Radical Preservationist Indeed!


I just received my September 24 New Yorker. It shows a little neighborhood of humble little shoes where the local people live. In the background is a gigantic bright pink high-heeled pump. It’s 10 times the size of the little shoes and dominates the landscape. It made me smile. That huge pink shoe is Bordeaux Mountain Villas! (and Sirenusa and Grande Bay).

That’s what we mean by not fitting into the neighborhood! There is a requirement in the law that the project be compatible with the neighborhood. Take a look at Sirenusa and Grande Bay and tell me they fit into the neighborhood. The majority of homes on Bordeaux are small, single-family homes. There may be a duplex or two. But that hardly equates with 16 four-bedroom condos! It’s like comparing a hotel to a house. Or a huge 10-story pink shoe with a one-story hiking boot!

It’s time for some common sense. It is clear that St. John is becoming over-developed and that development is happening too fast for our infrastructure. Speaking of piecemeal! So why not slow down? There are actually communities in the world that are planned out ahead of time!

Think about the several hundred building permits out there which have already been issued where the project has not yet begun. St. John is becoming crowded!

When I spoke with Wanda Mills, DPNR Planning Commissioner, about our concerns on Bordeaux Mountain, she told me that the existing laws are deficient but are applicable until we change them. That’s why a five-story building can be called two stories! That’s how the “mezzanine trick” and the “loft trick” got started.

That’s why a building was allowed to go up directly in front of a resident’s home, blocking their whole view, devaluing their property and ruining their lives. I think we all agree that that should never be allowed to happen. It’s just wrong, legal or not. There are reasons that we fear developers! Especially developers of condos. The high-density condo developments and multi-million-dollar villas become short-term rentals, owned by state-side residents. They don’t live here afterward and deal with the problems they’ve created. They’re making money, period.

I’ve never been referred to as a radical preservationist before but I rather like it. When I mentioned it to my neighbors on Bordeaux, they liked it too and we’re considering naming ourselves the Radical Preservationists. If it’s radical to want to preserve the beauty and peace of our lives and our little island, we’ll proudly wear that label!

Catherine Fahy