Judge Rules “Villa Company” Parking Signs Do Not Have Unstated 30-Minute Time Limit

VIPD officers are ticketing vehicles parked in the “Villa Rental Companies Only” parking spaces nearby which formerly were 30-minute public parking spaces — although there is a DPW sign posted on the parking spaces which are on V.I. Port Authority property ­— and no apparent legal authority to reserve parking spaces for private vehicles designated as belonging to Villa Rental Companies or allowance for individual rental property owners meeting guests.

CRUZ BAY — A St. John Realtor and vacation rental property owner and manager successfully fought the parking ticket issued her vehicle while parked in the Cruz Bay waterfront space marked “LOADING AND UNLOADING FOR LICENSED VILLA COMPANY— and established new Virgin Islands Territorial Court case law.

With Solomonic certainty, the appropriately serious Judge ruled that it took longer than one half hour for a representative of a LICENSED VILLA COMPANY to load or unload a vehicle when meeting arriving guests at the Loredon L. Boynes Sr. Dock.

Denise Obbagy, owner of Caribbean Palm Properties, LLC., a villa rentals and management company, with her husband John, who are both brokers with Tropical Properties in Cruz Bay, was found not guilty of parking in one of the two spaces between the signs.

Obbagy (“The ‘Y’ is silent.”) brought a few color prints of the signs and the waterfront to enter into evidence and use in her self-defense. The photographs clearly show that the signs do not say “No Parking” nor do they contain any reference to a parking time limit.
 General Public Nonplussed

When the two “VILLA” signs marked DPW (V.I. Department of Public Works) were erected in the jumble of beachfront parking signage on the V.I. Port Authority (VIPA)-controlled waterfront adjacent to the Boynes ferry dock, members of the general public were nonplussed.

It had not been easy for the Port Authority to wrest five parking spaces from the then all-powerful-and-now-defunct St. John Taxi Association for public, short term parking after the waterfront shuffling which surrounded the construction of the Boynes dock.

Villa representatives and island residents typically load and unload in the several short-term, public spaces at the Boynes dock and many arriving visitors walk to one of the nearby rental car companies to pick up a vehicle and return to load their luggage and entourage at the ferry dock before driving to their vacation rental.

The apparent loss of two of the five public spaces when designated for “LICENSED VILLA COMPANY” by nonsensical signs has been confusing for residents and law enforcement.

Actually Realtor and vacation rental property owner and manager Obbagy had several tickets for parking in the same spaces for the two vehicles owned by the couple, but the court clerk said only one had been “filed” by the officer or officers who had put the tickets on her vehicles. Obbagy was told by the clerk that the other tickets in her sheaf were void because the officer who wrote them had failed to turn them in to the court by the court date.

(Editor’s Note: The St. John Tradwinds reporter also had a parking ticket for parking in the “villa” space which was not filed by the officer at the time of the February 12 court date on the ticket and which automatically was voided by the court.)

The exclusive signage on the handy, much-in-demand and much-misused spaces has been a thorny subject for residents — unlike the nearby sign reserving a perpetual space for the now-defunct Maho Bay Shuttle at the gate to the Battery.

Actually, everyone on St. John knows it takes longer than a a half hour for a “Licensed Villa Company” to get loaded in Cruz Bay.

And, what about a parking space, or two, for the unlicensed villa companies and private residential accommodations from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay — where vacation rentals make up a substantial part of the estimated $59 million annual tourism tourism economy producing almost $6 million in gross receipts taxes to the V.I. government, according to a recently-released “independent” study drafted for the Coral Bay Community council by a member.