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Thursday, March 23, 2023
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Budsan Says Activists Don't Necessarily Want to Stop Development

Dear Source,
Concerning an editorial in the Daily News, "Preserving Lands and Beaches" the editorial staff has neglected to take into account some issues surrounding preservation and development which, in my opinion, can and must go hand in hand.
First it is not true that "There is a vocal group of people who love to complain about developments in the Virgin Islands, but not a single one of them does anything about coming up with a reasonable solution." I think you have not been paying close attention to the need for implementation of a territorial park and a comprehensive land and water use plan that has been suggested for many years.
As an another example, if you look to our sister island on St. John you will see that "a vocal group" stepped up to the plate and avoided a monster of building some 9- stories tall and again demanded responsible development, not an end to development. However the public still must help define what a three story building actually is understood. Presently B-2 zoning allows unlimited stories. I wonder what would have happened if they had not voiced their concerns? They also had come up with more than just "one reasonable solution".
The editorial touched on the territorial park system by mentioning how well Magens Bay is managed. I agree that the Magens Bay Authority should be copied as an example of how to preserve our open spaces. But if you had looked a bit further into a park system you would have realized that the same" vocal group" has been pushing for the governor to name the committee members to serve on this board. But this administration has been negligent in sending down names to the Senate. There has been some $4 million dollars set aside for designating a park system territory wide. I wonder, would it be preferable if every inch of the island were developed and none of it were preserved? Would Magens Bay be allowed to be developed? I sure hope not. Public lands and spaces are the very reasons why we have so many visitors coming to our islands. Planning is what is needed and planning is what we currently do not have.
On the issues surrounding Botany Bay development, this same "vocal group" has looked over the Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) and made recommendations including how to better manage and protect this Area of Particular Concern (APC). In fact, I made a few points at that same hearing, commending and praising the developers on the preservation plan for its cultural resources. I mentioned that fire and police services should have long ago been available to the West End residents and the developers should demand such services. In addition, the Waste Management Authority should make recommendations to the developers on how to avoid sending more waste to our landfill by being proactive. This can apply to all development.
While it is true that not much can be done after the sale of areas of particular concern the desirability for environmental safeguards can be expressed in any and all public hearings as a part of the permitting process.
Eighteen APC's have been designated since 1992. Unfortunately these "vocal groups" cannot afford to buy all of these areas. We can however urge our law makers to do what is needed and support where we can. Why is the implementation of a comprehensive land and water use plan not in place and a territorial park system not up and running? Blame our so called leaders – not the general public. Unfortunately we seem to select poor planners and leaders every election year. Hopefully, we will get it right this election.
To the general public- please remember to vote, not only for well planned development but also for the preservation of our environmental, historical and cultural resources.
Jason Budsan

Editors note:We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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