Architects Criticize Opponents and Competitors in Defense of Their Controversial Developments

With architects using personal attacks on critics and competitors at island public hearings, people who design glass houses are throwing stones.

St. Thomas-based architect William Karr’s pointed closing arguments directed at specific residents during Sirenusa’s rezoning request hearing by the V.I. Senate Committee of the Whole on March 26 followed the latest trend of public mud slinging by proponents of controversial projects.

After a number of island residents spoke out in fierce opposition to the luxury condominium developer’s rezoning request, Karr showed pictures of the homes of some of the testifiers and alleged they had not followed Department of Planning and Natural Resources regulations either.

Going a step further, Karr showed a picture of St. John architect Michael Milne, owner of Barefoot Architect Inc., defending a proposed development at a March 9 public hearing. Milne drew the plans for the proposed Bordeaux Mountain Estates project which has applied for a group dwelling permit similar to one issued for the Sirenusa project.

Karr showed an enlarged excerpt from an email  written by Milne in which Milne spelled out other avenues to oppose Sirenusa.

In the email, Milne expressed his willingness to contribute funds to a legal defense fund to oppose the rezoning request, Karr explained, showing the email.

“If he’s not doing the job, he’s against it,” Karr said about Milne.

Karr also alleged St. John residents wanted to close the island’s borders.

“People’s motivation is ‘now that I’ve got mine, let’s keep them out,’” said Karr about the 21 people who testified against the rezoning request. “They want to pull up the ladder, fill in the moat and keep everyone out.”

Turnabout Is Fairplay
The personal attack tactic is nothing new, as Milne himself utilized the defense during the Bordeaux Mountain Estates hearing.

After one person testified at the public hearing against the density of Milne’s project, raising concerns about the steepness of the site, Milne showed a rendering of the slope of that person’s land.

“It was O.K. for you to build on this slope,” Milne said about the person’s parcel.