Judge Denies Grande Bay Injunction; DPNR Officials May Be Deposed

Work can continue on Grande Bay Resort as neighboring property owners prepare to seek damages for the construction.

A request by four Cruz Bay property owners for a permanent injunction to stop construction at the Grande Bay Resort development was not granted by Superior Court Judge Rhys Hodge.

A motion by the developers of Grande Bay Resort to dismiss a complaint filed by the four — Alexander Jadan, Natalie Jadan, Anastasia Trey and Liza Trey — regarding the luxury condominium development also was denied by Judge Hodge.

“The interference with the plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their land does not constitute irreparable harm that could not be remedied by monetary damages or other equitable compensation,” Hodge ruled.

“Similarly, the interests of the public do not support the issuance of an injunction when this case only involved two landowners who will get the benefits of their recognized property interests,” the ruling continued.

“Furthermore, while not dismissing the plaintiffs concern for the preservation of their property, the public interest in the general development of the territory and the provision of employment for its citizens is of overriding concern in these circumstances,” according to Hodge’s ruling.

Privacy Nuisance Alleged
The four owners of one 650-square foot cottage, “Paradise Found,” located 35 feet south of the development, filed the complaint in November 2005, alleging privacy nuisance due to zoning violations, including height, density and lack of lateral support.

The condo project’s developers, Bay Isle Associates LLLP, responded to the complaint with a motion to dismiss, alleging the plaintiffs had not exhausted their administrative remedies within the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, which en-forces V.I. zoning laws.

The plaintiffs then responded with an amended complaint detailing Liza Trey’s efforts to acquire information from Bay Isle Associates LLLP and DPNR.

“In a lot of their arguments, the defendants concentrated on the proposition that we failed to exhaust our administrative remedies with DPNR,” said Lorren Caffee, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. “Our amendment added in some specific factual history as to what the plaintiffs were told by DPNR. I think that did help to put to rest the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies.”

Plaintiffs Can Proceed
The judge’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss allows the plaintiffs to proceed with their claims for damages, according to Caffee.

“Essentially, it means that we’re permitted to proceed with all of our claims for damages upon the theory of private nuisance,” he said. “The judge found at the present time that there isn’t a separate claim for a permanent injunction, but he acknowledges that could be included at the end of the case in addition to damages for the private nuisance.”

The case now enters the discovery phase, where each side will prepare for trial.

“We will certainly be requesting documents from them and asking them to answer written questions for us, and they will do the same to us,” said Caffee. “I know we’re going to be doing depositions of DPNR individuals, of course the people associated with the defendants and certainly the architects that were involved.”

The case will go to trial unless Bay Isle Associates LLLP decid-es to settle, according to Caffee.

Plaintiffs Express Relief
The plaintiffs were relieved to hear the judge’s ruling, according to Liza Trey.

“We are all very relieved that we can proceed with the entire process,” she said. “We are looking forward to that phase of this litigation.”

Trey stressed that development can be positive when developers are patient and take their time.

“Development is a positive notion that symbolizes growth, strength, health and potential,” she said. “Development takes time and patience — see what an area needs first, then follow suit. Don’t come in and bulldoze and start counting your profits.”