Permits Approved for Coral Bay Marina

coral bay harbor

I am stunned. I am absolutely stunned.

On Wednesday afternoon during a meeting at the Legislature Building, the Coastal Zone Management committee approved permits for the proposed Coral Bay marina. This decision, in my opinion, has the ability to change Coral Bay forever.

I believe that Coral Bay would benefit from a marina, but not this marina. The sheer size and scope of Summer’s End Group’s proposal is simply mind-boggling.

So what happens next? The decision can and likely will be appealed. Beyond that comes the federal permitting process – the Army Corps of Engineers being a major factor in the proposed marina’s future. According to Nancy J. Sticht, who works in the Army Corps’ communications office, the Summer’s End Group submitted a permit to the Corps earlier this year. But because the project included federal funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Corps was unable to process the application until that agency provides their required environmental evaluation. Once the Corps receives a completed application, a Public Notice will be issued and the public will be invited to speak out in favor or against the project.

Looking back, I should have known this project was a shoo-in when I saw members of the Summer’s End Group engaging in what appeared to be a celebratory manner at Joe’s Rum Hut after the August 20th meeting in which well over one hundred people came out to voice their disapproval against the project.

We reached out to Rick Barksdale of the Summer’s End Group for a comment. He did not respond to our message.


28 thoughts on “Permits Approved for Coral Bay Marina”

  1. At some point this all ends up in court. Coral Bay/St John is going to need all the help it can get. We have to all think through the “three hand shakes rule” and find the people that can help us. Basically what is happening here is a very small group of outsiders, aided by native born insiders, is attempting to destroy the community and habitat of St John that is not part of the National Park. They are doing this despite the incredible, overwhelming outcry of the residents. This must be stopped. Rarely does something this important come along that we all can rally towards. The St John community is second to none in punching above its weight class in fighting and supporting the right causes. This is our legacy moment.

    Never forget, day to day, these people are trying/intending to destroy the reason you are here in the first place or visit regularly. Make no mistake, they don’t like you. They do not respect your opinion. The environment does not matter.

    • My brother and i bought a 2 acre parcel back in the 90’s. Unfortunately i have since gotten divorced so my plans for building on it are gone. I would probably benefit from this ridiculous horrific undertaking but i would rather get less $ for my acre than have this happen. My brother has since built on his acre on Bordeaux Mt and is planning on moving there next year for good. This whole thing is just a SHAME! How dare them. What about the other two mistakes in Cruz Bay that these developers just left. I have a feeling the same thing will happen in Coral Bay. Who the hell wants this ridiculous thing. A small marina, maybe but how many people want to shop in the ridiculously high priced shops they want to put in there. Look what they did in St Thomas in Yacht Haven. No one shops there. It’s like a ghost town. Let me know if there is anything we can do. If you need $ for lawyers, please let me know if there will be something to contribute to for a lawsuit. I really can’t believe it. It is disgusting. How can they do this????!!!!

  2. just curious. What will be the financial gain for the Island. Is it in a financially stable enough situation that it does not need more commerce? Is the opposition mostly those who generally oppose any commercializations or is it truly an environmental threat?

    • A better set of questions is:

      When does personal financial gain outweigh adverse environmental impact?

      a. all the time b. some of the time c. never

      If your answer to the question is b., please explain and give one example

      When is personal gain complimentary to public gain?

      a. all the time b. some of the time c. never

      If your answer to the question is b., please explain and provide one example

      Finally, if you answered both questions “b”, how does this project fit the explanations you gave?

    • The opposition are not opposed to a marina in Coral Bay Harbor. They would welcome an appropriately sized and sited marina. The developers promise huge financial gains. However, they did not take into consideration the loss of tourism dollars that will be lost. The hills over Coral Bay are full of vacation villas. These villas will not get rented during the construction phase of many years. These villas will no longer be able to employ managers, gardeners, plumbers, pool guys, housecleaning, etc etc. Many tourists who come to Coral Bay do so because it is quiet and laid back have indicated that they will be looking for somewhere else. The VI Tourism Bureau sells St John as back to nature. This marina will change that image and marketing plan. If you are interested go to the website for Coral Bay Community Council.

