CBCC Meeting To Focus on Uses for Five-Acre Parcel

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Parcel 6-4 Carolina, above, will be the focus of CBCC’s planning series meeting on May 9, when the group will discuss proposed uses for the five-acre site.

Coral Bay might be seeing a new reverse osmosis plant, water storage tanks and standpipes.

Or the area might see a “convenience center” where residents would be able to drop off waste, recyclables and compost. Or both.

The future of a five-acre parcel of government land located at 6-4 Carolina just off Centerline Road, will be the focus of a Coral Bay Community Council planning session on Monday night, May 9, at 6 p.m. at Guy Benjamin School.

The group will be discussing proposed uses for the five acres of unused government land, explained CBCC president Sharon Coldren.

“Parcel 6-4 Carolina is currently being used by Department of Public Works for storage of landslide fill and other materials,” said Coldren. “Just recently, two proposals have been made for the land. There are probably about three acres of usable land on the site, given that the main gut is one the western portion — where CBCC is doing the sediment detention work — and some of the land is very steep.”

The parcel is not zoned, but is located below residential areas zoned R-1 and R-2. While many residents believe the land was earmarked for recreation purposes when the Marsh family donated it to the government, no such restrictions exist, according to Coldren.

“While a number of people in the community are under the impression that this government owned land is ‘deed-restricted’ to be used for parks and recreation, a review of the deed and the legislation for the government purchasing the property in the 1960s shows that there are no restrictions on the Government’s use,” said Coldren. “Within the V.I. Government, Parks and Recreation has the management control, but ‘sign off’ authority is Property and Procurement.”

 

Water And Power Authority is proposing to use a roughly three-quarter-acre portion of the site for a water storage tank and standpipes in anticipation of a Reverse Osmosis plant being constructed in the Fortsberg area of the Coral Bay waterfront, explained Coldren.

 

WAPA is in the process of applying to Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Division of  Coastal Zone Management to construct a roughly 50,000 gallon RO plant on flat land in the Fortsberg area, Coldren explained.

Plans include running an underground pipeline from the plant to Centerline Road, past the Coral Bay Fire Station and Guy Benjamin School up to Parcel 6-4 Carolina, according to the CBCC president.

“WAPA’s plant would be in Fortsberg out near the point in the harbor where the flat land is,” said Coldren. “They are not taking the pipes out very far; they will be right in the mouth of the harbor where the sea grass beds are.”

“They are talking about 50,000 gallons a day to increase to 100,000,” she said. “The plan is to run a pipe from the RO location down the dirt road past Skinny Legs and the elementary school under Route 10, then up to the site. Anyone along the site could connect in.”

WAPA also plans to run a pipe under the sand of the bay to the Calabash Boom area, Coldren added.

The other proposal for the land is coming from the V.I. Waste Management Authority, which is looking at utilizing about an acre of the site to relocate the main Coral Bay dumpsters to a roofed and fenced “convenience center.” In addition to household waste, residents would also be able to drop off recyclables, metal and compost material, Coldren explained.

“This would be a large roofed and fenced structure that would include various recycling stations as well as large bins,” said the CBCC president. “We might also be able to do some freecycling, composting and community gardening, on the site.”

The VIWMA proposal arose after Coldren brought community members’ concerns regarding the Coral Bay dumpsters to the Legislature last month, she explained.

“This potential site is being reviewed at Senator [Louis Patrick] Hill’s request, after I spoke at a recent legislative hearing about the need for funding to move the dumpsters out of the mangroves and away from the unsafe current blind curve road location,” said Coldren. “CBCC has long had the concern that the dumpsters need to be moved. CBCC was charged by Senator Hill to see what the community thinks of this idea.”

Both proposals would be subjected to the oversight of DPNR’s CZM staff and the St. John CZM Committee. CBCC officials hope to hear from Coral Bay residents, especially residents who live near the 6-4 Carolina parcel, about what they think should be on the site, Coldren added.

“Ideally, these competing uses and preferred physical locations would be evaluated as part of a complete land use planning process focusing on public infrastructure, with DPNR coordination and community business and government agency participation,” she said.

With limited public land in the Coral Bay area, and a need for improved infrastructure, the community could possible seek alternative approaches, Coldren added.

“There are various other alternatives which could be looked into,” she said. “There are various large parcels of land which owe significant back taxes to the government. Trading an acre or two of good usable land for public infrastructure would resolve both individual tax debts as well as provide good land for needed public infrastructure in Coral Bay.”

“It doesn’t necessary have to mean new dollars out of the strapped government budget to do something right now,” Coldren said. “There are creative ideas that can be undertaken like grants from the Department of Interior. If the community stands behind something, it gets easier to get federal funding.”

CBCC is hoping to foster dialogue between government agencies and the public, in order to have a voice in the area’s development.

“We don’t want the site planning for these public services to take place in a vacuum,” said Coldren. “We don’t want it to be, ‘this is the only land so this is the best land.’ We need to look at where these public services should be located long-term as part of an overall planning process so that we have a logical and beautiful community 50 to 100 years from now.”

Stop by the CBCC planning series meeting on Monday, May 9, at 6 p.m. in room 6 of Guy Benjamin School to hear about infrastructure planning in the Coral Bay area. For more details call the CBCC at 776-2099.

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