St. John CZM Committee Approves Coral Bay Marina — With 36 Special Conditions

The St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee unanimously approved Coral Bay Marina LLC’s application to construct a 116-slip marina in Coral Bay, but with the approval came a set of 36 special conditions the developer must meet in order to proceed with construction.

“I think we have presented the necessary information, and I look forward to the decision of the Committee,” Coral Bay Marina LLC managing partner Robert O’Connor Jr., a St. John native, told committee members before the decision was read.

Zoning Variance Required
O’Connor sat quietly with his hands folded as CZM Director Victor Somme III read the lengthy CZM staff recommendations and conditions implemented, which were adopted by the Committee, at the Thursday, August 10, decision hearing.

“We have been working very diligently on this application,” said Somme, who admitted to working on the staff’s opinion until 3 a.m. that morning.

The planned marina will include a marine pump-out facility, a reverse-osmosis plant, a laundromat and buildings for office and retail space.

One of the conditions developers must meet is securing a zoning variance which allows for the planned sewage treatment plant, originally planned to be constructed on the B-3-zoned portion of the development site, Parcel 41 Remainder.

“B-3 does not allow for a wastewater treatment plant,” said Somme. “The problem here is the plant is not limited to one parcel. The proposed development does not meet the requirements.”

Developers must petition the V.I. Senate for the zoning variance.

Addressing Marina’s Openness
The special conditions also address residents’ concerns that the location of the marina is too open, which could result in significant damage during a hurricane.

“There is a great concern about the location of the marina and the openness, so there is a special condition to address this concern,” said Somme.

Developers must submit proof that the docks will survive a minimum Category One hurricane, a determination to be made by an independent contractor of CZM’s choosing, according to the staff’s recommendations.

Although the CZM staff deemed the project’s roads and parking to be sufficient, traffic and public safety concerns along the heavily-trafficked waterfront Route 107 were not met, according to Somme.

Public Safety Ensured
“The Permittee must work with the Department of Public Works to develop a plan that ensures safety when crossing Route 107,” according to the CZM staff findings.

Also of concern is the impact the marina will have on the island’s power supply.

“Prior to the issuance of this permit, the Permittee must submit proof from WAPA (Water and Power Authority), for review and approval by the St. John CZM Committee, that WAPA will be able to supply sufficient electrical power to this project,” according to the CZM staff findings.

Other conditions include the submission of a letter of compliance from the V.I. Fire Service, implementation of measures to ensure erosion and sedimentation is minimized and payment of all costs associated with solid waste disposal.

Coral Bay Community Council Presi-dent Sharon Coldren said she was satisfied that the CZM staff’s recommendations addressed environmental concerns.

Developers Will Go Forward
“It’s really important that all of the environmental and site concerns that were brought up in the special conditions are dealt with in the way that the CZM Committee and the CZM staff recommended,” said Coldren. “I think their recommendations are excellent.”

Committee member Gerald Hills moved to adopt the CZM staff’s recommendations. The motion was seconded by Madeline Sewer. There were no objections.

Also in attendance was CZM Committee member Julien Harley. Committee members Andrew Penn and Edmund Roberts were absent.

Despite the increased cost the developer will no doubt incur as a result of the 36 special conditions, O’Connor said he will continue to pursue the development, and will attempt to comply with CZM’s conditions.