeholders and industry. These include:

Aligning the law and regulations with regard to the setback of multi-storey buildings

Increasing the enforcement notice period from three to five years

Amending the maintenance of land notices

Requiring Planning permission for all walls and fences along a road boundary

As a result the amendments will also resolve concerns of a ruling of the Grand Court that highlighted a discrepancy between the law and regulations with regard to the setback of multi-story buildings. The amended regulations will state explicitly that there no further setback will be required for seven through 10 storeys. This now brings the law and regulations in line with each other.

Illegal structures and the like are now exempt from enforcement orders if they have existed for more than three years. However, with the introduction of aerial photography, and given that the Central Planning Authority (CPA) grants permission for five years, it was deemed appropriate to extend the exemption period in the new regulations. As a result, it will be more difficult for illegal and deficient structures to be built, as the CPA will be able to enforce against these types of structures even if they have existed for up to five years.

Further amendments to the maintenance of land notices will allow the CPA to bring an enforcement notice against dilapidated structures, walls and fences. The Government has facilitated many requests from the public that called for this action as there are increasing issues with the unsightliness of the surroundings when derelict vehicles, buildings and such are left throughout our community.

Lastly, to address pedestrian safety, all walls and fences along roads, regardless of the height, will require planning permission.

The Building Code has not been substantially changed since 1999 with the exception of some minor amendments in 2013. An important factor in the decision to adopt this new code was recognising that buildings can be built using alternate means and methods; thereby giving greater flexibility to the industry, especially when designing for alternative energy usage.

Given that Cabinet approved the Cayman Islands Disability Policy in 2014, the code also recognised the importance of accessibility and ensures that where accessible spaces are required, they should contain adequate restrooms, ramps, railings, clearances, etc. for the disabled.

These amendments will bring into effect the most necessary improvements, and address many Health and Safety issues that the Government and the industry recognize to be beneficial to the future growth of development in the islands. It is recognised that more changes may be needed and these will be done incrementally over the next five to six years so that industry can properly adjust.

 

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