Community activists opposed to the senate approved and governor vetoed zoning variance for Sirenusa delivered petitions bearing almost 1,100 signatures to St. John Legislature office manager Loren Abramson on Friday morning, May 18.
Catherine Stephen, Jane Ramnarine and Sharon Coldren hand delivered the petitions opposing the zoning variance to allow luxury condominium developer Enighed Condominiums LLC to construct seven additional units at its site overlooking Cruz Bay.
The signators “oppose any amendment to rezone or grant a variance,” according to the petition.
Only Benefits Investors
“I am here because I am against the rezoning,” said Stephen. “It’s already there and we can’t tear it down, but it should go up as it was permitted and not higher.”
Despite assertions by Enighed Condominiums owner Carlo Marzano, investors are the only people who will benefit from the development, according to Stephen.
“This is not going to benefit the people of St. John,” Stephen said. “The only people who are going to benefit from this are the investors.”
Senators, including Senator at Large Carmen Wesselhoft who voted in favor of the zoning variance, will now be sure how many St. John residents feel, Coldren explained.
“We want to be sure the senators know the truth about how the vast majority of St. John voters feel about this project wanting to expand,” said Coldren.
Wesselhoft Doesn’t Stop
Although Wesselhoft did not accept the petitions herself, she did drive by the Legislature building twice without stopping. Instead, the Senator at Large’s St. John office manager Marigold St. Prix accepted the bundles of petitions.
“The senator has a previous engagement,” St. Prix said.
The freshman senator should have listened to her constituents, according to the activists.
“I’m very angry,” Stephens said about Wesselhoft’s vote in favor of Sirenusa’s zoning variance.
“I’m disappointed,” agreed Ramnarine.
“I was very surprised that her vote was so different than we thought her earlier position was,” said Coldren.
Opposition to the zoning variance has united the St. John community, according to Coldren.
“Living on St. John for a long time, I’ve never seen an issue that has brought out such a diverse group of St. John residents — black and white, rich and poor — who are against this,” Coldren said. “To reward a developer who has made so many errors with seven extra units, it just makes St. John angry.”
“The senators only want to listen to the developer,” Coldren added.
In addition to St. Prix, the activists delivered copies of the petitions to Abramson who will deliver them to Senate President Usie Richards, she explained.