- Written by Tom Oat
Brion Morrisette speaks his mind at the August CZM hearing on the Coral Bay Marina permit application before recusing himself from the hearing. Morrisette stayed through the hearing but did not participate.
CRUZ BAY — St. Johnian Attorney and long-time St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee member J. Brion Morrisette tried to stay out of the melee surrounding the “Coral Bay Marina, the Yacht Club at Summer’s End” project and asserts he only acted in the best interest of the panel’s deliberations.
Critics and competitors, through their attorneys, say he didn’t try hard enough and he shouldn’t have acted at all.
Morrisette, who grew up at the entrance to the Virgin Islands National Park overlooking Cruz Bay the site of what is now the restaurant Asolare, keeps getting sucked back in as if he were trying to wade through the muck of the shallow mangrove lining the west shore of the inner Coral Harbor to reach the pavement of Rte. 107.
Now, Morrisette’s monologue of recusal from the three-member St. John panel’s deliberations on the SEG mega-yacht marina plan for Coral Harbor and bantering with the hostile audience at the August hearing on St. John Marina, The Yacht Club at Summer’s End — and a few surreptitious whispers to St. John CZM chairman Andrew Penn — have become fodder for environmentalists and bumper-sticker civic-leaders in Coral Bay and competing developers who have hired a gaggle prominent St. Thomas lawyers firing multiple lawsuits of innumerable, and sometimes unnumbered, pages to thwart the project.
“Unlawful” Participation by Conflicted Commissioner Is Alleged
“Brion Morrisette, who is one of three members of the St. John CZM Committee, along with his partner, Robert O’Connor, Jr. leases these parcels under two long-term leases granting them possession and the right to develop the properties,” lawyers for the Virgin Islands Conservation Society wrote in an appeal filed November 14.
“Both Morrisette and O’Connor provided a power of attorney to SEG granting it the right to apply for the Permit, as well as other required permits. The power of attorney was submitted to CZM and made part of the file. The right to develop remained in Morrisette and O’Connor. Neither Morrisette or O’Connor signed the application as owners or lessees,” lawyers for The Virgin Islands Conservation Society alleged in its lengthy appeal.