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Plaskett Says Ritz Not in Violation of Permits

Feb. 11, 2006 — The Ritz Carlton St. Thomas hotel didn't violate the terms of its Coastal Zone Management permit when it began filling in part of a 12,000 square foot sediment pond, according to Dean Plaskett, Planning and Natural Resources commissioner.
"It was a permitted act. The Ritz had a permit since February 2005 to reduce the size of the pond by 23 percent," Planning and Natural Resources spokesman Jamal Nielsen said on the phone Friday.
The week the incident came to light, Nielsen had said that the hotel "erroneously" placed rocks and fill in a sediment pond. He said the hotel was told to remove the fill. (See "Ritz-Carlton Must Remove Fill from Sediment Pond").
On Saturday, Red Hook Community Alliance president Andrea King called the situation "ludicrous."
"The Ritz pulled a few quick ones," King said.
She called it a "sad state of affairs" that the issue would be "magically shoved under the rug."
King said she couldn't understand how the Ritz Carlton could be allowed to fill in a sediment pond.
Plaskett said in a press news release Friday that CZM staff determined that the smaller sediment pond will continue to effectively control runoff flowing toward a nearby salt pond.
Planning told the Ritz Carlton and developer William Karr to remove rocks and fill it had placed in the area while it investigated the matter brought to their attention by area residents.
Plaskett said that CZM will continue to monitor the construction site to make sure the developer replants vegetation and that construction is done according to the permit requirements.

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