March 23, 2006 – When the St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee meets April 12 to make a decision on the Westin Resort and Villas' request for a permit to dredge around its dock, the committee will also consider Westin's plan to convert four of its 13 hotel buildings into timeshares.
Hotel manager Matt Balcik said timeshares are "hot" now, so the conversion makes sense.
The hotel already has eight timeshare buildings located across Gifft Hill road. He said the converted units will still be rented to hotel guests when the owners are not in residence.
CZM Chairman Julien Harley said the hotel needs only a minor permit to make the conversion because it doesn't change the scope of the hotel.
Department of Planning and Natural Resources spokesman Jamal Nielsen confirmed that the meeting would be now be a "decision and modification meeting."
The Westin's Web site indicates the resort has 262 guest rooms, 92 vacation villas, 13 townhouses, and seven suites.
The hotel's request for a CZM permit to dredge was aired at a public meeting on March 14.
In addition to the dredging permit, the Westin also needs to play catch-up on permits for existing facilities.
Changes in ownership coupled with bureaucratic confusion has left the Westin Resort without a valid major CZM permit for its dock. Additionally, the resort never had a permit for 11 sand screws installed to moor the hotel's water toys in Great Cruz Bay, St. John.
During the March 14 meeting, Amy Dempsey of BioImpact said the resort plans to dredge 650 cubic yards of material from around the dock. The dock is 180 feet long by 12 feet wide. It has a tee that is 100 feet long and 12 feet wide.
At the March 14 meeting, CZM Director Victor Somme III read a list of concerns that the Westin needs to address before the CZM makes its decision at the April 12 meeting.
In citing the list of concerns, he said the Westin needs to explain more fully how the use of the water toys will not impact the turtle nests seasonally located along the shore. Additionally, he said CZM wants to know if the water toys hamper public access to the shoreline.
Somme also asked if the Westin has an approved Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure plan if petroleum products are handled at the dock.
The CZM meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Legislature building.
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