Valley Neighbors Want Right of Way Opened from Centerline to Pine Peace


While the developer of the Sirenusa condominium project has been working to improve access and utilities easements for the 40-unit project, some neighbors are questioning why a public easement which runs from Centerline Road to Pine Peace is not opened up to provide legal access to the controversial development.

Several residents of the Valley neighborhood of Estate Enighed want the government to open up the entire length of a right of way which begins at Centerline Road near Senator at Large Carmen Wesselhoft’s family home. The  currently public access currently ends before reaching the pot-holed “Valley Road” from where the public access continues below Sirenusa to the residential area above Pine Peace Market.

“This was supposed to be the second road to Pine Peace,” said one 20-year neighbor of the right of way which runs across the middle of the valley above and parallel to the South Shore Road.

Clearly Marked on 1972 Map
The public right of way is clearly marked on a 1972 government zoning map but currently is impassable about 1/4 mile in from Centerline Road. Neighboring property owners use a segment for parking and a short segment dropping down to the valley road connecting to South Shore Road has never been improved.

“That would be great for us, we are looking for a connection to sewers,” said property owner Andrew Rutnik, who recently purchased the 3/4 acre R-3 zoned former Samuel’s Cottages property.  

Rutnik, the former Commissioner of the V.I. Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs through the Turnbull Administra-tion, is planning to develop his property and an adjoining 1/4 acre parcel with another owner.

While the developers of Siren-usa are reportedly still in negotiations for access to the public water system, the Centerline Road WAPA storage tank is across Route 10 from the start of the unimproved access road.

On the other hand, Rutnik’s future development on the Cruz Bay side of the valley needs to reach the municipal wastewater system in Enighed.

“We need sewers,” said Rutnik.

Any development of Rutnik’s property with the neighboring property, both of which are zoned R-3 allowing a maximum of 80 people, currently would require running a private sewer line down Centerline Road to connect to the system at the Boulon Center, the long-time St. John resident added.

One small segment of the right of way containing a large boulder is unimproved and two other sections serve as private driveways reaching homes located just below the Sirenusa project.

Runs To Pine Peace
The remaining undeveloped segment of the right of way to Pine Peace runs between the five-acre Sirenusa property and the adjoining five-acre parcel which separates the condominium project from The Marketplace commercial development.

Wesselhoft, who has been under criticism for voting in favor of the Sirenusa rezoning measure, and St. John Public Works Director Ira Wade have confirmed there was a late February meeting on bringing a potable water line from the Valley up to the Sirenusa project.

Those at the neighborhood meeting — which Wesselhoft did not attend, according to Wade — were told they need to talk with a number of other public officials about their concerns, the DPW official told St. John Tradewinds on May 24.

Several valley property owners have connected to the public sewer line on South Shore Road, Route 104, and Sirenusa has connected to the sewer system near the sewage treatment plant at Enighed Pond.

If the narrow right of way were opened to through traffic, it would have to be one-way, the Rutnik cautioned.

“It definitely would have to be a one-way street,” the longtime St. John resident said.