  3. I knew this was coming. I could smell it in the air. Government makes my skin crawl. Is there anyone honest in public office anymore?

  4. Oh my I am so hopping that this can be stopped. A little bigger Marina is understandable, but to turn St. John into a private Cruse Ship Island sickens me. I really want to retire in a small home on St. John.

  5. This isn’t surprising, but as I said before on an earlier thread, this project will not happen. The US Army Corps cannot approve this project given the scale and potential impact to the protected reefs in the national park. Staghorn and elkhorn coral are listed as “Threatened” on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and all sea turtles, including the hawksbill and green, commonly seen on St. John, are listed as endangered on the ESA. The Environmental Impact Statement process will take years to complete and evaluate, and in the end, it will be denied.

    By all means, fight the local Coastal Zone Management committee, who should never have been involved in the first place given their conflicts of interest, and rail against the local government corruption. But, have some faith that national environmental policy will triumph in the end.

  6. A few questions.

    How is this going to change what is there now?

    Eminent domain? Will this be an issue?

    Will the road be widened? Could a new road be built?

    How will that affect certain businesses? Crabby? Aqua Bistro? Skinny Legs? Pickles?

    Will these businesses be priced out of the market in the future due to higher rents?

    Will there be an entire reconstruction of the area?

    Very few people thought that the marina would actually happen. Is it possible that any of the above could happen? As of right now, it would not surprise me.

  7. You will not see names like Fendi, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton or any other high end retail store you see at any of the other marinas in the world. They cannot exist in a place like Coral Bay.
    Right now, The very high end marina, built in St. Thomas, “American Yacht Haven”, is going through their third round of money. Needless to say, it’s not doing very well.
    How many “Louis” bags can you buy at $1800 a clip and that’s for the low end bag??? Close your eyes…can you see someone buying a very pricey bag in Coral Bay?
    Can you envision a couple spending a few hundred dollars on a simple meal with wine, as “regulars”?
    I say this, because of the “need” of high end stores and restaurants, to complete a very high end marina.
    Will the Ritz or some other high end hotel come to Coral Bay and cover the waterfront?
    Just the process, if there is one, will kill any and all business in Coral Bay, while this “project” is built…
    Imagine the traffic, trucks, barges, in and out of the water…for years to come!
    I’m getting a headache!!!

  8. Look, it’s way to early for everyone to get too excited. The way these things usually work is the group with the “idea” gets all the necessary permits, license, etc. from the proper government agencies (for which they have only started by the way). They will apply for government grants and tax breaks.They will have a design company draw up a snazzy concept plan with great photos of what the finished product will look like. At this point the “idea group” will have very little of their own money in the project.—Then they will go out and try to raise funds for the development. From what I can see, this would be a very risky project for someone expecting a decent return on their investment. I still don’t see how this can turn a profit within a reasonable length of time in Coral Bay.

  9. I did not come to STJ until 1997. I wasn’t there in the “good old days.” We are now looking at Coral Bay with our 2014 eyes, our 2014 point of view and our 2014 expectations. Let’s think about what we might have thought in, let’s say, 1980 if we were standing on the ferry dock in Cruz Bay. If I pointed to the left and said we’re going to build a shopping center with all of these stores and restaurants down there and call it Mongoose Junction; and, pointed to the right and said we’re going to build another two-story shopping and eating area over here and call it Warfside Village. Lots of people will come to STJ and they will shop, eat and drink here all day and all night long. You would have probably told me that can’t happen. The merchants will not come, the tourists will not come and it will ruin Cruz Bay forever. Well, perhaps it did. Perhaps we have adjusted our point of view and expectations. Perhaps we never knew what 1980 Cruz Bay was.

