Complaining about illegal construction

| 23/07/2017

Recently a friend contacted the Department of Planning about some significant construction at a residence in Webster’s Estates in South Sound. They were told there was no planning permission but that they had only one enforcement officer so couldn’t attend. This seems a little surprising given the extensive requirements for any building or renovation projects, which would imply on the surface that the department had a strong desire to impose a solid level of quality for those doing construction. However, those wishing to avoid these rules and regulations appear to have a good chance at getting away with it if there really is only one officer to do enforcement. What is the official line from planning with regard to handling of reported cases of non-permitted works?

Auntie’s answer: To get the official response that you seek, I contacted the Department of Planning. It turns out that at the time your friend approached them, the department was indeed down one compliance officer from the usual complement of two, due to staff turnover. These officers “are responsible for investigating breaches of the Development and Planning Law and Regulations”, a representative of the department said. The good news is they are now back to two officers.

When the department receives a complaint from the public of a planning infraction, it is logged and a compliance officer is assigned to investigate within 10 days of the report coming in. As for your friend’s report, the official said, “In the case of the said illegal works in Webster’s Estates, a complaint was received on 6 June 2017, placed in our complaints log and investigated on 14 June 2017. This resulted in the issuance of (both) an Enforcement (Notice) and Stop Notice to the landowners on 15 June 2017.”

After those notices were issued, the owners applied for planning permission and paid the after-the-fact (ATF) fees. “As per the Development and Planning Regulations, ATF fees are assessed at a rate of 10 times the application fees specified in Schedule One. The application is currently being processed,” the official explained.

If a landowner is served with an Enforcement Notice, he or she has 56 days to comply with the terms specified, and either apply for planning permission or remove the offending works. However, the official added, “A Stop Notice has immediate effect and requires the cessation of all offending works at the time the notice is served. Persons served with an Enforcement Notice and/or Stop Notice have the right to lodge an appeal to the Central Planning Authority (CPA) within 14 days of being served.”

For this particular case, the official informed me that the CPA is scheduled to consider the application for planning permission 4 August 2017. And in case you were wondering, “The issuance of the Stop Notice does not in any way affect the CPA’s ability to grant or refuse planning permission.”

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Category: Ask Auntie, Planning Questions

Comments (3)

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  1. AlanP says:

    How convenient is for the second person to just show up out of nowhere.

  2. Anonymous says:

    …and given what happened on the George Town waterfront, we should have confidence that this system works?

    • Chris Johnson says:

      You make a very good point. The fence installed illegally by the owner of the purple Mickey Mouse building precludes all from entering the beach which has been open for Caymanians for decades. He has NO planning permission. He rents out deck chairs at $10 a pop. He has NO occupancy licence. He has no Trade and Buiness licence. His cart selling gifts has NO trade and Business licence.

      The building and car park breach all setback regulations.

      His string of floating buoys in the sea is not approved by the DOE and illegal.

      He closes down the road on the other side adjoining his building to accommodate renting the property to buses. Guess what, this land is owned by the government.

      Why does the Government allow one person to walk all over us?

      As most people know I constructed a walkway to make the place safer and conducive to pedestrians whilst next door is an accident waiting to happen.

      Any support is most appreciated.