The developer of a four-story, 95-foot-tall home perched high atop Estate Denis Bay overlooking the north shore recently paid his $9,000 fine with Department of Planing and Natural Resources, according to the department’s Director of Building Permits Bevan Smith.
The development — located on two parcels in Estate Denis Bay, Parcel 2A and 2B — is accessed by a recently widened and upgraded road near Cheyene’s Heavy Equipment and borders sensitive V.I. National Park Service land. The property is owned by Tony Ingrao, a Manhattan-based architect and interior designer to the stars who counts Howard Stern, Goldie Hawn and Danny Deutsch among his famous clients.
Construction at the one-acre site has been going on for about six years, during which time it has been alleged by construction industry professionals that Ingrao has violated many V.I. building codes.
As the development has grown more conspicuous, many residents have taken a closer look, prompting more inspections from DPNR officials.
On July 18, DPNR officials cited Ingrao for violations including excavations on two parcels of adjacent park property without a permit, excavation work which exceeded the scope specified on his building permit, construction of an electrical room on one of the parcels, construction of a gabion and boulder retaining wall that wasn’t on his approved plan, and excavation affecting adjoining properties owned by the National Park Service and the V.I. government among others.
The total amount of the fine was initially $10,500, but was reduced to $9,000 because DPNR did not have the authority to penalize Ingrao for excavations on VINP land, explained Smith.
“When the fine was initially calculated it included a charge for not obtaining an earth change permit on certain property,” said DPNR’s Director of Building Permits. “But the property in question was not his property, it was park land. We didn’t have jurisdiction to impose a fine for that.”
Industry professionals, in several widely shared letters about Ingrao’s project, have alleged that the developer has clear cut trees and heavily excavated VINP land. With the federal government shutdown continuing, VINP officials were not available to answer questions about Ingrao’s activity on National Park Service property last week.
As development at Ingrao’s Estate Denis Bay property continues, DPNR officials promised closer scrutiny.
“Moving forward we will be inspecting the construction area as well as the retaining wall,” said Smith. “We’ll have people on top of the progress checking on the development and remedial steps.”
Before Ingrao began carving out the hillside, the area looked quite different. For years there were two wooden homes found on the end of a small, unpaved road.
Six years ago, Ingrao purchased one of the houses and launched a construction effort that eventually drove the owners of the second home in the area — previously operated as a popular short-term rental — to sell to the developer.
Six years later, the multi-million-dollar construction continues.