Disputing fire lanes marked by condo

| 20/09/2017

I was trying to go to Seven Mile Beach on Sunday and I saw a beach access by Christopher Columbus condos going into West Bay. When I pulled to the roadside by the beach access, I saw signs on the condo complex wall stating the roadside was a fire lane and parking was not allowed at any time. I thought it may have just been this spot so I backed up a bit, but then saw another fire lane sign. When I looked along the entire condo complex roadside boundary wall I saw more fire lane signs on the wall. I then asked myself, ‘Is the whole roadside a fire lane?’

 Not wanting to take a chance, I drove back up West Bay Road and went by another beach access. As I was crossing the immediate adjacent condo complexes by Christopher Columbus, I did not see any fire lane signs on their roadside walls.

Are the fire lane signs on the Christopher Columbus condos’ wall lawful? If so, is the fire lane just in front of Christopher Columbus? Or is it that the owners of Christopher Columbus condos put up the no parking signs by the beach access to keep locals and residents away from the beach next to them?

Auntie’s answer: My response is going to be shorter than your questions, with the information coming from both the Cayman Islands Fire Service and the Department of Planning.

An official with planning, after taking the time to retrieve the relevant files from their warehouse, said, “A review of the approved site plan and fire access plan does not demarcate the area in front of the property as a fire lane.”

The fire service also very helpfully outlined the history of the Christopher Columbus and its signage. While the CIFS does not have records of older properties, they were able to provide the following: “The property was built in the late 1970s and opened its doors to the public/condo owners in 1978. At that time the Cayman Islands Fire Service did not have an adopted or gazetted fire code.”

Therefore, it would appear that you should be allowed to park anywhere you want along that property. Please write again if you encounter any difficulty in doing so.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Parking Questions

Comments (31)

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  1. Andy Buck says:

    As a frequent visitor to the CC I can tell you that the main reason for not parking along the front of the complex is the danger it causes for drivers pulling out of the lot. The wall is close to WBR and you have to pull pretty far out to see oncoming traffic. The oncoming traffic, by the way, is flying at top speed! Cars parked there make it more difficult to see and cause you to pull further out into oncoming traffic. As far as keeping people off the beach… that’s nonsense! I spend a month at a time on that beach and it is always frequented by Caymanians and tourists alike. The access is wide enough for cars to drive directly to the beach and park there. And they do. Often there are entire families using the CC chairs, cabanas and showers. Rarely have i seen the owners complain or confront those folks. Anyway, cars parked in front of CC make it dangerous for pulling out into traffic. You can complain about my driving or childishly make fun of my driving skills or whatever you want, it doesn’t change the fact that the speeding along West Bay Road is going to get someone hurt or killed and blocking an exiting driver’s view won’t help. Enjoy your beaches and ocean. You’re blessed to have it. It’s there for everyone.

  2. West bay Premier says:

    I would think that fire lane should be as close to the building as possible , not on the outside farthest from the building. But it really sounds more like a prevention than a fire lane
    The fire lanes should be posted in their parking lot next to building . And you have my permission to park on public right away as long as you aren’t obstructing traffic , and use that public access any time you want and swim as long as want , but remember to have respect for the others..

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s always the older units with even older owners. Every time.

  4. Permanent Resident says:

    Jack don’t want you to bath on his beach. Well the natives sold the land to the rich, the rich has the right not to want people being a nuisance near their million dollar property. Tell your people stop selling their lands. Too late, nothing left for your generations.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not Jack’s beach. Jack didn’t buy below the high water mark because it was never for sale.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are not preventing access to the beach, just asking you to be mindful of the fire truck access…so Jack is not stopping you from using his beach.

    • Anonymous says:

      NO they do NOT have that right. The property next door, being a beach access belongs to the public as does the beach in front of their million dollar property, up to the high water mark.

      They also do not have the right to prevent anyone from parking on the side of the public road directly in front of their fence as they only bought up to the fence.

      Tell the rich who bought land next to a public right of way to shut up and stop harassing the public when they want to use what is their beach…….not Jacks..

