From Virgin Islands Daily News

Thursday, April 8th 2010

The St. John Coastal Zone Management Committee approved a proposed mixed-use development in Coral Bay on Wednesday.

The project – estimated to cost about $2.9 million – would include a new home for an expanded Love City Mini-Mart, five residential units, vendor kiosks, commercial space, tennis court, basketball court, outdoor theater, toddler play area, two windmills, three freshwater wells and 70 parking spaces.

The project’s developer is Genevieve Marsh Thomas, president of G.E. Marsh Legacy Development and Holding Group Inc. The architectural designs were done by Alton Adams Jr.

The project will develop the 4.9 acres of the Marsh family’s property behind the Domino gas station in Coral Bay. The property is already zoned B-2 (business secondary neighborhood) which allows for the various uses planned for the development.

The Domino gas station, which sits directly in front of the proposed development along the road, is privately owned but the land is leased from the Marsh family. The project plans would keep the gas station where it is.

About 40 percent of the property is considered environmentally or archaeologically sensitive, but the developers plan to work around that by placing the open recreational areas on those portions of the property – avoiding the need to dig up the ground and disrupt any buried artifacts.

Vehicular access to the development would be from the existing public roadway – Route 107 – and there would be a second emergency exit on the other side of the project, which would be gated.

At the Dec. 2 hearing for the major CZM application, erosion and drainage were the main concerns raised by the committee members and the public. Many of those concerns were addressed as part of a revised application.

The area is in a flood plain, with two natural guts that direct water around the edge of the property. The project design includes six retention ponds to collect and filter stormwater.

The property has four existing wells, but the project plans to use only three of them. The wells are shallow, 8-feet deep each, and have a diameter of about 8 feet. A small reverse osmosis plant is included in the design to make the water drinkable. The clean water will be used by the development and sold in bulk. The brine discharge will be deposited into the retention ponds.

Erosion during the project’s construction will be controlled using double silt fences and by seeding the area to hold soil in place. The silt fences and brush berms will be inspected once a week.

The CZM staff recommendation report said that the developer must still have the project’s air and noise pollution control plan approved by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Environmental Protection.

CZM members Gerald Hills, Andrew Penn Sr., Madaline Sewer and Edmund Roberts voted to approve the application Wednesday.