Forthcoming Moravian Marina Plan Includes 30-Foot High Boat Storage

The shoreline structures in the artist rendering of the proposed development of the Moravian Church property on Coral Harbor shown as white squares will include a 30-foot tall dry storage facility for two levels of small boats on the waterfront, according to developers. The inland structure is the proposed two level parking deck.

CORAL BAY — The good news is the planned “parking structure” for two-, four-wheel and 4-wheel vehicles won’t block the view of a marina in Coral Harbor from passersby walking to and from the Guy H. Benjamin School or driving to Skinny Legs on Route 10.

Especially VITRAN riders who are sitting a little higher than everybody else in their plush seats and will get to pass it four times in a round-trip from Cruz Bay to Salt Pond — at the Conde Nast Traveler-promoted, travel-and-resort bargain fare of $2.

Height Allowed by Waterfront Zoning
The bad news is the parking structure for marine vehicles is being planned as the site of a dry-storage building for small boats on the Coral Harbor waterfront parcel of the Moravian Church shoreline properties behind the iconic Skinny Legs restaurant which already is zoned W-2 Industrial — and the building is going to be 30 feet in height.

The structure would enclose two levels of “12-foot to 15-foot rack heights,” according to project architect John Woods of the Jaredian Goup, a leading Charlotte Amalie design and development company which joined the almost-three-decades-old development project eight years ago.

The structure is an allowed use for the current zoning of that parcel and is not the subject of the zone change request, Woods added.

The dry storage building will impact a portion of the view of the harbor, the architect acknowledged.

Impacting Historic Shoreline Residential Area
The overall plans for a marina along the inner northwest shore of Coral Harbor also opens up the marine-residential mangrove shoreline between “Skinnys” and privately-owned Usher Cay which is currently a tight-knit live-aboard community at the heart of a sailing community which still has a whiff of piratical je ne sais quoi.

“The whole development hopefully will work well,” Woods optimistically told St. John Tradewinds on December 10.

“Our project in essence spans five different parcels,” Woods proffered. “Rezoning for consolidation is primarily for use,” he explained in zoning-speak.

“Height comes in to make the density we need to make a viable project,” Woods added opaquely. The density of the landside development as proposed is below the actual density for the parcel that would be allowed by the rezoning, the architect explained.

“Leased” “Government” Parcel
The zoning change does not affect the “government parcel,” Wood reiterated. “When we first applied, we thought we had to include it for the parking.” The parking structure will have the required number of spaces for the residential and hotel units and the amorphous Moravian marina, according to Woods and V.I. officials.

“Even with the Port Authority retaining possession, they are supposed to eventually do an in-kind swap,” Woods explained of the parcel between the historic Guy H. Benjamin Elementary School and Skinny Legs. “The short, easy thing was to do a long-term lease until that occurs.”

“It’s a single story,” he said of the proposed parking structure that would meet the parking requirements of the entire project.

Spanning Five Parcels
Several testifiers at the zone change hearing expressed concern about that aspect of the zone change, worrying that another developer could take over the project and build to the full density allowed by the proposed zone change for the plans currently proposed.

“The first step is a zone change,” Woods said. “The second step is to hammer out the design process through the CZM.”

V.I. Senate action is required on the zone change the politically-savvy Woods doesn’t expect that to happen quickly.

“My guess is with the change in administration nothing (will happen) before March or April,” surmised Woods. “Hopefully it will get to the Senate (with sponsorship) by March, April or May.”