Sirenusa Construction Continues as Developer Awaits December 12 Zone Change Hearing

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Sirenusa project construction is continuing.

The developers of the 40-unit Sirenusa condominium project overlooking Cruz Bay have renewed construction on buildings the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) had placed under a Cease and Desist Order while they wait for a public hearing on a petition for a zoning amendment to change the property’s zoning from Residential-2 to Residential-3.

DPNR officials were not available to comment on the work which has resumed on the three-story-plus structures on the lower portion of the five-acre site in recent weeks or to give an explanation of the rezoning request which would allow three-story buildings.

The DPNR public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, December 12, at 10 a.m. at the St. John Legislature’s Conference Room in Cruz Bay, according to a public announcement the agency was scheduled to have published in the St. Thomas base V.I. Daily News on December 3 and 10 concerning Application No. ZAJ-07-2

“Request for an Amendment to Official Zoning Map No. SJZ-2 to rezone Parcel No. 11 Estate Enighed, No. 1 Cruz Bay Quarter, St. John V.I. from R-2 (Residential Low Density-One and Two Family) to R-3 (Residential Medium Density) to allow the construction of seven additional units,” according to the DPNR notice for a public hearing on “petitions to amend the Virgin Islands Official Zoning Maps.”

The developer’s changes in the project “should not subject them to another public hearing,” St. Thomas Attorney Adriane J. Dudley wrote DPNR Commissioner Dean C. Plaskett in a March 29, 2006, letter representing project architect William Karr and Associates.

“We submit that there is nothing in the law requiring the applicant to stop construction and undergo an entirely new hearing process for adjustments to a project that are all in compliance with the zoning law.” Dudley wrote after Plaskett had issued a Cease and Desist Order against the project.

“I am encouraged that your clients understand that they may be required to further modify their plans and/or submit to the zoning change procedure,” Plaskett wrote Dudley on March 30, 2006 in a letter partially lifting the Cease and Desist Order. “However, a Cease and Desist Order shall remain in effect for the two buildings which are…located at the front of the property and at the lowest part of the hill.”

No Explanation Available from DPNR
While DPNR’s December 12 hearing announcement refers to plans to allow the “construction of seven additional units,” neither plans nor other information on the proposed zone change were available from DPNR.

At least one neighbor isn’t sure what to expect from the Sirenusa developers anymore.

“I think they are telling us what they think we want to hear,” said one neighbor. “And then they go ahead with whatever they want to do.”

“The fact that they haven’t torn it down proves that to me,” the neighbor said of the three-plus story high steel frame erected on the lower portion of the project.