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CZM Laying Out Proposed Regulation Changes in Public Hearings

Dec. 7, 2005 –– Public notice and participation were the main concerns at a Coastal Zone Management Commission public meeting on St. John Wednesday called to discuss proposed changes to the CZM's rules and regulations.
About a dozen people attended the meeting held at the Legislature building.
Sharon Coldren, president of the Coral Bay Community Council, suggested that the CZM staff use e-mail to improve communication and make documents available on its Web site.
"As you become more electronic it will make it easier," she said.
She also asked that developers provide a project summary so people who want to learn about their plans can more easily understand them. She said that currently, people have to go through large documents written in unfamiliar terms.
"People get intimidated by jargon," she said.
After St. John resident Alfredo Alejo questioned whether the proposed rule changes eliminated meeting notifications in newspapers, CZM director Victor Somme III clarified.
He said that in the event newspapers are not printing, such as in the aftermath of a hurricane, publication is limited to television or radio as wells as postings.
"It's not in the interest of the department to any way restrict or limit public notice," Somme said.
One of the proposed changes calls for meeting notices to be published 14 days and two days before the event.
"You want to put it out close to the public hearing," CZM attorney Jennifer Jones said.
The proposed rules and regulations also call for permit holders to receive a permit modification before their existing permit expires.
Jones told St. John resident Phillip Pickering that permits cannot be revoked after they are granted even if the community is unhappy about it without filing with the Board of Land Use Appeals. However, she said the person filing the appeal must prove they are "aggrieved."
Jones said that in order to be aggrieved, the person must have failed to receive notice of the permit hearing when he was entitled to do so or provide another good reason.
Jones said the person who files an appeal has 45 days after the CZM permit is issued to do so.
The other proposed changes in the rules and regulations are available at
www.viczmp.com. Click on Rules and Regs.
Three new St. John CZM Committee members –– Gerry Hills, Edmund Roberts and Andrew Penn –– were sworn in by Commission Chairman A. Winston Adams.
The commission consists of members from the St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John Committees.
All but two of the commission members were on hand for the meeting.
Additional meetings will be held Thursday at the Education Department's Curriculum Center in Tutu, St. Thomas and Wednesday, Dec. 14 at Education's Curriculum Center at Kingshill, St. Croix. Both begin at 6 p.m.

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