How David Silverman Continued to Save Coral Bay Despite the Storms

aqua bistro viewMany of you have asked me over the past several months what the status of the marina over in Coral Bay is. It must be off the table considering the destruction that occurred over there, many of you commented. Well, back in the fall when the island’s residents were dealing with the hurricanes’ aftermath, the Summer’s End Group was busy trying to get their proposed mega marina approved. Unbelievable, right?

Well thanks to a very tenacious David Silverman, the man who launched the Save Coral Bay campaign back in 2014, their efforts have hit a roadblock. Here is exactly what happened in David’s own words as written on the Save Coral Bay Facebook page:

While we were all fully occupied recovering from Hurricane Irma, the Summer’s End Group was hard at work trying to convince the Army Corps to grant their permit for a mega yacht marina in Coral Bay. Hard to believe but true – and here are the details.

On August 24, 2017, just two weeks before Irma hit, SEG submitted over 400 pages of documents to the Corps, supposedly in response to the extensive list of major deficiencies that the Corps had identified in October 2015. Apparently at some point in 2017 SEG managed to squeeze money out of another unsuspecting “investor” and then hired a new law firm and a new marina design firm, hired several new consultants, and produced a load of new documents for the Corps hoping to expedite their federal permit.

Then Irma hit. And changed everything, or so you would think. Who in their right mind could possibly consider a marina in Coral Bay Harbor considering the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, and then two weeks later of Hurricane Maria?

Well the Summers End Group apparently is not in their right mind because they thought with everyone fully preoccupied with recovery they could move fast and get something through while nobody was watching. But they were, once again, very wrong. Save Coral Bay was watching.

Once I was able to get cell phone service, in early November, I phoned the Corps and found out about the August document submission, and learned that the Corps had responded in October and required more information from SEG. Additional information was sent by SEG to the Army Corps in December 2017, and through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we were able to obtain all of the submissions – the 29 documents and 416 pages from August and an additional 7 documents and 131 pages from December. With virtually no mail delivery, no internet and no phone service this wasn’t an easy task.

David and Susan Silverman (Image taken from David's Facebook page)

David and Susan Silverman (Image taken from David’s Facebook page)

But that wasn’t the end. In January the Corps requested, for a third time, additional information from SEG. And a final batch of documents were submitted by SEG in February and March of 2018 – another 16 documents totaling 490 pages – which we obtained through FOIA in April.

So, needless to say, we have been very busy. Reading over a thousand pages of marina justification and finding countless errors, omissions, inconsistencies and totally unsubstantiated claims has taken many hours of work. We then needed to write our comments to the Corps and point out the critical errors and omissions in this extensive set of documents. All of this has taken some time, but we are now done.

This past Friday, May 4, we sent the Army Corps our comments on the new submissions from the Summers End Group. We identified serious flaws in their alternatives analysis, in their estimates of habitat impact, in their economic analysis, in their compensatory mitigation proposals, and in their rebuttals of federal agency comments. Our federal lawyers assisted in providing commentary on the grounds for permit denial, or, if not outright denial, the requirement for a complete Environmental Impact Statement. We pointed out the total folly in constructing a large marina in Coral Bay, given the recent experience of two category five hurricanes that decimated Coral Bay and Hurricane Hole. We pointed out the fragile state of recovery in our ecosystems, the lack of public infrastructure, and all of the other pertinent lessons learned from Irma. We made a very strong case that the project proposed by SEG is not in the public interest, a conclusion that we believe the Army Corps may be leaning towards themselves.

If you are interested in any of these materials they are all on the Save Coral Bay website. The 2017 and 2018 submissions from SEG, and the Army Corps responses to these, may be found here –
http://savecoralbay.com/seg-2017-2018/

Our comments on these submissions may be found here – http://SaveCoralBay.com/USACE-Apr2018-Comments/

So now you know what the Summers End Group has been up to while we were all recovering from Irma. And now you know that Save Coral Bay has been on top of all of this and not missed a thing. I didn’t want to burden the Coral Bay community with letter writing and concerns over a marina threat while everyone had urgent personal matters to deal with post-hurricane, so with the assistance of a few of our experts and our attorneys we’ve handled all of this and gotten the message to the Corps. Coral Bay is no place for a mega yacht marina!

SAVE CORAL BAY for future generations.

Wow, Just wow.

I would like to publicly thank David Silverman and everyone who has helped with the Save Coral Bay efforts. At this point, I can’t imagine that the Army Corps would approve Summer’s End’s proposal, but only time will tell. We will update you on this as soon as we learn more.

