CZM Grants Most Changes Requested In Requirements for Coral Bay Marina

The developers of the Coral Bay Marina were granted most of the concessions they requested from the St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee (CZM) at a September 20, meeting at the Cruz Bay Legislature building.

The meeting did not include two of the new members Gerald Hills and Edmund Roberts, who are considered by many as environmentalists.

Last month, the committee voted to approve Coral Bay Marina LLC’s major CZM permit to construct a 116-slip marina, reverse osmosis plant, sewage treatment plant, marine pump-out facility and fuel storage along Route 107 in Coral Bay – but imposed 36 special conditions.

On Tuesday evening, September 19, Brion Morrisette, the legal representative for the developers, requested 11 of the 36 special conditions be altered to allow the developers to meet the conditions prior to construction instead of before the construction permit is granted.

Committee members voted to recess for the evening to finalize their decision on the requested changes and reconvened on September 20 to announce their decision.

Engineering Analysis Requirement Dropped
On Wednesday evening, the St. John CZM Committee, represented by members Julien Harley, Andrew Penn and Madeline Sewer, unanimously voted to allow most of the changes requested by Coral Bay Marina and to eliminate  one requirement.

The marina developers are no longer required to submit an engineering analysis showing the docks can sustain a Category 1 hurricane.

The engineering issue arose during CZM’s public hearing on the marina when a number of residents questioned the safety of the location of the project on the western shore of Coral Bay.

The special conditions changed included the CZM-imposed requirement that a zone variance or zone change to accommodate a waste water treatment plant on the property be secured before the granting of the permit for the project. The marina developers are now allowed to obtain the zone change before construction begins.

Letters Required Before Construction
A pollutant discharge elimination system permit for the reverse osmosis and sewage treatment plants and a letter of compliance from the V.I. Fire Department ensuring the project meets Uniform Fire Code standards also can be obtained before construction instead of before a permit is issued.

A letter from the V.I. Water and Power Authority stating they will be able to supply power to the development and a plan ensuring public safety when crossing Route 107, can also be obtained prior to construction instead of before the permit is issued.

Site Plan, Air Quality
The Committee insisted marina officials submit a site plan showing how neighboring properties would be affected by the project before the major CZM permit is granted. The developers must also submit an air quality certificate from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Environmental Protection ensuring the use of air pollutant mitigation measures.

The committee approved CZM staff recommendations on all of the conditions.

Coral Bay Marina managing partner Robert O’Connor Jr. was pleased with the outcome.

“We are happy that the meeting came out the way it did,” O’Connor said. “We didn’t get everything, but you never get everything that you want. We are going to move forward and try to live with the conditions imposed by CZM.”

“It’s much better than it was – we’re happy,” O’Connor added.

No Date Set for Construction Start
Construction on the island’s first marina is not expected to begin for a while, according to the managing partner.

 “We have a lot of design work and all of that to do, so it will take more than a couple of months before we start anything,” O’Connor said. “We have to back to CZM and show certain permits and things, but we’re going to move forward.”

Harley made the committee’s position clear at the conclusion of the meeting.

“Please don’t come back,” Harley told Morrisette as the attorney left the conference room.

The CZM session was a status meeting and there was no public participation allowed.