DoE urges rethink of oceanfront setbacks - Cayman Islands Headline News - Cayman News Service

(CNS): The Department of Environment has said the current blanket approach to planning applications to build on the oceanfront needs to be reconsidered because it is not climate resilient. The experts said the current high water mark setback rules are based purely on beach or ironshore and take no account of the variety of coastlines around the islands, the impact of the ocean in different places or rising sea-levels.

In comments on an application for a house in North Side due to be considered by the Central Planning Authority today (Wednesday), the DoE said this plot is perched beach and not ironshore and treating it as such will have serious implications.

The experts said this application shows the need for “site-specific consideration of setbacks” rather than the treating all applications either as ironshore requiring a 50ft setback or beach, which has a 75ft setback, and allowing everyone to use that as a maximum rather than a minimum requirement.

“Given the climate change predictions for the region, including sea-level rise and increased intensity of storm events, including storm surge, coastal setbacks should not be reduced but instead should be treated as a minimum,” the DoE said, adding that taking a different approach can help with climate resilience, a current stated policy of the PACT Government.

“Setbacks are one of a number of ways of enhancing the resilience of properties against the inevitable effects of climate change, such as coastal flooding and...

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