Despite a last minute petition circulated last week urging Governor John deJongh to join in opposing a proposed condominium development on Bordeaux, Department of Planning and Natural Resources officials confirmed they will approve a requested group dwelling permit for the project.
“Planning is going to approve the group dwelling permit,” said DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen about Bordeaux Mountain Villa’s request. “They haven’t issued the permit yet, but they did send an approval letter to the developers’ representative.”
Plans for the Bordeaux Mountain Villas include construction of 16 four-bedroom units in four clusters of four attached buildings, a gym and pool on a 5.623-acre parcel at 10-10 Remainder, Estate Corolina, Coral Bay Quarter.
Property owners Scott Humphrey and Eric Munson, represented by project architect Michael Milne of Barefoot Architect Inc., requested a group dwelling permit for the development in order to construct the units on one portion of the property.
Not Subject to CZM
The development is located within Tier 2 and not subject to the approval of the St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee.
Residents in the area contended the development does not fit in with the nature of the neighborhood and called for the group dwelling permit request to be denied.
“Many questions regarding its request for rezoning, the steepness of the lot, adequate parking, appropriate access for emergency vehicles, have not been addressed,” according to the petition circulated by Bordeaux residents. “The proposed 16 four-bedroom condos with two pools and accompanying cabana is not even remotely in keeping with the quiet, single-family, rural setting of Bordeaux Mountain.”
The inclusion of what Milne terms a “mezzanine” in the project is worrisome, according to Coral Bay Community Council president Sharon Coldren.
“If we are saying to somebody looking across the valley we are not going to say ‘look at that two story building with a mezzanine,” said Coldren. “We are going to say ‘look at that four story building,’ because that is what it is going to look like and we are all going to have to look at this.”
“It is imperative that the legislature and administration get together and fix this so that we don’t have these huge buildings, both vertically and horizontally, in residential settings,” Coldren continued.
Approval of Bordeaux Mountain Villa’s group dwelling permit highlights the government’s interpretation of the V.I. Zoning Code, explained Coldren.
“The fundamental problem is the current government believes they have no discretion applying Section 237 of the V.I. Zoning Code,” Coldren said. “They think they have no discretion to deny the permit based on the consideration of Section 237. But if they did not have discretion there would be no reason to have a public hearing and listen to the public.”
“They do have this discretion but they are choosing to interpret the law differently and not to the benefit of the people of St. John,” she continued.
The development is setting a precedent in the area, Coldren added.
“This is a precedent-setting development in Coral Bay and there is no reason to believe, on an excavation and development standpoint, that this won’t be a repeat of the Sirenusa experience for the people of St. John,” said the CBCC president.
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