St. John CZM Committee Approves Modifications to Concordia Permit

The St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee quickly and unanimously approved Concordia Campgrounds’ request for a modification to its original Major CZM permit at a Wednesday afternoon, March 5, hearing.

In the fourth modification to Concordia Camgprounds’ original Major CZM permit approved in 1998, the eco-resort sought to consolidate the remaining 15 eco-tents, which have not yet been constructed, into eight two-story structures consisting of two units per building and to use highly insulated panels for walls, floors and ceilings, mechanical ventilation systems, energy-efficient windows and cooling systems for each unit.
The change will help the acclaimed eco-resort complete its final phase of construction in a more environmentally friendly manner, according to Concordia Vice President Maggie Day, who read a statement on behalf of resort developer Stanley Selengut at the hearing.

“Our primary objective is to build the most site sensitive, energy efficient units possible while keeping costs low,” said Day. “This has been our objective, and our success, since the beginning.”

More Energy Efficient
Clustering the units closer together will provide for more green space on the site, Day added. The units will be built in an area that was previously too hot. Concordia can now connect to WAPA and air condition the eco-units, and the new location of the eight buildings has the highest concentration of taller trees, which will provide shade and help minimize the visual impact.

“The goal is to find a solution to avoid spreading the buildings over the whole site,” said the project’s architect Glen Speer. “These will be highly insulated, sound resistant buildings. Stanley [Selengut] opens the door to try a lot of new things.”

Concordia hopes to eventually request one more modification to their permit seeking permission to implement a solar grid and wind turbine-generated power. Thanks to WAPA’s new net metering program, which allows those on the grid who generate their own power to sell power back to WAPA, Concordia will become even more energy efficient, according to Day.

“Each unit has its own solar panel, which is very inefficient if the unit is not occupied,” said Day. “Tying in with WAPA helps us be more energy efficient. By tying in to the grid, we eliminate the use of expensive, short-life batteries.”

St. John CZM Committee members applauded Concordia representatives for their effort to set an example of sustainable development on the island.

“You should be commended,” said CZM Committee member Gerald Hills. “This is an example of how to build eco-friendly projects.”

“You should never feel uncomfortable asking for modifications, especially when you are so polite and informative,” added CZM Committee member Andrew Penn. “As a true born St. Johnian, I’m excited that we’re leaders in sustainable development.”

Project to Finish by 2011
Hills raised concern that Concordia is on its fourth modification request, and wondered if the project will be finished by 2011, a deadline set when the CZM Committee approved Concordia’s third modification request in 2006.

“Our intent is to construct these 15 eco-tents, finishing in 2009,” said Day. “We will also immediately prepare and request our sole remaining modification for the solar and wind turbines. Should we decide to go further with more units, we’ll apply for a separate CZM permit.”

Concordia’s request was approved, with minor stipulations including the completion of all activities authorized under Concordia’s original CZM permit by 2011. In attendance at the meeting were CZM Committee members  Hills, Penn and Edmund Roberts. Attorney Boyd Sprehn also testified on behalf of Concordia.