LAWMAKERS CONSIDER ST. CROIX ZONING REQUESTS

Published: Jun 9, 2023

ST. CROIX – Members of the 35th Legislature of the Virgin Islands’ Committee of the Whole, led by Senate President Novelle E. Francis Jr. convened in a meeting at the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room. Senators cannot vote on measures in the Committee of the Whole; however, action will be taken at the next scheduled Legislative Session. Senators considered three rezoning requests on the island of St. Croix.

Lawmakers considered the following:

Bill No. 35-0079, Application No. ZAC-23-2, an act amending Official Zoning Map No. SCZ-10, for the island of St. Croix to change the zoning designation of Plot No. 71 Consolidate Estate Concordia, West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to R-3 (Residential-Medium Density). The measure was proposed by Senator Novelle E. Francis Jr.

The owner/applicant is Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands. The property consists of a Children’s Home, the Queen Louise Home for Children a Nursery/Children’s Day Care, an Early Head Start Center, an administrative building with kitchen and maintenance space, and an office trailer. The Children’s Home was constructed in the 1960’s prior to the adoption of the Zoning Code. The purpose of the rezoning would be to bring the property use as a children’s home into zoning conformity and to allow construction of a new Sister Emma Cottage for children with severe developmental issues.

There were no comments on the petition at DPNR’s public hearing held on February 21, 2023. The Department of Planning and Natural Resources recommended that the official zoning map be amended from R-2 (Residential Low Density One and Two Family) to R-3 (Residential-Medium Density).

Bill No. 35-0080, Application No. ZAC-23-3, an act amending official zoning map No. SCZ-10, for the island of St. Croix to rezone Plot No. 52-B Estate Hannah’s Rest, West End Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, from C (Commercial) to B-3 (Business Scattered). The measure was proposed by Senator Novelle E. Francis Jr.

The owner/applicant is the Church of God Seventh Day, Inc. The existing trailer was granted building permits in 2009 for church service use. An earth change permit application was submitted in 2022 for construction for a church building. It was later discovered that the C-Commercial zoning did not permit churches and is a zoning designation that was intended for light-industrial/manufactural usages to be located away from central business districts that would cater to tourists and pedestrians. The property would be used as a church and for other public uses such as a daycare and soup kitchen. The trailer would be used as a caretaker’s residence.

DPNR found that due to the multi-faceted request, the B3 zoning was more appropriate, because it would allow for the variety of uses the applicant wishes to pursue and would not be out of character with the surrounding area. There was no opposition to the proposal at DPNR’s public hearing held on February 22, 2023. The Department of Planning and Natural Resources recommended that the Official Zoning Map be amended from C- Commercial to B-3- Business Scattered.

Bill No. 35-0092, Application No. ZAC-23-1, an act amending official zoning map No. SCZ-11, for the island of St. Croix to rezone Plot No. 140-H Estate St. George, Prince Quarter, St. Croix, Virgin Islands, from R-2 (Residential-Low Density-One and Two Family) to B-3 Business Scattered. The measure was proposed by Senator Novelle E. Francis Jr.

The owner/applicant is Learie Aubert. The property is currently being used for livestock farming. The proposed use is to allow mixed use of the property, so that a single two-story building could be constructed. A business would be on the bottom floor, and a residence would be on the upper floor. The applicant wishes to make value added products and sell them from the site. Examples of the items that would be sold include baked goods, pastries, jams/stews, and confectionaries. There was no opposition to the proposed rezoning at DPNR’s public hearing on March 20, 2023. The requested B3 zoning is one that allows the mix of residential, and business proposed for the intent of the property. The zoning would allow for retail operation on the bottom floor and residential units on the top. The Department of Planning and Natural Resources stated that the request was reasonable.

Senators present at today’s Committee of the Whole meeting included Novelle E. Francis, Jr., Angel L. Bolques, Jr., Samuel Carrión, Dwayne M. Degraff, Ray Fonseca, Alma Francis Heyliger, Donna A. Frett-Gregory, Javan E. James, Sr., Franklin D. Johnson, Carla J. Joseph, and Milton E. Potter.

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