Most of the 70 people who packed the Cruz Bay Legislature Building on Friday afternoon, March 9, for Bordeaux Mountain Estates LLC’s public hearing regarding its requested group dwelling permit opposed the development.
Property owners Eric Munson and Scott Humphrey are requesting to a group dwelling permit for the 5.623-acre parcel at 10-10 Remainder, Estate Carolina, Coral Bay Quarter, to construct 16 four-bedroom units in four clusters of four attached buildings, a gym and pool.
The group dwelling permit will allow the developers to minimize impact to the site, explained architect Michael Milne, owner of Barefoot Architect, who drew the plans for the development.
The R-1 zoned parcel could be subdivided into 11 lots with two dwelling units per lot, for a total of 22 units, according to Milne.
“The cutting of the road to attempt a viable subdivision would leave the vast majority of the site disrupted,” said Milne, speaking on behalf of his clients. “What we’re proposing is 16 units — four groupings of four town houses with one road. We believe it’s a better way to approach the site.”
“We’re trying to minimize the footprints of the building and the impact to the site,” Milne added.
A majority of the residents in attendance did not agree with Milne’s evaluation of the environmentally-sensitive development.
“There should be a definition of what is an unbuildable site,” said Steve Crumerine. “The so-called preservation of this site, you might as well preserve it on the moon — you can’t build on it.”
“This forest is very worthy of conservation,” said biologist Gary Ray, who surveyed the land in 2006. “There are very few non-native trees. It’s a prize tract of forest.”
The site is located on a slope of between 25 and 40 degrees, according to Ray.
“If one rock outcrop is dislodged, it will reach the valley floor,” Ray said. “No bulldozers should go on this site. The V.I. lacks steep slope building guidelines — we need those.”
The development will forever change the view of the Carolina Valley, Ray explained.
“That area is a very important scenic feature on St. John,” said Ray. “If you put buildings there with tall walls, it will deface the valley forever. It will change the character of the valley forever.”
Neighbors in Bordeaux also opposed the project.
“This development will totally change our environment,” said Jay Goldman, who lives in the Bordeaux neighborhood. “We’re not happy about this. The neighbors don’t want this type of thing going on on Bordeaux.”
The planned four-bedroom units would be two stories plus a “mezzanine,” the definition of which many people in attendance didn’t agree.
“I don’t think that is a mezzanine — if it has exterior walls, it’s a story,” said Terry Fields. “Those buildings look like they are five stories.”
A number of residents compared the planned development to the controversial Grande Bay Resort and Sirenusa condominiums — a comparison which is unfair, according to Brian Turnbull, who works for the property owners.
To compare the Bordeaux project to others is “an unfair and unfounded premise,” said Turnbull.
Residents who wish to submit written comments to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Comprehensive and Coastal Zone Planning, should fax their letters to the Com-missioner of DPNR, Robert Mathes at (340) 775-5706.