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Planner Hired for St. John

July 25, 2008 — After twice advertising for a St. John planner, someone has accepted the job, Government House spokesman Jean Greaux said.
"I'm not sure when he's going to start," Greaux said.
The planner's paperwork is now making its way through the government's hiring system, he said.
The planner will be based on St. John at the Planning and Natural Resources Department office.
No one accepted the job in the first round of advertising, Greaux said.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. promised St. John a planner during his campaign for governor. He has reiterated that promise several times since then.
The planner can't come one minute too soon for many St. John residents, who see daily the impact on their lives of decisions made by St. Thomas-based government officials.
"It's really important that we begin to address the consequences of development," said Sharon Coldren, president of the Coral Bay Community Council.
A planner should be able to create a vision of what St. John residents want for their island, Coldren said.
Additionally, that planner can help developers select options so they can make money.Owners of big St. John developments are now complaining that they can't make any money, Coldren said. St. John residents could have told them that from the start, she said.
St. John's development is aimed at providing for "very wealthy people and no one else," Coldren said.
St. John Administrator Leona Smith ticked off numerous problems facing St. John that need input from a planner. They include Cruz Bay's critical parking shortage, the redevelopment of Cruz Bay Park and the planned construction of an elementary and high school complex.
"Once the school is relocated we have to find out what to do with the space," Smith said, referring to the buildings now occupied by Julius E. Sprauve School and Guy Benjamin School.
Students from those two elementary schools will attend school at the combined elementary and high school complex.
The planner should create a plan for the next five years to make sure the money in the St. John Capital Improvement Fund actually goes to St. John projects instead of being siphoned off by the Legislature, Smith said.
"They always spend it somewhere else, but we still need our infrastructure," she said.
Smith called on the planner to work in conjunction with the St. John community.
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