Bay Isle Associates’ Rezoning Request for Grande Bay Vetoed by Gov. Turnbull

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Work proceeds on the 48 approved Grande Bay condominiums.

The road to completion of the Grande Bay Resort has been a bumpy one for developer Bay Isle Associates, LLLP. The company has faced public outcry, a lawsuit and now it faces yet another hurdle – the company’s request to re-zone a 0.28-acre parcel from W-1 to R-4 was vetoed by Governor Charles Turnbull after being approved by the V.I. Senate.

“While this bill has gone through the legislative process and the proper hearings have been held, there has been a ground-swell of opposition to the proposed rezoning on the island of St. John,” said Gov. Turnbull.

“I have decided not to approve this bill because the development would likely increase noise pollution in the residential neighborhood, exacerbate the parking situation, and create unpleasant and unhealthy impacts on residents in the immediate surrounding area,” Gov. Turnbull wrote.

The request to rezone the 0.28-acre parcel was approved by the Senate on Thursday, November 10, just one day after four owners of one abutting property – Alexander Jadan, Natalie Jadan, Anastasia Trey and Liza Trey – filed suit against Bay Isle Associates, alleging violations in height, density and lack of lateral support.

The veto has no bearing on the lawsuit, said Liza Trey, who added she is happy with the governor’s decision.

“Finally the government is doing something that’s in the best interests of the community as a whole,” she said.

The change from W-1 to R-4 would have allowed Bay Isle Associates to build 14 condominiums, which had already been planned and sold contingent on the zone change.

Development Possibilities
Although construction manager Kelly Frye previously spoke at length regarding development possibilities under the W-1 zoning, including a dock, marina, restaurant and sundry shop, he would not comment Tuesday morning, December 6, on what plans the Grande Bay developers now have for the 0.28-acre parcel.

“I don’t know, we’re trying to figure that out,” said Frye. “I just left a very good meeting with (St. John Administrator) Julien Harley and I’m getting good advice from everybody.”

David Band of Bay Isle Associates also did not comment on possibilities for the development of the parcel.

“We’re sitting here discussing it right now – no decision has been made at this time,” Band said on Wednesday morning, December 7. “As soon as the decision is made, we’ll let people know.”

He is unhappy that the governor vetoed the rezoning request, Band added.

“I’m very disappointed with the veto,” he said. Band did not specify why he was disappointed, saying only “it’s pretty obvious.”

Before the zoning change was approved by the Senate, Frye spoke to St. John Tradewinds about the importance of getting the parcel rezoned to R-4. The construction manager stressed that, despite public perception, the R-4 zoning Bay Isle Associates was requesting is more restrictive than the parcel’s current zoning of W-1.

“If the people who had spoken against the application truly understood its implications, I think they would rather the property be zoned R-4 than W-1 because of R-4’s restrictive use such as not being able to build a dock and marina,” said Frye. “Here we are asking for a down-zoning – as a part time St. Johnian, I’d rather have one three-story and one one-and-one-half story as opposed to all the other things we are allowed under W-1.”

Zoning Allows Dock, Marina
“Under W-1 code by right we can build a dock, a marina, a restaurant, a sundry shop and so many other things,” Frye added.

The square footage allowed under W-1 is almost the same as what is allowed under R-4, the construction manager said in a previous interview with St. John Tradewinds.

“There is a misunderstanding in the public that if this rezoning application is turned down, that we won’t be able to build condos and that we will have to build a smaller building than what we are proposing to build,” Frye said. “That is absolutely not true, the public needs to know that if this application is not approved, two three-story buildings, a marina, a dock, a restaurant and a sundry shop would be built in lieu of one three-story building and one one-and-one-half story building with no dock and no marina.”

Bay Isle Associates’ plans for the 0.28-acre parcel are unclear in light of the recent veto by Gov. Turnbull, and Frye would not comment Tuesday on any possibilities.

The company’s response to the complaint filed by four St. John property owners was due Monday, December 5.

The plaintiffs had not yet received a response, according to Liza Trey.