DNPR Denies Initial Plan for 8-story Pastory Condos

An application for an eight-story, 64-unit condominium development on the site of the Pastory Gardens restaurant and miniature golf course has been denied by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources—but can be resubmitted.

Reef Management Group LLC’s request for a permit to construct a 64-unit condominium development in several buildings was denied due to technicalities including title issues and questions about the project’s floor area ratio and density, according to DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen.

The company was to be notified on Friday, April 21, that the application had been denied, Nielsen added.

Applicants Can Resubmit Any Time
Reef Management can reapply with modified plans at any time, according to Nielsen.

“They can resubmit whenever they address the discrepancies,” Nielsen said.

Although the plan was reduced fom nine stories to eight, any resubmitted plans could still call for the tallest development on St. John because the site’s B-2 zoning has no restriction on height.

The B-2 zoning rules have no restriction on building height except in a historically certified area, where development must be limited to three stories. Although the entrance to the historic Bethany Moravian Church is adjacent to Pastory Gardens, the area is not historically certified.

The lots are zoned B-2, which requires the square footage of buildings constructed on the site must be equal to the square footage of the lot—a rule known as floor area ratio.

Reef Management’s application indicated 95,000 square feet, but DPNR calculations showed the total square footage is closer to 136,000, according to Nielsen.

Twice the Size of Grande Bay Resort
The applicants may have simply miscalculated the square footage, Nielsen. added

“Maybe they didn’t include things in the square footage that they were supposed to include,” he said. “There could have been a different interpretation of the law.”

A square footage of 95,000 would likely be allowable, according to DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett. By comparison, the controversial Grande Bay Resort luxury condominium development in Cruz Bay is approximately 50,000 square feet—almost half the size that would be allowed at the site in Estate Pastory.

The density of the project, the potential number of residents, also was cited as a reason for the denial of the application, according to Nielsen.

Eighty people per acre are allowed under B-2. A one-bedroom unit represents two people, and each additional bedroom represents one additional person, where density is concerned.

Question of Ownership
The lots, located at 5DA-1 and 5DA Estate Pastory, are owned by Commonwealth Corp. and Caribbean Island Adventures Inc. The relationship between the two companies and Reef Management Group LLC was unclear, according to Nielsen.

It also was not clear if the current owners of Pastory Gardens are involved in the application.

“There is no proper proof of legal ownership,” said DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen. “There are two separate lots with two separate owners.”

The architect for the Estate Pastory development is St. Thomas-based William Karr, the same architect who designed the luxury condominium development Sirenusa, which has recently come under fire for violating zoning height restrictions.

Possible Demolition of Bar, Restaurant
Although the application does not include provisions for the demolition of Pastory Gardens, a source who wished to remain anonymous said Karr has told St. John Tradewinds the restaurant, bar and miniature golf course will be demolished to make way for the condo development.

Karr did not return calls requesting information and renderings last week. A spokesperson for Pastory Gardens also did not respond to a request for further information.