Army Corps of Engineers Launches Public Comment Period for Coral Bay Marina


The Army Corps of Engineers public comment period on the proposed Coral Bay Marina ends January 31.

 Army Corps of Engineers officials launched the public comment period for Summer’s End Group’s  proposed mega-marina in Coral Bay on January 7 with a deadline for submitting letters set at January 31.

Summer’s End Group (SEG) is hoping to construct a 145 slip marina off-shore of the Island Blues area of Coral Bay with land-based development of restaurants, shopping areas and parking lots.

SEG, facing strong opposition from a group of residents in the Save Coral Bay campaign, was approved by the by the St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee in October 2014 and granted permits by V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources. In order to build its proposed marina, however, SEG must obtain federal ACOE permits as well.

The ACOE permitting process has just gotten under way, and Save Coral Bay campaign officials are hoping residents write in and voice their concerns, explained David Silverman, one of the group’s main organizers.

“Public comments are very, very important to ACOE,” said Silverman. “What they are doing is a public interest determination. The public comment process is done very early on in the ACOE permitting process.”

“Just a minimal amount of work has been done at this point,” Silverman said. “The whole purpose of this period is to uncover all of the issues that need to be addressed during the subsequent review period. What they are essentially doing now is a public interest determination to hear from the public on their concerns regarding impacts on the environment, impacts on the economy, impacts on the culture and the history.”

“ACOE expects the public to provide that information,” he said.

Save Coral Bay is urging all residents who are opposed to the construction of the large-scale marina in Coral Bay to write to ACOE before the January 31 deadline, Silverman explained.

“We are suggesting people send ACOE a letter detailing the things they are concerned about,” he said. “The more comments ACOE receives, the better review they can do.”

ACOE officials will ask the applicant, SEG, to respond to the concerns raised in the public comments, Silverman added.

“What ACOE will typically do is summarize all of the comments they receive and ask the applicant to address the those concerns,” said the community activist. “It’s different from the process that we have here.”

In the fall of 2014, about 350 residents wrote to DPNR detailing their concerns about the marina ahead of the CZM hearing. Silverman is hoping that those residents understand the importance of sharing their concerns with ACOE now, he explained.

“It is important that people understand there are two separate types of approval,” Silverman said. “There is the local permit which happened during August, September and October that only looks at the CZM Act which has a somewhat limited set of standards and criteria. Close to 400 letters were submitted by individuals and agencies with detailed analysis and, of course, that didn’t have a lot of impact.”

“At the local level at least they did not really give any attent9on to the public comments they received whereas at the ACOE level, there are a large number of federal laws they must comply with in order to grant a permit,” Silverman said. “There are the EPA Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife and Coastal Zone Act and a whole list of about 15 different laws which must be complied. ACOE can’t issue a permit unless they are compliant with all the federal legislation.”

ACOE’s comprehensive review of SEG’s proposed marina will take place after the public comment phase has ended, Silverman added.

“In order to determine if the project is compliant with all of the federal laws, ACOE will coordinate with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife and will consult with a host of different groups who will look at those different impacts and give feedback,” said the Save Coral Bay organizer. “If additional information is required and if there are impacts that are not mitigated this is really where the comprehensive environmental review takes place. At the local level I was disappointed at what little environmental review took place but we always knew that the big league look would be at the federal level.”

As the ACOE process gets underway, Save Coral Bay officials continue to raise money for the campaign to stop the SEG marina. Residents can donate to the campaign at the group’s Go Fund Me site at
Save Coral Bay officials also continue to wait for action on their Board of Land Use Appeals case, which was filed on November 14, 2014, questioning the legality of the CZM permit for the project.
“We haven’t heard anything from BLUA yet,” said Silverman.
 With a recently elected V.I. Governor and newly inaugurated Senators in place, Save Coral Bay officials are reaching out to make sure these government officials are aware of their concerns about the proposed marina, Silverman added.
“We have a new government in place now and we are working to make sure the new senators are fully informed on all the issues regarding the marina and what has happened so far on this application,” he said. “We have some progress in place for that.”
Coral Bay Community Council is hosting a forum this Monday, January 19, at the John’s Folly Learning Institute at 6 p.m. which will also focus on the SEG marina and the ACOE public comment period.
Letters can be sent to ACOE via email at with the project  permit application number SAJ-2004-12518 (SP-JMS) in the subject line. Letters can also be mailed via U.S. Postal Service to Mr. Johann M. Sasso,  Antilles Permits Section, 400 Fernández Juncos Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901-3299.
Save Coral Bay officials are asking residents who email letters to send a copy of their letter to the group at in order to keep a tally.
The ACOE public notice for the public comment period can be viewed online at
For more information about Save Coral Bay, email  the group or check ou t