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Created on Wednesday, 30 July 2014 18:06
Written by Tom Oat
CORAL BAY — The land and water development plans for the St. John Marina, The Yacht Club at Summer’s End, will be going before a single Department of Planning and Natural Resources Coastal Zone Management public hearing sometime in August – but the developers acknowledge the land side development may not come as fast as the marina.
“Future development is pre-planned for the purposes of this application and will be implemented strictly on market demand,” according to the Earth Change Plan and Environmental Assessment Report for the Development of the Upland Areas of the St. John Marina filed with DPNR.
“This redevelopment project consists primarily of utilizing existing buildings for land based businesses ancillary to and supporting the adjacent marina in Phase I and the addition of several new buildings in Phase II… ,” the application reads. “Ample off-street parking will be provided along with restaurants, Customs and Border protection office, marine office, marine security office, crew shower and locker facilities and apartments to support marina management.”
“The overall development will improve Route 107, add parking along the roadway and add improved pedestrian circulation and walkways, including raised pedestrian crossings and concrete sidewalks,” according to the report prepared by the developers.
“Interface With the Waterfront”
The “interface with the waterfront/marina” on the narrow shoreline on the eastern portion of Parcel 13 Remainder, the Coccoloba commercial complex will include “a covered shade structure at the marina entrance and improvements to the pedestrian crossing on Route 107,” the application reads.
The Coccoloba commercial complex “consists of an existing set of buildings and improvements that currently function as a grocery store, assorted retail stores and an outdoor restaurant and bar facility,” according to the permit application.
“The proposed conditions will renovate this area, improve the restaurant use and add upgraded utilities and wastewater treatment,” the application reads.
“Subject to Shoreline Erosion”
The St. John Marina developers acknowledge the unstable nature of the narrow shoreline along the shoulder of Route 107, the main road to the southeast end of the island.
“To protect the roadway, the southern half of the project area shoreline has been previously armored with boulder rip-rap,” according to the permit application. Further to the south, gabion baskets have been placed along the shoreline indicating the southern portions of the property are subject to shoreline erosion.”
“Dense mangroves protect the shoreline to the north, but the area between the riprap and the mangroves consists of an erosion shorefront,” the permit application reads. “There is a very narrow sandy beach behind which are eroded soils.”
“Many of the seaside maho trees along the shoreline exhibit erosion along their roots,” the filing continued.
Read more: Land Development for Proposed Marina May Not Come as Fast as Marina
Created on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 05:32
Written by Tom Oat
The V.I. government is conducting meetings to get public input into negotiations with the federal government concerning a land swap for more than ten acres of federal property across from George Simmonds Terrace at Hammer Farm on Route 10, above. The next meeting is Tuesday, July 29, at the Julius E. Sprauve School at 5:30 p.m.
One of the hundreds of workers who commute from St. Thomas to St. John had a simple question at the first “scoping” meeting to plan the construction of a new public school on St. John conducted in May.
“Why can’t my child come to school with me on St. John while I’m working?”
For the V.I. government officials starting the formal process of acquiring a piece of property on Centerline Road in Hammer Farm from the U.S. government to build a new island educational complex, the question opened the discussion wide.
The Office of the Governor in partnership with the Departments of Education and Public Works will conduct the second public “scoping” meeting and present the findings of the Phase I Archaeological Study for a suggested property for the school on Centerline Road across from George Simmonds Terrace on Tuesday, July 29, at the Julius E. Sprauve School cafeteria in Cruz Bay from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
The V.I. government is conducting the meetings to get public input into negotiations with the federal government concerning a land swap for more than ten acres of federal property across from George Simmonds Terrace at Hammer Farm.
Read more: Second Public “Scoping” Session on New St. John Public School Is Tonight
Created on Monday, 28 July 2014 05:28
Written by Jaime Elliott
Summer’s End Group Managing Partner Chaliese Summers and Partner Rick Barksdale.
CORAL BAY — After years of talk and speculation about a marina planned for Coral Bay, last week’s announcement that Department of Planning and Natural Resources officials had deemed the application for Summer’s End Group’s proposed 145-slip project complete, sent tongues wagging from Mandhal to East End.
As DPNR begins the process of evaluating the project and scheduling public meetings — expected to be in August — Summer’s End Group’s plans for a large-scale marina, taking up most of Coral Bay harbor, and associated retail and hospitality development, are now available for review at Connections East and Keep Me Posted.
While many live-aboard boaters, recreational boaters and Coral Bay residents feel there is a need for a marina in the area, and welcome a pump-out facility and U.S. Customs and Border Protection office, many people feel Summer’s End Group’s plan is simply too big and inappropriate for the area.
