Is a Mezzanine a Story?

Mr. Robert Mathes
Commissioner Designate
Department of Planning and Natural Resources

Dear Mr. Mathes;

I am writing to bring to your attention potential discrepancies in the building plans and perhaps code violations pertaining to Grande Bay Resort (GBR) in Cruz Bay, St. John.  I've sent a letter to Mr. Dean Plaskett, Former Commissioner of DPNR in September 2006 and to Acting Commissioner Claudette Lewis in February 2007, raising the same concerns and never received a response.

The GBR parcels are zoned R-4, allowing three story structures.

However, as of today, the GBR buildings consist of five stories.  

The 4th story residential units at GBR are defined as mezzanine units per Douglas Hodge at DPNR.  Last month, Mr. Hodge said the mezzanine level was approved as an mezzanine story since it was a "design issue."  Please explain how the "design issue" of the 4th story residential condo units meet the definition and exceptions of a mezzanine as defined in the 2003 International Building Codes.     

In the VI code, Title 29, Chapter 3, Subchapter 1, Zoning Law, §225, the definition of a story is clearly defined.  As stated in §226, if conflicting regulations exist, Subchapter 1 will apply and govern.  Please describe how the definition of a story is applied to the GBR structure for each story, including the garage and top floor residential level.

The two bedroom units were sold as lock-outs units.  All these two bedroom units were and are advertised as "live in one, rent out the other.” The lock-out units consist of a one bedroom unit plus efficiency unit.  How was the density of these units calculated?  This practice as well raises the number of parking spaces required for the additional tenants.     

Sincerely yours,
Elizabeth Trey

Homeowner, St. John, USVI