Senate Committee of the Whole considers St. Croix zoning requests

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The Senate Committee of the Whole met on St. Croix on Friday to hear testimony on a number of zoning requests from applicants on that island.

Stuart Smith, Zoning Division director for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, appeared on behalf of the department.

According to Smith, DPNR staff recommended that all applicants' requests be granted.

Senators said they would look favorably upon the zoning requests as an economic boost to the St. Croix District, according to a statement issued Friday by the V.I. Legislature staff.

Zoning requests that were heard are:

- An application by Shihadeh Qattum, who asked for a rezoning of plots 148 and 149-C in Estate Carlton from R-3 (Residential-medium density) to B-3 (Business scattered.) Qattum's application said he intends to move a food van with a seating area to the rezoned plots. Relocating the food van will move it further away from noise and congested operation of a tire shop and car wash, and the two plots will offer adequate space for the food van and to develop an organized seating, according to Smith.

- An application by Peter Clifford, the owner of Yard Care LLC, doing business as PC Landscaping, for plot 18-D Estate Plessen. Clifford's application asked that the plot be rezoned from use variances to business-residential to allow the construction of a small guest house and water distribution business. The guest house would feature three units on the top floor of the existing building, and the water distribution service would take advantage of a well located on the property, with water being loaded into trucks on-site before being delivered. The current B-4 designation does not allow for water distribution or residential uses, such as a guest house, and the proposed uses will complement existing landscaping and trucking activities currently taking place on the property, according to Smith.

- An application by Barren Spot Developers LLC that Plots 293-1, 293-2 and 293-3 Estate Barren Spot be rezoned to B-2 (Business-secondary neighborhood) to develop a 150,000-square-foot single-story department store and an office complex comprising two two-story buildings. Smith said the property is situated along a major arterial road about 1.5 miles from Sunny Isle Shopping Center. The proposed site plan includes 498 parking spaces and landscaped medians. Smith also said the project would benefit from infrastructure already developed as part of the Home Depot project, including improved drainage and the signaled interchange along Melvin Evans Highway.

- An application by Peter and Marie McFarlane to rezone Plot 246-L Estate Glynn from Agricultural Zone to Residential-Low density, one- and two-family.

No votes are taken in Committee of the Whole, and it is up to individual senators to sponsor a zoning change request as a bill. Those selected to become legislative measures will be considered at the next Senate session, scheduled for April.

Senators present at Friday's zoning hearings were Shawn-Michael Malone, Diane Capehart, Clifford Graham, Myron Jackson, Terrence Nelson, Nereida Rivera-O'Reilly, Sammuel Sanes and Tregenza Roach, according to the statement issued by the Legislature staff.

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