DPNR Denies Sirenusa Developer’s Request for 3-and 4-story Buildings

Site work has slowed on the 40-unit Sirenusa condominium project overlooking Cruz Bay as officials denied a request by developers to construct four-story buildings.

The 40-unit Sirenusa condominium development overlooking Cruz Bay will not be allowed to include four-story buildings, according to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR).

DPNR officials denied a modification request by developers of the controversial condominium project Sirenusa in Estate Enighed, according to DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen.

“They submitted plans to modify the two buildings that were in violation of height restrictions and the modification request was denied,” he said.

Partial Cease and Desist Order
DPNR ordered a partial cease and desist order for the project designed by St. Thomas-based architect William Karr, who is also involved in the proposed eight-story Pastory Gardens condominium development as well as Franklin A. Powell Sr. Park renovations.

Controversy at the Sirenusa condominium site arose when site plans for the project clearly showed four-story buildings which violate height restrictions in the R-2 area in which it is located.

Plans submitted for the project’s building permits were vastly different from the plans the architect submitted for the group dwelling permit, according to DPNR officials.

Specifically, 18 of the original 29 buildings were consolidated into two four-story structures, violating the two-story maximum height for an R-2 zone.

Sirenusa developers allege they had previously submitted a modification request for their group dwelling permit, which DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett said his department never received.

No Modification Request Received
“They claimed that they had requested a modification, but our position is that we never received it,” Plaskett said in a March interview with St. John Trade-winds. “Even if we did receive it though, the statute says that it has to be acted upon within 60 days. If it is not, it does not mean that it was automatically approved.”

“They can’t just determine that the modification request was granted,” he continued. “But that is what they presented to the building permit inspectors.”

In his partial cease and desist order, Plaskett ordered Karr and Associates to submit a modification request to reflect the permitted number of stories for the two buildings in question, Nielsen explained.

“They were instructed to reduce the number of stories for the two four-story buildings,” Nielsen said. “The modification was to reflect the permissible two-story buildings allowed at the property. ”

“The status analysis for the latest drawings clearly depicted three-and four-story buildings,” the DPNR spokesman added.

Project Still Violates Zoning
“The developers were advised that if the buildings were constructed as proposed, they would violate the zoning laws,” he continued.

DPNR requested that Karr submit another modification request, this time reflecting the current zoning laws, Nielsen added “We requested, once again, that they submit a revised site plan for the project which clearly adheres to the legally permissible number of stories,” he said.

The developers and the architect would not comment on the DPNR decision.