Grande Bay rezoning rejected


Governor Charles Turnbull has vetoed the Grande Bay developer’s request to build an additional 14 condominiums and a restaurant.

The St. John Source reported rezoning of the parcels from Waterfront-Pleasure to Residential: Medium density was rejected because, the Governor said, there has been a "ground swell of opposition on St. John."  The rezoning, he added, would  pressure the island’s infrastructure, increase noise in the residential neighborhood, worsen the island’s parking problems, and have "unpleasant and unhealthy impacts," the Source said. Developers said they had pre-sold the 14 extra units, suggesting they will have, at the least, some unhappy customers who may have made deposits.

Real estate update

Inventory is leaping higher.  The Multiple Listing Service now has 80 residences for sale, 5 more than last week.  That’s a record, so far as I can tell. Additions include a 2-bedroom in Enighed for $1.495 million and a 3-bedroom cottage on Gifft Hill, priced at $600,000.

Land listings total 192, up 1 from last week.  Condo offerings are steady at 21.

CoconutcoastCommercial listingts are down 1, to 13. Coconut Coast Studios, a group of studio and multi-bedroom apartments, was on the list for $3.8 million, two weeks ago. 

It’s off the list now.

Winter Friends activities

The Friends of the V.I. National Park have released their schedule of seminars, workshops and activities for the winter. 

The annual series begins in January and runs through April.  Kristen Maize, the program manager, said therm are several new activities this year, including exploration of the waters off St. Thomas aboard the Atlantis submarine.  Others include  a Turtle Adventure Sail to Buck Island (Jan. 14), a tour of ruins at Susannaberg with historian David Knight, and a historical tour of Caneel Bay on its 50th anniversary, led by Chuck Pishko.  Here’s the schedule, published by the St. John Source

Cruz Bay park renovations delayed

Heavy rain during the fall has delayed renovation of the Franklin A. Powell Park in Cruz Bay, the park at the ferry dock. 
While work is completed, the park will have fence around its perimeter and be closed to the public.  Plans include installing historic-style benches, better lighting, repairs to a drainage system to prevent flooding, and new landscaping, according to Ira Wade, the deputy director of the Dept. of Public Works.  He also said curbs will be removed "to bring the entire park up to one level.  When we are finished, everyone will have a direct view of the bandstand."

VI attorney scoffs at ferry fence

An assistant attorney general for the Virgin Islands Dept. of Justice and the president of St. John Rescue, says the security fence at the Cruz Bay ferry dock is useless.  The VI Port Authority should stop paying to police it, he urged. 

In a paper prepared for a course on Homeland Security, Martin J. Alperen wrote, "The 85 degree Caribbean water is less than two feet deep … one only has to walk through the water … and climb back on the pier."  He continued, "Security Guards … do not do anything but sometimes open  and close the gate.  The guards do not search anyone or anything.  They do not look in bags, boxes or containers.  They do, however, enforce the ferry boats regulations against eating on board."

"Spending government money on The Fence is useless because criminals and terrorists will utilize one of the unlimited numbers of NOT Inspected (car barges, for instance) or illegitimate entry posts," he continued. Alperen said he sent his paper to various government authorities but has received no replies.

  Full text of Alperen’s argument against The Fence

Real estate update 11/29/05

For the first week in three, there’s no change in the number of properties listed on  the Multiple Listing Service.  It has 75 residences for sale, same number last week.  And while that may seem like a lot – it is the highest I’ve ever seen – it’s not hugely different from roughly this time last year, when there were about 68 homes on the market.  We’ll keep watching.

Logo_2DPNR approval of zoning for Grande Bay, and a lawsuit from neighbors, have renewed interest in that development.  Grande Bay’s developers have begun to build a Web site at So far it is woefully inadequate in updating contracted-buyers and the public know what’s going on. For instance, this posting.  The site has empty pages, like this on vacation rental information. It does say, "Opening Summer 2006". Give the Web site time, it’ll get better. I’m sure the units will
be beautiful … if and when.

The MLS is also showing 191 lots for sale (up from 189 last week,) 21 condos (from 19), and 14 commercial properties.