The U.S. Virgin Islands Senate, meeting in legislative session Tuesday, approved 10 zoning changes but held two controversial ones until it reconvenes on Dec. 29. It also approved 16 lease agreements.
The matter of whether to rezone 16 acres in Estate Beeston Hill from residential to business to allow a proposed development, which includes retail space, a restaurant, condominium complexes, and parking lots was effectively delayed to a later meeting.
Still, senators commented extensively on it. During the time set aside for debate on the zoning issues, the issues on the agenda were mostly ignored while senators expressed their views on Beeston Hill. Sens. Kurt Vialet and Novelle Francis had much to say about the project as they both live in the area.
Francis noted that there was already a medical facility, a gym and a church in the area. He said a happy medium should be reached. He mentioned the possibility of a land use variance instead of a zoning change. If the zoning is changed, residents fear that, besides the proposed project, the area would be open for bars, nightclubs, tattoo parlors, trucking industries and gas stations.
Vialet said that restrictions should be placed on what could be developed in the area, but St. Croix had to stop saying no to every development.
A Department of Planning and Natural Resources study recommended against the development. Sen. Alma Francis Heyliger said the work of the professionals at DPNR should be respected. She added that characterizing the residents opposing the project in the public debate as snowbirds and B&B operators was wrong. She said she heard from residents who were longtime residents in the area who opposed the project.
Sen. Janelle Sarauw said she was concerned with a process where a developer bought a property at a low price because it was zoned residential, got a zoning change, then sold the property for a higher price. She called the practice immoral.
The other proposed zoning change held for later consideration was also a change from residential to business. The property in that case is 173-A-66 Estate Anna’s Retreat, No. 1 New Quarter, St. Thomas.
The senators then moved and approved the following zoning changes:
— A zoning use variance for No. 18-A Remainder Estate Smith Bay, Nos 1, 2 and 3 East End Quarter, St. Thomas to allow for the installation of 29 storage containers for use as “Warehouse & Storage Services (General)” and for no other purpose.
— Change the zoning designation of No. 3-103 Remainder Estate Bovoni, Nos. 1 & 2 Frenchman’s Bay Quarter, St. Thomas, from Residential-Medium Density to Business-Scattered.
— Change the zoning of 47D-1 Kronprindsens Gade, Kronprindsens Quarter, St. Thomas, from Public to Business Scattered.
— Change the zoning of No. 34-A Estate Two Brothers and Smithfield, West End Quarter, St. Croix, from Residential-Medium Density to Commercial.
— Rezoning several small parcels in Estate Raphune, No. 5B New Quarter, St. Thomas, and Estate Donoe, No. 2A New Quarter, St. Thomas, from R-2 and C, as the case may be, to B-2,
— Change the zoning of Nos. 19F-1 Remainder and 19N Remainder, Estate Smith Bay, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, East End Quarter, St. Thomas, from Agricultural to Commercial and Residential-Medium Density, respectively.
— Change the zoning of No. 2 Remainder Estate Bovoni, Nos. 1 & 2 Frenchman’s Bay Quarter, St. Thomas, from Residential Medium Density to Commercial.
— Change the zoning of No. 9-E Estate LaGrange, West End Quarter, St. Croix, from Residential-Low Density Residential to Medium Density.
— Rezoning of Nos. 73-B and 271 Estate Concordia, West End Quarter, St. Croix, from Residential-Medium Density to Public.
— Rezoning of No. 1-K and 1-L Estate Diamond, Queen Quarter, St. Croix, from Residential-Low-Density to Business-Secondary/Neighborhood, with a use variance to allow for a water distillation plant and ice manufacture and sales.
Also, the following lease agreements from Property and Procurement were approved:
— Agreement with Julien Welding, d/b/a Julien’s Welding.
— Agreement with Caribe Tradewinds Lodge No. 17, Inc., District No. 8 for the purpose of conducting meetings, community outreach activities, feeding the homeless, mentoring youth, and for other related purposes.
— Agreement with Liberty Mobile USVI, Inc., for No. 6-4-1 Estate Carolina, No. 1 Coral Bay Quarter, St. John to develop, construct, operate, maintain, repair, replace and upgrade a wireless communication facility and for other related purposes.
— Agreement with On The Level, OTL MECHANICAL for the leasing of No. 69 Submarine Base, No. 4 Southside Quarter, St. Thomas.
— Agreement with Twin City Cricket Association, Inc. for Rem. Parcel No. 23 Estate VICORP Land, King Quarter, St. Croix for a cricket facility and other related activities.
— The grant of an easement over No. 11 Remainder Estate Dorothea, No. 6 Great Northside Quarter, St. Thomas, to Leslie Phipps.
— Agreement with the Virgin Islands Resource Center for the Disabled, Inc. for an improved portion of No. 75 Kronprindsens Gade, Kronprindsens Quarter, St. Thomas.
— Agreement with the Village-Virgin Islands Partners in Recovery, Inc. for Parcel Nos. 1-H and 13-F Estate Sion Hill, Queen Quarter, St. Croix.
— Agreement with Hustler and Sons, Inc. for No. 34, Estate Nisky, No. 6, Southside Quarter, St. Thomas for the purpose of operating a garage and repair shop, with related activities.
— Agreement with Courtesy Car Wash, LLC.
— Agreement with Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands, Inc. for No. 410 Hospital Ground, Kings Quarter, St. Thomas.
— Agreement with Sanitary Trash Removal Services, Inc.
— Agreement with Owen’s Jeep Rental, for No. 1Ad Cruz Bay Town, No. 1 Cruz Bay Quarter, St. John consisting of 715 U.S. square feet to be used for the rental of vehicles, and for other related purposes.
— Agreement with Love City BBQ and Grill, for No. 307 Cruz Bay Town, Cruz Bay Quarter, St. John which includes a one-story building situated on 2,641.09 square feet of improved land, to be used to operate a mobile bar and grill, and for other related purposes.
— Agreement with Christiansted Harbor Resort Hotel and Marina for Protestant Cay, specifically improved Plot No. 1 and improved Plot No. 2 with all buildings and improvements located in Christiansted Harbor, St. Croix.
— Agreement with Star Time Technology Center, Inc. for a portion of No. 2A Crystal Gade, Queens Quarter, St. Thomas for the purpose of operating a community technology learning and training center, and for other related purposes.
Senators attending the meeting were Donna Frett-Gregory, Novelle Francis Jr., Genevieve Whitaker, Franklin Johnson, Samuel Carrión, Carla Joseph, Marvin Blyden, Dwayne DeGraff, Kenneth Gittens, Javon James Sr., Angel Bolques Jr., Alma Francis Heyliger, Kurt Vialet, Janelle Sarauw. Sen. Milton E. Potter was absent.