BLUA Will Decide Future of Reliance’s Calabash Boom Project on July 6

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After months of delays, the future of the proposed 72-unit Calabash Boom affordable housing project could be decided at a Board of Land Use Appeals meeting on Friday, July 6, at 10 a.m. at the St. John Legislature Building.

The St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee first approved Reliance’s major land and water use permit in December 2006. After contractors did not comply with several of the special conditions included in their permit, however, the St. John CZM Committee issued Reliance a cease and desist order in early February.

A missing Army Corps of Engineers permit, needed for the then-planned reverse/osmosis facility before construction was allowed to begin, was at the center of the controversy.

Reliance officials modified their plans, removing the R/O plant and intended to use existing wells and roof catchments to supply residents with potable water instead.

The St. John CZM Committee approved Reliance’s modification request on February 22 and lifted their cease and desist order on March 13.

An ad-hoc group called Friends of Coral Bay, represented by Attorney Alan Smith, filed a petition with the BLUA on March 20, opposing the St. John CZM Committee’s modification approval.

In their compliant, Friends of Coral Bay contend that proper testing was not conducted on the existing wells and roof catchments would not provide adequate potable water for residents.

An automatic stay on construction went into place since the BLUA complaint was filed, meaning no work has taken place on the roughly eight-acre site since mid-March.

BLUA hears appeals of any person aggrieved by an action of the CZM Commission, its committee, or the Commissioner of Planning and Natural Resources, and consists of residents from all three islands.

The board, which has nine members when full, is currently comprised of Reginald George, Aloy Nielsen, John Woods, Fred Vialet, Elton Chongasing, James Hindels and Jose Penn. Penn is the sole St. Johnian member of BLUA.