Dear Governor de Jongh:
My wife, Barbara Footer and I would like to respectfully request that you veto the bill to rezone the Sirenusa development on St. John.
This rezoning bill was sneaked onto the agenda by Sen. Celestino White to avoid input from the St. John community, input that would almost certainly be overwhelmingly negative. We do not want to shut the project down, as the developer claims, but we do not want to see it expanded either! It is already a huge scar on the face of St. John. The developer has ignored VI law, violated our building codes, threatened to shut it down if he doesn't get his way, and now, somehow persuaded 13 Senators to ignore the wishes of the majority of St. Johnians and pass rezoning to allow him to construct seven more buildings on property already overburdened by his eyesore of a project. Enough is enough. We feel neglected and abused by the Senate, and can only beg you to hear our wishes and respond with a veto.
Barbara has lived on St. John for 32 years, and I have lived here for 29. We own a small business, a small house, and plan to live here the rest of our lives. We are not rich white millionaires who want to stop all development and close the door to newcomers, as proponents of the rezoning have portrayed us. But we do feel that development has gotten out of control, and needs to be reined-in until planning can be systematically analyzed and controls put in place to prevent further overdevelopment.
We see the same tactics over and over. The big developers present a reasonable plan, complete with pretty archtectural renderings that make their project look like a cross between a quaint guesthouse and the Garden of Eden. Then as soon as their plan is approved, they throw it in the garbage, whip out the real plan, and build anything they please. When they are caught, they ask for a variance. Failing that, they go for a rezoning. They threaten and bully, pack hearings with paid employees and contractors, and now they have somehow gotten the Senate to go along. I do not claim, as some have, that this vote was bought and paid for. But when a bill is ramrodded through at the last minute, with little or no discussion, and with no chance for the citizens of St. John to express their feelings, well, you can't blame some folks for thinking there is a distinct odor of fish aboout the whole process.
Thank you for your time and attention. Please help us. You are our last, best chance to help us regain some control over our lives and our community.
Michael Beason and Barbara Footer