Nearly 18 months after the U.S. Postal Service signed a lease for property in Estate Enighed where a new permanent St. John post office will be constructed, progress is finally being made.
The Boynes family, which owns the property, has completed the application process for a zoning change with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, which expected to send the family a letter late last week instructing them to petition the V.I. Senate to change the zoning of the lot.
The Estate Enighed property, which is zoned R-4, does not meet the V.I. Code requirement that a lot be at least 15,000 square feet for the construction of a post office in an R-4 zoned area. The Boynes family-owned piece of land is approximately 12,300 square feet.
“It’s gone through the process and the family had a pre-application meeting,” said DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen. “We’re in the process of sending a letter to the applicant, and they will then petition the Senate for the zoning change hearing.”
Zoning changes must be voted on and approved by the V.I. Legislature.
The USPS signed a 10-year lease with two additional five-year options with the Boynes family on May 17, 2007. Constructing the building will be the sole responsibility of the property owner, as the USPS only leases property for post offices. Once the new post office is completed, the Ubaldina Simmons Post Office in Cruz Bay will be closed.
Plans for the new facility, designed by Trinity Architectural Services, includes a three-story building consisting of a 6,000 square foot first floor designated for the post office, 12 to 15 second-story parking spaces for post office customers and office space for the Boynes family on the third floor.
Despite the long wait, the USPS is still ready to move forward with the new facility, according to USPS spokesperson Monica Hand.
“We are waiting for the legislature to provide the official word so we can get started with the design and construction,” said Hand. “Once we have verification that the approval is official, we can work with the landlord to complete the design and set a schedule for construction to begin.”
The volume of mail received on St. John has outgrown the current post office location, and the new facility as planned is designed to allow for 10 years of growth, according to officials.