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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Mandahl Bay Decision Delayed Again

Spectators packed the room Wednesday as they waited for an end to a debate spanning more than six years, but when the Board of Land Use Appeals closed their meeting, they delayed a decision on the future of Mandahl Bay for at least another 90 days.

“Issues that we’re going to be discussing today are quite confrontational,” said Winston Brathwaite, legal counsel for Coastal Zone Management. “We understand the issues at stake here.”

Meeting at the Government Employees Retirement System building, members of the board denied Brathwaite’s request for dismissal of the appeal by Mandahl Bay Holdings, the proposed developer, on grounds that MBH filed the appeal within the time limits specified. The board did, however, grant the CZM 60 days to respond to a brief from MBH, and 30 days for MBH to respond in turn. After the 90-day period, the board will review responses and take further action.

The only item addressed was the motion to dismiss the appeal on grounds that MBH did not provide the Department of Planning and Natural Resources with “a short and plain statement of the facts relied upon,” Brathwaite said. He also believed the appeal was filed incorrectly.

Brathwaite also noted MBH counsel only shared briefs with the CZM a week before the meeting, and CZM counsel did not have adequate time to prepare a defense. Appellate attorney George Dudley agreed with Brathwaite, suggesting a plan to delay the case a bit longer while briefs are prepared.

The board went into executive session to privately discuss whether or not to approve the dismissal. Daily News reporter Aldeth Lewin objected to the executive session, requesting that the board state codes under which they were entering into the session. The board laughed off Lewin’s request as they asked listeners to leave. Board members did not cite codes, to the annoyed mumbles of spectators.

Chairman of the Board John Woods agreed that the case had dragged on for quite a long time, but he stressed that the parties involved asked for several extensions.

Friends of Mandahl Bay member Sharon Hupprich noted that those who support preserving Mandahl Bay were ready for the case to end. A similar case about developing nearby Hans Lolik took place nearly 30 years ago, she said, reminding those present that the story remains the same, and there will always be another developer.

MBH originally proposed a plan to add a large-scale marina and several condominiums to Mandahl Bay. The Friends of Mandahl Bay noted that the development will seriously damage the ecosystem and take away one of the few beaches locals can still call their own.

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