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Friday, August 12, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesST. THOMAS DESERVES A LONG BAY PARK

ST. THOMAS DESERVES A LONG BAY PARK

There appears to be confusion over public reaction to Malaysian Tan Kay Hock's development plans for Yacht Haven Hotel, also known as Ramada Inn.
All St. Thomas residents recognize it is high time that Yacht Haven Hotel be restored. Ever since the hurricane of 1995, most of the buildings in the Yacht Haven development have been an eyesore — and, increasingly so, as nothing whatever has been done to demolish or secure the buildings on the roadside, which are not only a disgusting sight, but in real danger of falling and injuring pedestrians on the sidewalk which it abuts, or cars on the Long Bay Road.
No one that I have heard disapproves of a renovation of the original Ramada Inn, except that its buildings must be set back at least 15 feet from the sidewalk.
Being in the coastal zone, it will necessarily be required that a proper and complete application be made to the coastal zone division of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and that the plans and details of development be reviewed by the Coastal Zone Management technical staff, and if such plans meet the requirements of law, then a public hearing be called by the Coastal Zone Management Commission to inform the public and let all interested persons have a chance to express their view about the proposed project before it proceeds to consider the project.
That stage has not as yet been met or even seems to be contemplated. No plans, no drawings, no details have yet been revealed as to the proposed Yacht Haven Malaysian development. Yet, the promoters and owners of this project are asking for approval of the development as planned by them for the sole reason advanced that it will be financially beneficial to our island — not even have the financial benefits been revealed.
However, the other aspect of Tan Kay Hock's plan — the lease from West Indian Co. Ltd. of the filled land at Lang Bay, next to Yacht Haven, for uses not yet revealed, but admittedly will bring no significant financial benefit to WICO, is the aspect that has virtually all St. Thomians up in arms.
In the first place, we strenuously object to any lease or building plans being agreed upon by any agency of the government, including the West Indian Co. Ltd. or the Public Finance Authority, without revealing in detail the plans of the developers, and their effect on the residents and our special harbor front environment.
Next, we believe firmly that this filled land now under the control of a V.1. government entity (and no longer the Danish West Indian Co. Ltd.) is subject to Virgin Islands law, and as submerged land to the specific requirement of legislative control and approval — even after any Coastal Zone Commission approval and that of the governor may have been achieved.
The filled land may now be in the name of WICO, but as submerged land, it belongs to the people of the Virgin Islands under federal law.
As we understand it, WICO is not pleased with the manner of negotiations, or rather lack of negotiation by the developer. Yet, WICO appears not to accept the fact that this filled land is not theirs to do with as they choose by agreement without public and legislative approval.
Save Long Bay Coalition, the Environmental Association of St. Thomas and the League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands all object to any commercial development of Long Bay fill, which is in a very important position in our harbor, with a magnificent view, and which has always been used only for recreational purposes.
Without question it would now be best developed as a comfortable and beautiful park for the use of residents and tourists on their way to and from the West Indian Co. docks and the town of Charlotte Amalie.
Besides, we stress that we strongly oppose any further commercial development of our harbor coastline.
WICO earns enough money to develop Long Bay fill, with the required approval of the Coastal Zone Commission, the governor, and the Legislature, into a beautiful park for the benefit of the people of the Virgin Islands for whom it holds the land in trust.
Neither WICO, any other agency of the government, nor the governor, should overlook this responsibility.

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There appears to be confusion over public reaction to Malaysian Tan Kay Hock's development plans for Yacht Haven Hotel, also known as Ramada Inn.
All St. Thomas residents recognize it is high time that Yacht Haven Hotel be restored. Ever since the hurricane of 1995, most of the buildings in the Yacht Haven development have been an eyesore -- and, increasingly so, as nothing whatever has been done to demolish or secure the buildings on the roadside, which are not only a disgusting sight, but in real danger of falling and injuring pedestrians on the sidewalk which it abuts, or cars on the Long Bay Road.
No one that I have heard disapproves of a renovation of the original Ramada Inn, except that its buildings must be set back at least 15 feet from the sidewalk.
Being in the coastal zone, it will necessarily be required that a proper and complete application be made to the coastal zone division of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and that the plans and details of development be reviewed by the Coastal Zone Management technical staff, and if such plans meet the requirements of law, then a public hearing be called by the Coastal Zone Management Commission to inform the public and let all interested persons have a chance to express their view about the proposed project before it proceeds to consider the project.
That stage has not as yet been met or even seems to be contemplated. No plans, no drawings, no details have yet been revealed as to the proposed Yacht Haven Malaysian development. Yet, the promoters and owners of this project are asking for approval of the development as planned by them for the sole reason advanced that it will be financially beneficial to our island -- not even have the financial benefits been revealed.
However, the other aspect of Tan Kay Hock's plan -- the lease from West Indian Co. Ltd. of the filled land at Lang Bay, next to Yacht Haven, for uses not yet revealed, but admittedly will bring no significant financial benefit to WICO, is the aspect that has virtually all St. Thomians up in arms.
In the first place, we strenuously object to any lease or building plans being agreed upon by any agency of the government, including the West Indian Co. Ltd. or the Public Finance Authority, without revealing in detail the plans of the developers, and their effect on the residents and our special harbor front environment.
Next, we believe firmly that this filled land now under the control of a V.1. government entity (and no longer the Danish West Indian Co. Ltd.) is subject to Virgin Islands law, and as submerged land to the specific requirement of legislative control and approval -- even after any Coastal Zone Commission approval and that of the governor may have been achieved.
The filled land may now be in the name of WICO, but as submerged land, it belongs to the people of the Virgin Islands under federal law.
As we understand it, WICO is not pleased with the manner of negotiations, or rather lack of negotiation by the developer. Yet, WICO appears not to accept the fact that this filled land is not theirs to do with as they choose by agreement without public and legislative approval.
Save Long Bay Coalition, the Environmental Association of St. Thomas and the League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands all object to any commercial development of Long Bay fill, which is in a very important position in our harbor, with a magnificent view, and which has always been used only for recreational purposes.
Without question it would now be best developed as a comfortable and beautiful park for the use of residents and tourists on their way to and from the West Indian Co. docks and the town of Charlotte Amalie.
Besides, we stress that we strongly oppose any further commercial development of our harbor coastline.
WICO earns enough money to develop Long Bay fill, with the required approval of the Coastal Zone Commission, the governor, and the Legislature, into a beautiful park for the benefit of the people of the Virgin Islands for whom it holds the land in trust.
Neither WICO, any other agency of the government, nor the governor, should overlook this responsibility.