St. John Tradewinds News

No Progress on New Permanent Post Office Location One Year after USPS Announcement

One year after U.S. Postal Service officials announced at a public meeting they had chosen a 12,300 square foot Boynes family-owned parcel in Estate Enighed as the new St. John post office location, no further information has been released regarding when construction will begin on the facility.

The lot, which is just over one quarter of an acre, does not meet zoning requirements for the construction of a post office, and no application for rezoning has been filed by the Boynes family, according to Department of Planning and Natural Resources spokesperson Jamal Nielsen. There’s no telling how long the rezoning process could take.

“They’d have to have public hearings, and the issue would have to go before the Legislature, so it would be unfair for me to speculate on how long the process might take,” said Nielsen.

USPS Will Still Lease Property
The USPS still plans to lease the property, and the Boynes family is pursuing a zoning change, according to USPS spokesperson Monica Hand. Boynes family representative Cheryl Boynes-Jackson has not returned numerous phone calls requesting information.

Constructing the building is the sole responsibility of the Boynes family, as the USPS only leases property for post offices. The USPS signed a 10-year lease with the Boynes family on May 17, 2007, with two five year options.

Initial plans for the new post office designed by St. Thomas-based Trinity Architectural Services included 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.

Enighed Lot Too Small
The main zoning issue faced by the USPS and the Boynes family is 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 current Estate Enighed lot falls short by 2,700 square feet.

USPS officials originally planned to move the post office to the proposed Cruz Bay vendors plaza, however that idea was scrapped thanks to the inaction of the V.I. government.

“We’ve had zero communication,” said USPS real estate manager Thomas Pino — who has since retired — at the January 2007 public meeting. “We had public meetings with all sorts of promises.”

The volume of mail received on St. John has outgrown the current post office location. The new post office as planned is designed to allow for 10 years of growth.