Plans Available for Proposed Coral Bay Marina

After several years of speculation in the St. John community about the scope and location of the proposed St. John Marina in Coral Bay, the plans are finally public.

The developer, Summer’s End Group, wants to build a 145-slip marina on seven parcels located along Route 107, with the marine slips extending outward into the harbor.

Those parcels run on the inland side of Route 107, west from where Cocoloba shopping center now sits to the parcel that’s home to the Cases by the Sea building and the Oasis restaurant. On the seaward side of Route 107, the parcels run west from Island Blues Restaurant to include the Shoreline Inn and two vacant parcels.

While Chaliese Summers is the listed on the application as the managing member, a phone call requesting information was returned by Rick Barksdale. He is listed in the application as a partner. He refused to discuss the application on the phone because he claimed he was tired of being misquoted by the media.

He requested questions along with a Source editor’s email address be emailed to him. As of 8 p.m. Wednesday, he had not responded to those questions.

The project needs major Coastal Zone Management land and water permits, with a hearing expected to be held in August.

According to the CZM application, construction of the marina will result in a decrease in available moorings within the immediate footprint of the marina. Up to six vessels with mooring permits may be required to move. The St. John Marina will work with these vessel owners to provide an alternative mooring site.

The applicant proposes working 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.

During construction, the project will require the driving of 1,333 piles and will have bottom impacts due to barge anchoring and “spudding,” the application indicates.

The project is expected to contribute $8.8 million to the territory’s economy, according to the application.

The total cost is unknown. However, $1.3 million of it is expected to come in the form of a Boating Infrastructure Grant from the federal Fish and Wildlife Service.

The application indicates a minimum of 90 jobs will be created. To insure the jobs go to qualified residents, a job fair is planned for Coral Bay in order to give local residents an opportunity for employment. These jobs equate to an estimated labor income of $3 million.

According to the CZM application, development will occur in two phases. The marina in included in the first phase and includes the 145 slips, a mooring field with 12 mooring balls and a dinghy dock. Summer’s End proposes to join forces with the Planning and Natural Resources Department in what it terms a public-private partnership to add additional 75 moorings to those that area already in Coral Bay.

The application indicates 115 boats are moored in Coral Bay.

The marina will also include a diesel and gasoline fuel dock and a wastewater pump out system available to the boating public. The application notes that as most vessels use chemicals within their holding tanks that could upset the onsite waste water treatment plan, this waste will be collected separately and stored in an underground storage tank that will be periodically pumped out by a private hauler and disposed of in the municipal system.

Along with the construction of the docks, the application indicates Phase I will enhance existing commercial business sites at inland Cocoloba shopping center and on the seaward side, the Island Blues and Shoreline Inn complex. The developers also plan to renovate the abandoned Voyages restaurant building, located on the inland side.

The Phase I improvements for the proposed marina complex include 120 off-street parking spaces, a new 56-seat restaurant, a U.S Customs and Border Protection office, a marina office, marina engineering, marina security, fish and farmers market, crew shower and locker facilities, and apartments to support marina management.

Phase II of the development will be implemented if the demand is there, the application indicates. It includes four new buildings with additional retail, restaurant, office space, commercial space and six short-term rental units.

According to the application, all improvements will comply with current zoning. The application indicates the shore-side parcels are zoned W-1, waterfront pleasure. The inland parcels are zoned B-3, business scattered. The application indicates four of the parcels are leased and three are under contract for purchase.

The buildings will vary in size and height, ranging from one to three stories.

Fire suppression and potable water demands will be met with roof catchment and cistern storage. In periods of limited rainfall or heavy demand, supplemental water will be purchased from the V.I. Water and Power Authority and Caneel Bay Resort. All water will be stored in existing cisterns with a new transfer piping system installed to maximize the amount of stored water. Domestic wastewater generated from the project will be treated by onsite tertiary waste water treatment plant with the treated effluent reclaimed for use as irrigation and toilet flushing. Irrigation will be supplemented with water from cisterns as necessary.

Electrical power will be provided by WAPA via existing distribution lines. Communication links will be supplied through local telephone and communication companies. An emergency generator will provide back up for emergency pumps and emergency lighting at the marina. Individual site-specific generators will supply emergency power for land-based businesses. All electrical distribution lines within the property limits or road right of way will be placed in underground conduit.

Red mangroves will be planted along the waterfront where a mangrove fringe does not currently exist in an effort to stabilize the shoreline and provide habitat.

In addition to construction noise, the applicant indicates the construction will have several temporary and long-term impacts primarily associated with elimination of sea grasses in the immediate footprint of the piles and shading from the dock structure and boats moored for a long period of time in the marina.

The marina is designed to minimize the long-term impacts of shading on sea grasses as much as possible through the use of fixed docks instead of floating docks, raising of the height of the docks as high as practicable; the use of mooring piles to reduce finger pier length; and utilizing grated decking. In addition, the overall layout of the marina avoids any direct impacts to existing corals.

St. John Marina intends to participate in the Clean Marina and Blue Flag programs. As mitigation for unavoidable impacts, the developer will be providing educational signage and literature on boating practices to protect the marine environment and its residents. The applicant will also support workshops and seminars to support the protection of the environment.

In addition, St. John Marina intends to contribute to youth organizations such as the Islands Kids and the Sea Program and Using Sport for Social Change.

The CZM applications are included for review on the Coral Bay Community Council’s cloud site at .

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