March 23, 2006 – The Board of Land Use Appeals Tuesday overturned an Aug. 10, 2005 decision by the St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee that imposed conditions on a Lovango Cay project.
"I'm livid. It makes you question the reason for having a CZM Committee," member Madeline Sewer said Wednesday
CZM Committee Chairman Julien Harley said Wednesday he wanted to know why the board made its decision.
Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Dean Plaskett declined to comment on the issue.
Board member Jose Penn said he abstained when a vote was taken. He declined to give his reasons.
He suggested that the Source call Darien Wheatley, who deals with Board of Land Use Appeals issues at the attorney general's office. Wheatley did not return Thursday phone calls.
The property in question is owned by the Joseph John Markus Trust.
Trust attorney Adriane Dudley said that thanks to the board's decision, builders won't have to remove cleats and a catwalk installed before the Aug. 10, 2005 hearing. They also won't have to rip out a barge ramp already installed.
Additionally, Dudley said the builder can now finish work on a reverse osmosis line and install personal watercraft/dinghy lifts.
At the Aug. 10, 2005 meeting, the St. John CZM agreed unanimously to give the trust a major permit for the barge-landing facility and 20-foot dock extension constructed at Lovango Cay. It imposed a slew of conditions, subsequently overturned by the board.
The project has had numerous difficulties.
In January 2002, a barge bringing construction materials to the island ripped through the coral near shore. This brought the trust's activities to the attention of CZM staff, which on March 15, 2002 issued a notice of violation because the trust failed to meet two conditions of its minor permit by failing to post a $1 million bond and neglecting to hire an independent monitor.
CZM, in a letter dated Feb. 5, 2003 and signed by Planning and Natural Resources Commissioner Dean Plaskett, authorized the trust to build what it termed temporary barge-landing facilities and a 20-foot enlargement to its existing 80-foot dock. It also instructed the trust to apply for a major permit.
Harley said at the time that the committee was not happy about having to approve this permit after the work was done.
Former committee member Brion Morrisette said at the Aug. 10, 2005 meeting that CZM authorized a temporary barge landing, but the trust went on to pour more than 100 yards of concrete. Morrisette said that by no stretch of the imagination could the ramp be called temporary.
Markus, asked after the Aug. 10, 2005 meeting if the conditions would hamper his project, called the dozen conditions imposed by the committee "minor little things."
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