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Sunday, May 19, 2024
HomeNewsLocal governmentSenators Like Water Island Dock and Sub Base Hotel

Senators Like Water Island Dock and Sub Base Hotel

Marlon Hibbert, left, and Lisa Bertrand testified to senators about the Water Island dock. (Photo courtesy V.I. Legislature)

Developers asked members of the Senate Committee of the Whole Monday for zoning changes that would allow a business hotel in Estate Nisky, commercial parking in Estate Contant, a dock on Honeymoon Beach, and residential homes in Estate Donoe.

All the projects, three on St. Thomas and one on Water Island, received favorable recommendations from the Department of Planning and Natural Resources and were remarked on favorably by most senators.

Senate President Novelle Francis thanked the presenters for “seizing the opportunity” to bring economic development to the territory. He said the Senate would act on the measures very shortly.

Lisa Bertrand, representing Beach Life, is waiting for the approval to install a floating dinghy dock in Druif Bay offshore of Dinghy’s Beach Bar & Grill on Water Island. She said it consists of three 5-foot-wide by 10-foot-long polyethylene EZ dock Floats already on the island waiting to be installed. Several senators asked if there would be any charge to use the dock. She said, “No.” Sen. Kenneth Gittens said he “hoped that was not just a sales pitch that became a problem in the future.”

Marlon Hibbert, director of the Coastal Zone Management, said the dock was restricted to small boats and dinghies and not allowed for overnight use.

Bertrand said the dock was an issue of safety and convenience for visitors coming to the beach.

Waleed (Wally) Hamed, representing Moe’s Fresh Market, testified in support of a use variance to allow an old naval warehouse on its first floor to be converted into a gourmet food market with two floors of hotel rooms above it. Each upper level would have 26 units. According to Hamed, the hotel will provide overnight accommodations for business travelers and will not have amenities such as a pool, spa, or restaurant. Hamed’s family company leases the property at Estate Nisky, No. 6 Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, from the government. Hamed testified that he has been discussing with the State Historic Preservation Office about preserving some of the naval character of the building.

Roosevelt David, representing Discount Car Rental, requested approval of a use variance to Parcels No. 41 Remainder Estate Contant and 41-C Estate Contant, 7A Southside Quarter, St. Thomas, to allow the company to park rentals there. The company reportedly has been using the property for overflow parking for 10 years but has recently been informed that it needs to either go for a variance or zoning change to follow the law. Davis said the company would accept the variance, but he thought a change to commercial zoning would be best for all involved. Residents in the area had concerns about changing the zoning.

Roger Minkoff represented Akeem and Rasha Harris, principals of AR Legacy, in a request to rezone No. 1-13 in Estate Donoe from residential to business scatter. Minkoff testified to the advantages of mixed-use zoning.

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