Hearing to be held on Coral Bay marina

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ST. THOMAS - Opponents and supporters of the Summer's End Yacht Club at the St. John Marina are expected to appear for a public hearing Aug. 20 on St. John.

The V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources scheduled the Coastal Zone Management Committee public hearing to answer any questions that the community has about the permit application which was submitted to DPNR in the spring.

The Summer's End Yacht Club at the St. John Marina would be located in Coral Harbor across from Island Blues, Voyages and Coco Loba, according to the application. Summer's End expects to begin work in early 2015.

The marina would have 145 slips, which would be available to nearly all boat sizes, according to Summer's End, which is led by St. John residents Chaliese Summers, Rick Barksdale and V.I. Port Authority Board Chairman Robert O'Connor Jr.

"We invite everyone who supports economic opportunity for St. John graduates, a marine environment in Coral Harbor free of untreated liquid waste, and the preservation of generational St. John families and island culture to come and have your voices heard," Barksdale said in a prepared statement Friday.

DPNR is expecting a sizeable crowd given the past attendance at meetings during previous public hearings related to the submission of plans for a similar project in the same area.

The hearing will be held from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on the second floor of the legislature building in Cruz Bay.

Participants who wish to speak can do so for three minutes, or they can submit written comments. Written submissions also can be sent before or up to seven days after the hearing to the committee.

The same site was being prepped for development of the Coral Bay Marina in 2006, though nothing ever came of the project.

The plans for Summer's End are larger in scale than those previously submitted.

"It is such a large-scope project. It imposes so much on our seascape that it's hard to imagine it being acceptable under our environmental law and our community's environmental values," said Sharon Coldren, president of the Coral Bay Community Council, Inc, on Friday.

The council posted the entirety of the application on its website at www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org.

The council also has created an email, czm@coralbaycommunitycouncil.org, at which comments about this specific project can be submitted. The council told DPNR that it will print all emails received and give them to DPNR because the department told the council it likely would be unable to print all of the emails it received regarding the project for the meeting.

The Summer's End project would take place in two phases.

Along with the construction of the docks, the first phase would enhance existing commercial business sites at Coco Loba, Shoreline Inn and Island Blues and renovate the abandoned "Voyages" restaurant building.

Improvements for the proposed marina complex would include 120 off-street parking spaces, a new 56-seat restaurant, Customs and Border Protection office, a Marina Office, Marina Engineering, Marina Security, a fish and farmers market, crew shower and locker facilities.

The phase would also include the construction of apartments to support marina management, as well as solid, hazardous and liquid waste management, stormwater management and fueling facilities.

The second phase of the development will be implemented strictly on market demand, according to the application. Proposed for this phase are four new buildings where additional retail, restaurant, office and commercial space would be located, along with six short-term rental units.

Aside from the 145 slips, a mooring field with 12 mooring balls is part of the plan. An additional 75 moorings are proposed under this application as a public-private partnership with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources to better manage resources within Coral Bay.

Access to the upland businesses by boaters will occur via a dinghy dock located at the terminus of the marina. The marina will also include a diesel and gasoline fuel dock and a wastewater pump-out system available to the boating public.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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