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Senate Approves 10 Zoning Changes

The V.I. Legislature approved the governor’s nominees to four important Virgin Islands boards and commissions, as well as a slew of spot zoning amendments, variances and government leases during a busy legislative session Thursday on St. Thomas.

It approved the appointments of three St. Croix residents: John Clendinen to the Public Services Commission; Roberto Cintron to the V.I. Port Authority Board of Governors; and Keith O’Neale Jr. for a second five-year term on the Public Finance Authority Board. And it approved St. Thomas storeowner Prakash Daswani to the St. Thomas Historic Preservation Commission.

Daswani has been a retailer on St. Thomas for 30 years and has owned Lucky Jewelers on Dronningens Gade in Charlotte Amalie since 1992.

Raised on St. Croix, O’Neale received a bachelor’s of business administration from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He owns O’Neale’s Transport Inc. on St. Croix.

Cintron was born and raised on St. Croix and graduated the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2000. He worked in Orlando for five years as an engineering consultant and then, upon receiving his engineering license in 2005, he returned to St. Croix and started with Public Works, becoming assistant commissioner in 2006.

He resigned five years later, in January 2011, after his father’s passing, to run the family’s land development business. Cintron is president of Jay-Ro-Mar Inc. and a co-owner of New Wave Development. He has performed private engineering consulting, land development and surveying while also serving on the Board of Land Use Appeals.

A sixth-generation Cruzan, Clendinen is president and chief executive officer of Inner Circle Logistics, an Economic Development Commission tax benefit recipient in Frederiksted.
Clendinen started the company while on leave from teaching at Harvard Business School.

He was in the U.S. Marine Corps for 38 years and retired in 2009 as a lieutenant colonel. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in psychology, a military equivalent to a master’s degree in communications engineering, and then received an MBA in international finance from Harvard Graduate School of Business. Clendinen was a senior member of the faculty at Harvard Business School from 1998 to 2002.

By law, the Legislature must approve all leases of government land, and on Thursday, the Legislature approved government leases in Sub Base on St. Thomas, one to Sales and Services Inc. for $45,000 annually and one to Commercial Security Services Ltd. Inc. for $18,000 annually.

One of the 10 spot rezonings and variances the Legislature approved Thursday will allow
Sugar Estates Associates to build affordable senior housing. Sugar Estates requested to change Parcel No. 62-5 Estate Thomas, No. A New Quarter, St. Thomas, from R-1 (Residential Low Density) to R-5 (Residential-High Density). The company plans 76 one-bedroom and four two-bedroom units for two multistory buildings on 5.4 acres.

Two parcels, with one zoned R-1, residential low-density, and one R-5, residential high density, were joined. However, after a neighbor complained about traffic and density issues at an Oct. 10, 2013, DPNR hearing, the developer decided just to ask for a rezoning on the half-acre of the R-1 parcel needed for the project. The bulk of the project will be on the parcel already zoned R-5. The developers say the project will cost $20 million.

The Legislature also approved the request made by Allie-Allison Petrus, the former senator, for a rezoning from P, Public, to I, Heavy Industry, for a small lot in Subbase to install two or three 40,000- to 60,000-gallon above-ground gasoline storage tanks.

Also approved were:
– a use variance for 4.7 acres in Smith Bay so architectural firm Springline Architects can build a second professional building on the property;
– rezoning plot nos. 148 and 149-C, Estate Carlton, St. Croix, from R-3 (Residential-Medium Density) to B-3 (Business-Scattered);
– rezoning plots 293-1, 293-2 and 293-3, Estate Barren Spot, St. Croix, from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to B-2 (Business-Secondary Neighborhood);
– a use variance to Ermando Ashoka Thomas for .87 acres in Estate Mafolie. The building on the property has rental apartments on the two lower floors but the third sits adjacent to a busy road. The owner wants to rent it out as office space;
– a use variance to Parcels Nos. 15and 15B Remainder Estate Smith Bay Nos. 1, 2, and 3 East End Quarter, St. Thomas, from the requirement of the R-3 (Residential-Medium Density) Zoning, to allow for professional offices;
– a use variance for Roy Harrigan to convert existing long-term rental units at Estate Frydenhoj, along Compass Point Road, into four short-term rentals to be marketed as a guest house;
– Peter and Marie McFarlane’s request to rezone plot No. 246-L Estate Glynn, King Quarter, St. Croix, from A-2 (Agricultural Zone) to R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family);
– PC Landscaping’s request for a use variance for Plot No. 18-D Estate Plessen, Prince Quarter, St. Croix, from the requirements of the B-4 (Business-Residential Areas) zoning district, so they can build a water distribution system for the landscaping business and a small guest house;
– and the V.I. Port Authority/V.I. Finest Foods’ request to amend Official Zoning Map No. STZ-4 from P-(Public) to B-2 (Business-Secondary/Neighborhood) to convert a vacant warehouse building once used by Merchants Market.

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