Clarification Needed on Definition of a “Story”

Dear Ms. Lewis,
I’ve sent a letter to Mr. Dean Plaskett, Former Commissioner of DPNR in September 2006 raising the same concerns and never received a response. I am writing to bring to your attention potential discrepancies in the building plans and perhaps code violations pertaining to Grande Bay Resort (GBR) in Cruz Bay, St. John. 

The GBR parcels are zoned R-4, allowing three story structures. However, as of today, the GBR buildings consist of five stories. 

The fourth story residential units at GBR are defined as mezzanine units per Douglas Hodge at DPNR. Please explain how these units meet the definition and exceptions of a mezzanine as defined in the 2003 International Building Codes.  

The two bedroom units were sold as lock-out units. All these two bedroom units were and are advertised as “live in one, rent out the other.” This practice of course raises the number of occupants as well as number of parking spaces required for the additional tenants.  

In the V.I. Code, Title 29, Chapter 3, Subchapter 1, Zoning Law, §225, the definition of a story is clearly defined. As stated in §226, if conflicting regulations exist, Subchapter 1 will apply and govern. Please describe how the definition of a story is applied to the GBR structure for each story, including the garage and top floor residential level.  

In addition, no retaining wall was built for lateral support or soil erosion in front of our house. The soil has started to shift and could present some serious problems. Please include all reports or describe the decision process used to determine why lateral support and a retaining wall was not needed in front of our property.    

Please address my concerns and forward to Mr. Henry C. Smock, Esq. at the address indicated on the bottom of this letter. Your prompt response will be appreciated. Thanking you in advance.  

Sincerely yours,
Elizabeth Trey
Homeowner, St. John, USVI