Residents and business owners in Red Hook told the Coastal Zone Management Committee Thursday night that “Vessup Bay should not be for sale.”
Most of the speakers putting their objections on record at a public hearing were not against the proposed Jack Rock development across the bay from the ferry dock that would include a restaurant, marine services building, and an event lawn, but rather against an additional plan for a managed mooring field.
Andrea King, who owns Island Yacht Charters along with her husband, Skip, was one of about a half dozen speakers who protested the managed mooring field.
In a letter earlier this month to Commissioner Jean-Pierre Oriol of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, she wrote, “We have been in business and registering our multi-use moorings for our vessels, with CZM, paying our fees and maintaining our moorings by a professional mooring company, for 43 years. There are many other small business owners who have moorings in Vessup and Muller Bay who pay their fees every year registering and maintaining their moorings. This new proposal for 68 moorings in Muller Bay and 14 moorings in Vessup Bay, will wipe out the small marine industry business owner if no concession is made for us to maintain our moorings in this area. This would be a monopoly in the Red Hook area, again, destroying local marine businesses who have been paying into the CZM mooring system for decades.“
A team representing the developers, including Amy Dempsey, John Woods, George Dudley, and Estaban Biondi, said a managed mooring field would be better environmentally because the developers would care for the site. They also said managed mooring fields are nothing new and that they are operated in the British Virgin Islands and Florida.
Woods said the developers had been looking at the site since 2019 and assessing what impact the development would have. Dempsey said the developers would be preserving what trees they could in the area and would have turtle-friendly lighting installed.
The landside development would also include a dry stack boat storage, fueling facilities, back of house yard, a wastewater treatment plant, and a generator.
Tim Moos, a resident in the area, said the development would be on a private road that he had worked to maintain. The developers said they would maintain the road.
The developer’s application can be reviewed on the DPNR-CZM website at https://dpnr.vi.gov/czm/programs-viczmp/coastal-zone-permitting-viczmp/.
Documents for the proposed project can be reviewed by appointment at the DPNR, Division of CZM located at 4611 Tutu Park Mall Suite#300, St. Thomas.,
A decision meeting should be held about 30 days after the public hearing.