“Maximizing” Development Is Wrong

Letter to the Editor:

We have a home on great Cruz Bay and we follow, with interest, the unfortunate development, the Sirenusa.    

I lived in Honolulu, and saw it change, from the 1950’s to the present, just 50 years, from a peaceful very special way of life to a very, very diminished one. It could happen on St. John. I believe Sen. N.J. Baptiste’s comment — “…we have to build vertically as opposed to horizontally in order to maximize our limited space in the territory” — is just wrong. You might ask, what’s wrong with bringing more and more people to our islands to enjoy it’s beauty. Well, you have only to look at Miami Beach, Honolulu, etc. to see what happens where development continues to “maximize.”  Where the doller rules.  What happens is this: The very reason people are drawn to a place, i.e. beauty, a peaceful  way of life, etc. — is destroyed little, by little. Over time those who moved here, as well as those born here, all lose.

St. John is the island of choice. Growth and development are inevitable; but, I believe we must limit development and define what is acceptable and what is not. For the good of all St. Johnians, the fabric of the island should be basically green, with low rise buildings with just patches of green. Short sighted monetary gain cannot come first. Densities must be kept down. The erosion of the St. John way of life takes place slowly — project by project. Just as slowly and surely as each year comes off of our lives. Of course, development, per se, is not bad but it is essential that each project be carefully reviewed to assure it fits into an enlightened master plan for the very special island of St. John.

Frank Grosso, Architect
Great Cruz Bay