    I am opposed to this project! Make no mistake about that. I am only pointing out how places and people change over the short and long term. If this gets built (I hope it doesn’t), and if it is successful, will anyone know what today’s Coral Bay was 30 years after it opens? Will we be looking at “old” photos pointing out that Skinny Legs was over there? Will we have to tell our grandchildren that this was shot from about the point where the XYZ Restaurant is now, long before there was a marina? Let’s not find out!

    It is not too early to fight this. The “Idea Guys” already have the plans and photos in the glossy package. They have already lined up some political support in the public sector. Everyone who has a position on this matter has to speak up. They have to be at the table negotiating the outcome. It has been my experience that if you are not at the table, you are probably on the menu!

  10. I am also stunned but not surprised, given the history of the few “insiders” that allow this type of thing to happen time after time again-with no respect for the environment nor the community’s disapproval of such project. As a non-native, but frequent visitor to St John, I am sad to hear about this approval. But, it is still not over yet! Maybe the Corps will step up to the plate and deny any permits….One can hope

  11. The fact that there is no gas station or gas dock in Coral Bay is inexcusable. I dont like the marina plan either, but no one else seems to be stepping up with any plans for those basic needs, cant blame the group for wanting to make a buck. Got a better plan, then present it and fund it and make it happen. You could probably charge an extra dollar per gallon of gas in Coral Bay and it would still be cheaper than burning half the morning to drive to EC for gas and its especially fun when they are closed for refilling their tanks. Not to mention the time and gas it must take to go all the way around the island to buy gas from Caneels gas dock.

    • Only one question: All of you that are crying in opposition of this project, How many of you are born Virgin Islands and raised here, went to school here and grew up here? I’m willing to bet NONE.

      • Sorry “No Name,” concern is not a birth right. One does not have to be born and raised in a particular place to be concerned about what is happening in that location. This is a global economy now. What happens in one part of the world affects other parts of the world.

        You can dismiss us visitors if you like, but even you have to know that if we visitors stop coming to STJ, many of the benefits you get while living there will also stop coming. The point of all of this is simple. If you destroy the features of your island that make us want to come there and patronize the many wonderful businesses on STJ, those wonderful businesses will not survive. Take a look at the many islands that do not have this tourist appeal and think about their lifestyle. That is your future if you drive off the people who were not “…born Virgin Islands and raised here.”

        The island, like the marine life and reefs around you, is a fragile ecosystem. It doesn’t take much to change the equilibrium and have an adverse affect.

        By the way, I find it disturbing that you do not have the conviction of your beliefs to identify yourself. In my mind, this alone disqualifies you from further participation in this debate. You’ve already garnered more attention than you deserve.

      • What’s your point? Only life long locals have rights? If so, when you or your kin come stateside, do you expect to have any any rights or should you be treated as a trespasser?

      • That is wrong…I personally know many born here that Are vehemently against this project…..local People….Speak Up!!!

      • Hi “no name” , I’m no name too..!! I’m also from st john and grew up here , so be careful with your sweeping generalizations about who is who, cause yuh mite fine out yuh rawng in yuh rass…!! Nex yuh guhng be axin people dem wah color deh is, sounding like ignahrant adelbrain bryan frum st crixe..mine yuh manners jung flow………dis could be ralph p. from deh uddah side. you doan know…..

  12. Having lived near Coral Bay for a few months, my husband and I are very distressed that the authentic nature of this beautiful bay could be transformed to just another commercial and soul-less tourist stop. When will the greed and exploitation give way to wisdom and understanding that less is almost always more.

  13. This is so sad to read. I hope hope hope you can thwart their plans to ruin what we love best about the Coral Bay side of the island. I wish I had a million dollars NOT to buy an over-the-top villa but to contribute to the defense fund.

    Our prayers are with you.

  14. Looks like they are still trying to move forward with this idea. I am a two time visitor interested in moving to St. John. I hope to see the community voluntarily come together to fund their own marina or dock of some kind, just like how they built the other dock, and how they put in their own mooring balls. Government stealing your money to build something that will just continue to cost you is ridiculous. If the market wants this, then it will naturally occur. http://www.legvi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=179&Itemid=210

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