“My first impression is that it’s way too big for Coral Bay,” said Stephen Hendren. “The marina would take up three-quarters of the inner bay.”
“What they want to do is build a marina in the middle of the bay with a bridge to it,” said Dick Burks.
Summer’s End Group’s proposed marina — with 46 slips for mega-yachts and 96 for smaller yachts — does not reflect the needs or the wants of the community, explained Coral Bay Community Council President Sharon Coldren.
Last year CBCC hosted an intensive community planning session with American Institute of Architects (AIA) which looked at ways to develop Coral Bay while maintaining the area’s beauty and charm. Summer’s End Group partner Rick Barksdale took part in that planning session, yet his proposed marina doesn’t reflect what was discussed or recommended by the AIA experts, explained Coldren.
Read more: Summer’s End Deemed Too Large for Coral Bay; Residents Say Plan Shows Lack of Boating Knowledge
Created on Monday, 28 July 2014 05:18
Written by Tom Oat
CORAL BAY — Moravian Church officials are hoping the developers of the St. John Marina, The Yacht Club at Summer’s End, proposed for Coral Bay Harbor will share in the bounty of the Lord — in the form of the public waters of the harbor.
“That’s exactly the position we’re taking,” Moravian Church official Sam Rymer told St. John Tradewinds July 26.
In a telephone interview in April, the church official said the Moravian property encompassing the entire north shore of the bay was a “better site” for a marina than any site on the south shore of Coral Bay where a stateside developer was proposing a marina at a then-undisclosed location.
Rick Barksdale, a principal of the development group proposing the alternate marina, Summer’s End Group, called Rymer’s remark “an unsubstantiated and unqualified statement” since the Summer’s End group has not publicly identified the site it is proposing for a marina development.
The Summer’s End group had filed initial plans for its project with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) in April, but details of the plan were not released by DPNR until the application was deemed complete in mid July.
Marina Stretches Across Harbor
Now that St. John Marina plans are public, the Moravians have found Summer’s End is coveting public harbor waters more than half way across the inner harbor for their marina and proposing to relocate moorings from the southern area of the harbor into waters abutting Moravian land to the north.
Read more: Moravian Church Wants Marina Plan From Opposite Shore To Share Harbor
Created on Sunday, 27 July 2014 00:14
Written by Jaime Elliott
Caribbean Cottage Retreat
While luxury villas aren’t difficult to come by on St. John, a celebrity-sized wallet is usually needed in order to afford those sweeping North Shore views.
Saba Cottage, Caribbean Cottage Retreat and Coqui Cottage, on the other hand, are Love City homes you don’t have to be in the 1 percent to afford.
“Not everyone on St. John can afford a luxury home,” said Holiday Homes of St. John sales associate Sandra Mohler. “Not everyone needs all that space or all those amenities which drive the price of a home out of your average person’s range.”
With a little bit of work, these three homes — all available for less than $400,000 — could appreciate in value, Mohler added.
“These options give people the ability to gain sweat equity while living and working on their home,” she said. “All three of these houses are comfortable homes at the bottom of the price range on St. John, which can be improved or enlarged to make them more valuable.”
Read more: On The Market: Affordable St. John Homes Offer Options
Created on Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:11
Written by Jaime Elliott
VIERS eco-campers examine sea life collected for study, below, and attend outdoor classes, above.
Lameshur Bay — With St. John Festival wrapped up and school another month away, students are descending to Lameshur Bay for the annual Eco-camps at V.I. Environmental Resource Station.
Owned by University of the Virgin Islands and managed by Clean Islands International, VIERS welcomes students each summer who come out to remote Lameshur Bay on the island’s south shore for three-day, two-night Eco-camps, where they learn about everything from mangroves to shore birds.
“In the Eco-camps this year, we’re focusing on birds and it’s been a real hit,” said VIERS Administrator Randy Brown. “The kids are learning the difference between a bird and a bat and listening to different bird calls. They’re really been having fun with it.”
The eco-campers, from across St. Thomas and St. John, also spend time on shoreline walks where they search for and identify marine creatures like sea cucumbers and pencil urchins.
A recent morning found campers walking along the water’s edge at Great Lameshur Bay, heads bent down as they overturned rocks to reveal a trove of sea life.
Students took their findings to VIERS Manager Tony Blackwell, who helped them identify their find and deposit it in a bucket of sea water to show their fellow campers.
Read more: VIERS Welcome New Group of Eco-campers to Lameshur Bay