24 comments for “How David Silverman Continued to Save Coral Bay Despite the Storms

  1. Joppa
    May 8, 2018 at 9:39 am

    Sometimes people are called hero’s or rock stars for doing the things such as David Silverman has done. Being that it’s St. John I’m going to change it up a little and say that David Silverman is a Love Star for leading this march to Save Coral Bay. Kudos to David and all who have stepped up to help.

  2. Debbie Vogel
    May 8, 2018 at 9:43 am

    I’m not at all surprised this insane project has resurfaced. With Trump in the White House and Pruitt heading the EPA, regulations and environmental impact go out the window.

    • Wayne
      May 8, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Umm this is not a trump problem, it’s a greed problem.

      • News of St. John
        News of St. John
        May 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm

        I agree. I do my best to keep this a political-free site.

  3. Jheri
    May 8, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I’m so sick of the Summer’s End group!
    Wish they’d just leave us alone… almost feels like they’re trolling for attention
    We need to get rid of them and CBI

  4. Jheri
    May 8, 2018 at 10:14 am

    How do we donate money to Save Coral Bay?

    • Debby
      May 8, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Yes. I would like to know also

    • Joppa
      May 8, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Here is their web site. You should be able to find a way to donate there. http://savecoralbay.com/

    • Joppa
      May 8, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Just go to their website. There is a ton of info there and a way to donate. Save Coral Bay .com I answered with a link but that is awaiting approval of the moderator, I’m sure you can find it with a google search too.

    • May 8, 2018 at 11:06 am

      There is a link to our Go Fund Me page on our website. Thank you!

      • Jane Kelly
        May 11, 2018 at 10:59 am

        Thank you Silverman’s for your continued work to save Coral Bay! You two are hero’s in my book! I proudly display my “Save Coral Bay” sticker on my car in Kansas!

  5. Gina
    May 8, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Thank you David Silverman for all your efforts; and thank you Jenn for keeping us up to date. I honestly thought the mega yacht marina was off the table already.

  6. Kevin Pickett
    May 8, 2018 at 11:04 am

    Thank you David for all you have done for this cause. We are behind you. Keep fighting the good fight.

  7. Linda Amme
    May 8, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Thank you to all who worked to save Coral Bay. A special place in heaven for those who do God’s work.

  8. RoseAnn
    May 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Keep up the great work David! I am headed for the go fund me page right now!

  9. Trey
    May 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Jen,

    When doing a little background search on Summers End Group, I found an interesting charity website:

    https://www.homesforstjohnians.org/about/

    Note the second person listed is our “good friend” that is behind this whole marina debacle. This is a fund that is part of the St. John Culture and Heritage Foundation. What is this organization? Me’s smells a rat (especially when I see their fund raising goal is $50 million!)

    Thoughts?

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      May 8, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Wow. That’s interesting. 1. They’re claiming to raise funds for people affected on St. John by Irma, Jose and Maria. Jose didn’t touch us. 2. Rick and Chalise left island. They have an apartment here but there never here.

  10. Jim
    May 8, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    I Honeymooned on St John 46 years ago. Drove to coral bay a few evenings to listen to a local steel drum group practice. Seen many changes to the island over the years. This would be a disastrous development in my opinion. I will support the efforts to fight this project…..

  11. Larry
    May 8, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Speaking of marina proposals——any word about the outlandish idea of building a marina in Cruz Bay? Any information regarding it’s promoter who is/was building a huge double house on the hill behind Grande Bay Resort?

    • News of St. John
      News of St. John
      May 8, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      I haven’t heard anything about that. He also owns the sand in front of Grande Bay.

  12. Capt. Morgan
    May 8, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Do hurricanes attract vultures or is it the other way around? Either way we’re in trouble.

  13. Steve M
    May 9, 2018 at 7:26 am

    Wow! I was just thinking about this recently and had a suspicion that this would be a opportune time for someone to tyry and slip something through while everyone was preoccupied with the recovery. Cheers….. and a toast to David Silverman for having the tenacity to keep an eye on this unscrupulous group!!!

  14. Jo
    May 9, 2018 at 8:10 am

    God Bless You, David Silverman. And huge thanks to NOSJ for keeping us informed. Between the mega-marina proposals & Caneel’s fiasco, Love City seems to be hanging by a thread. I miss the ‘old days’ – when we sailed into Cruz Bay harbor & didn’t see massive concrete eyesores. At least Caneel & Westin attempt to blend in with existing flora. Not so with Sirenusa & Grande Bay. I wish those monstrosities had never been built.

  15. De Ru
    May 13, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    Would it be helpful to start a letter writing campaign like what was done for the last proposal? E-mail Army Corps and other agencies?

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