  5. Richard Wadd says:

    The writer clearly stated that the condo in question HAS public beach access and is therefore is in compliance with the Law. The writer was questioning the ‘Fire lane’ signs used to discourage parking in front of the property and while the signage may be a bit misleading, it certainly does not prevent the public from using the beach access in any way what-so-ever.
    There is also considerable area directly accross the road from CC that can be used for parking without obstructing either the sidewalk or roadway. GOD forbid that supposedly intelligent people would actually have to walk a few extra feet and cross a road.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fake traffic signs are illegal. These fake signs prevent the public from parking on the public ight of way. Why do you think that’s ok?

      • Anonymous says:

        The fake traffic signs are clearly intended to stop people using the public beach access. That’s the issue.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m going to go there every weekend now just to annoy those people. Here come the riff raff!

    • Anonymous says:

      Under the law fire trucks must have access to three sides of the building.
      If there are cars parked there and the fire service are unable to do their job, lives lost
      should be on the conscience of those who parked there just to aggravate the owners.

      • Anonymous says:

        They can access the front by driving into the parking lot. This is just selfish owners who bought property on a public beach trying to force the public away from “their” section. I say everyone should go camp out front and politely assert their legal right to access. Perhaps they would then understand moderation and compromise. They knew the beach was public below the high water line when they bought so suck it up cupcakes, the people have rights of access and use. You want private, there are other quieter areas, but regardless where, Cayman law is clear, the people have right of access below the high water mark. Condos have been doing this for over 40 years since I was a teenager and they use every method of sign, fence, rope and security guard, but in the end, the law is the law. On the other side, public users, respect the owners rights. Their chairs and umbrellas are theirs. You wouldn’t want someone driving up in front of your house, setting up a large BBQ and playing loud music. It is all about respect for each other, and in the case of these owners of the condos, respect for the law, not using it to try and get an unreasonable and illegal upper hand…

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually the public has the right to reasonable use of everything between the high water mark and the vegetation line. The right is prescriptive and long established.

          • Anonymous says:

            There is no law or court case that says that.

            • Anonymous says:

              Yes there is. It is called the Prescription Law. You should look it up! (The version in place when that development was built).

              • Anonymous says:

                Nothing about a vegetation line.

                • Anonymous says:

                  The public has a right to pass and re pass to the vegetation line. The beach was the road to west bay before there was a road. The right is prescriptive going back centuries. The “road” was demarcated by the water on one side and the sea grapes and cocoplum on the other. If you choose to rip out the natural vegetation, more fool you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you. We have a similar issue at our complex with cars that routinely block a shared easement and defacto “fire lane” – ironically, the same idiots that blocked the fire/ambulance service three times last year where the victims of EMS calls to their own address! We need to have a more sophisticated review of our laws to protect morons from their own selfish ignorance. That would truly be serving the public.

      • Anonymous says:

        That makes NO sense whatsoever. There are car parks wrapped around residential buildings everywhere, Lantern Point, San Sebastian to name a few. So people who park there are preventing the fire service from doing their job? You must be an owner at Christopher Columbus.

    • Anonymous says:

      There should be an organised family beach day until the signs come down. It should be repeated everywhere the problem arises, including at major hotels if necessary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Go for it!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    So when are the planning department going to take down the signs and notify the owners………hmmmmm probably never as to scared of there own shadow and upsetting the wealthy

  8. Inspector Clouseau says:

    How should this be so knowing that offset from the road is for the the shoulder off the road itself? Again, this is just another way to push locals from the complex.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Great topic, in addition to that It would be interesting to know if there are any actual water hydrants along their property. I would refrain from parking there if there was one but there won’t be 3 hydrants along their wall to block the entire roadside.

  10. Anonymous says:

    CNS, did you have to ask if Planning Enforcement Unit would be contacting the condo management and directing that they remove the illegal signs? Or did Planning say they were going to deal with it / look into it?

    • Anonymous says:

      Like they are supposedly (still) doing with the monstrous wall at Frank Sound Dock… for almost 2 years now…. Zzzzz.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The managers of this condo have been trying to stop people from parking there for years! Don’t listen to them! Park and enough the beach!

  12. Anonymous says:

    The tricks and schemes these people come up with to keep Caymanians off of their own beaches. SMH.