A request was made by Alpine Group USVI LLC for a use variance for property in Estate Thomas at the foothill of Paradise Point, overlooking Havensight on St. Thomas, on Monday.
“Alpine USVI would like to construct offices, two units of employee or visitor housing, and a parking structure,” said Jaugna Nielsen-Bobbit, a representative of the company.
Nielsen-Bobbit said the main use for the property will be an office. However, there also will be space for employees to reside on the property. According to the request, the variance will allow for an office, two one-bedroom apartments, a flex space, a gym, 13 parking spaces with one being designated for handicap use, a cistern and greywater cistern, an accessory building for a generator, and garage space.
Leah Houston, another member of Alpine USVI, added that approximately 10 people will comprise the total number of visitors to the property on a daily basis.
“At times our counterparts and guests will visit Alpine in St. Thomas to have meetings and do due diligence,” said Houston.
According to Nielsen-Bobbit, the property used to house a large water catchment. Constructed in 1493, it was demolished sometime between 1976 and 1982. There are still remnants of the catchment and other debris, but since its operation, the area has been limited in its usage.
“The property is currently underdeveloped and overgrown with secondary growth vegetation,” said Nielsen-Bobbit. “A portion has been hand cleared to allow for survey.”
Areas surrounding the property are labeled R-3 or R-1 undeveloped zoning areas, with the nearest residential property located 96 feet away to the northeast.
Not much opposition was expressed during the public hearing regarding the property. However, one community member, Joe Hodge, voiced his concern about runoff water that flows from the property. According to Hodge, the water moves from the Estate Thomas property in a specific direction and impacts properties beneath it. Hodge suggested that a retaining wall be installed so as to not flood properties below, more specifically, the Bella Vista Scott Hotel property.
Pat Bailey, an employee of Alpine in charge of the project, acknowledged the observation made by Hodge.
“Mr. Hodge is correct. We do get a little bit of runoff on the edge of the road. … We don’t anticipate, one, that we will have a problem, and two, that the building we will do will add any effect to the water running down the hill,” said Bailey. “The development that we are proposing will not have any negative or adverse effect.”
“I want to make sure Public Works is aware of it,” replied Hodge. “I would like for that to be considered, that we don’t make it worse. Try to ease the situation there,” he said, referencing that with the anticipated construction of the Alpine property, the runoff water concern could be alleviated.
A public comment period is in place regarding this hearing and ends on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Comments can be emailed to Territorial Planner Leia LaPlace-Matthew at email@example.com.