St. John Tradewinds News

Enighed Shipyard Noise Drives Away Tenants for Apartment Owner with Big Tax



At least one vessel has been undergoing repairs under Ervin Monsanto’s home since early in the year, including two in early summer.

ENIGHED — Ervin Monsanto has taken every opportunity to complain to politicians and government officials about the noise from the continued use “day and night” of the mangrove-covered shoreline of Enighed Pond directly below his Contant property as an illicit “shipyard” for major repairs to St. John car ferries which cost the St. John business owner his tenants — and a lot of sleep.

When the 2013 property tax bills for his residence, which includes an apartment, and the adjacent multi-unit apartment house soared along with those of most St. John property owners, Monsanto took the opportunity to testify before the joint Senate committee hearing in Cruz Bay on October 28 to reiterate his complaints, which VIPA officials have ignored.

“How I can get my taxes paid when I don’t have anyone living in there?” Monsanto asked the senators about the tax bill for his apartment building which increased from less than $2,000 to about $10,000. His tenants have been driven away by the illicit shipyard activity.

What was once a quiet salt pond changed for Monsanto and his Contant neighbors on the hillside above the mangroved southeast shore of the salt pond as it was opened up to the ocean to create the Enighed port — even though federal approvals for the VIPA project included the prohibition of major repair work on vessels in the facility.

Car Ferry Construction and Repair
VIPA officials had allowed the total reconstruction of one vehicle “ferry” over the course of more than a year at the port bulkhead below the Cruz Bay neighborhood on the opposite side of the port eliciting complaints from residents there. That vessel has since joined the small fleet operating between Cruz Bay and Red Hook, St. Thomas.

When a second barge owned by the same company subsequently sought to perform major repairs to its vessel, it moored in the interior of the port against the federal-protected mangroves and migrating bird sanctuary below Monsanto’s properties in early 2014 where it was soon joined in April by a barge owned by another operator.

Complaints by Monsanto about work on those vessels, which included sandblasting and chipping and grinding paint off one entire vessel, prompted VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe to tell St. John Tradewinds that any future repair work would be limited to two weeks, despite the federal prohibition. That vessel still remains out of service and moored against the mangrove habitat under Monstanto’s home and apartment building more than six months.

While many audience members and other senators were somewhat perplexed by Monsanto’s interjection of his neighborhood problems with the shipyard work into the evening’s debate on the exorbitant increases in St. John property tax bills, St. Croix Sen. Kenneth L. Gittens took an interest in Monsanto’s complaint and promised to assist the Cruz Bay business owner in ending the use of the port for major repairs.

Which may have helped Monsanto finally get a good night’s sleep.