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HomeNewsArchivesBRYAN, SEA WANT PUBLIC HEARINGS ON BEAL LAND SWAP

BRYAN, SEA WANT PUBLIC HEARINGS ON BEAL LAND SWAP

Sen. Adelbert Bryan is calling for the full Senate to meet on St. Croix to hear the public’s views on the proposed land swap between the V.I. government and Beal Aerospace.
In a letter to Senate President Vargrave Richards on Thursday, Bryan said he disagreed with the decision to assign the issue to the Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection, which has set a meeting for July 23.
In his letter to Richards, Bryan said the exchange agreement between the government and Beal requires the entire Legislature to review the proposal. Assigning the issue to the committee, he said, keeps non-members from having "true and full participation in the process" and promises a "long and drawn-out process of having the proposal moved from committee to committee…"
The land swap involves 14.5 acres at Camp Arawak, deeded to the V.I. government in 1974 to be used as park land, for approximately 15 acres of land Beal owns in Estates Whim and La Grange. Beal needs the Camp Arawak land for a portion of a parking lot that will accompany its world headquarters and rocket assembly plant near Great Pond Bay on St. Croix’s sparsely populated southeast shore.
Bryan added that since the agreement refers to an exchange of land and is not a permit, it has been wrongly assigned to the committee, chaired by Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg.
"It should be made emphatically clear," wrote Bryan, "this issue is not a ‘permit’ and should not be swept to the limited powers of authority of the Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection."
Donastorg’s meeting has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 23. Unlike a daytime meeting, Bryan said assigning the issue to a meeting of the entire Senate on St. Croix in the evening would allow more residents to attend.
"It is important to provide a forum for addressing the numerous concerns raised by St. Croix residents, both pro and con, during a feasible time," Bryan said.
Meanwhile, the scheduling of Donastorg’s hearing and Bryan’s request may put a damper on rumors that the land swap proposal will be special ordered to the Senate agenda when members meet next week.
Robin Freeman, the out-going executive director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, said the proposal should go through a public hearing process. She added that within the land exchange agreement is language that would allow Beal to gain needed rezoning for it to build its rocket assembly plant.
The land is currently zoned for waterfront hotel development. Beal must have some 270 acres rezoned for industrial use.
"There should be a public input on it," Freeman said. "That bill has the zoning variance in it. (special ordering) it would totally circumvent the public process."
Freeman said the land Beal is offering in the swap "doesn’t come close to the land at Camp Arawak."
"People really need to research this," she said. "Including the senators. This is their land. People should have the opportunity to speak to the bill itself."
Gov. Charles Turnbull submitted the land exchange proposal to the Senate on July 1. Questions have been raised about the legality of the land swap by Sen. Lorraine Berry and V.I. Attorney General Iver Stridiron.

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Sen. Adelbert Bryan is calling for the full Senate to meet on St. Croix to hear the public’s views on the proposed land swap between the V.I. government and Beal Aerospace.
In a letter to Senate President Vargrave Richards on Thursday, Bryan said he disagreed with the decision to assign the issue to the Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection, which has set a meeting for July 23.
In his letter to Richards, Bryan said the exchange agreement between the government and Beal requires the entire Legislature to review the proposal. Assigning the issue to the committee, he said, keeps non-members from having "true and full participation in the process" and promises a "long and drawn-out process of having the proposal moved from committee to committee..."
The land swap involves 14.5 acres at Camp Arawak, deeded to the V.I. government in 1974 to be used as park land, for approximately 15 acres of land Beal owns in Estates Whim and La Grange. Beal needs the Camp Arawak land for a portion of a parking lot that will accompany its world headquarters and rocket assembly plant near Great Pond Bay on St. Croix’s sparsely populated southeast shore.
Bryan added that since the agreement refers to an exchange of land and is not a permit, it has been wrongly assigned to the committee, chaired by Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg.
"It should be made emphatically clear," wrote Bryan, "this issue is not a ‘permit’ and should not be swept to the limited powers of authority of the Committee on Planning and Environmental Protection."
Donastorg’s meeting has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on July 23. Unlike a daytime meeting, Bryan said assigning the issue to a meeting of the entire Senate on St. Croix in the evening would allow more residents to attend.
"It is important to provide a forum for addressing the numerous concerns raised by St. Croix residents, both pro and con, during a feasible time," Bryan said.
Meanwhile, the scheduling of Donastorg’s hearing and Bryan’s request may put a damper on rumors that the land swap proposal will be special ordered to the Senate agenda when members meet next week.
Robin Freeman, the out-going executive director of the St. Croix Environmental Association, said the proposal should go through a public hearing process. She added that within the land exchange agreement is language that would allow Beal to gain needed rezoning for it to build its rocket assembly plant.
The land is currently zoned for waterfront hotel development. Beal must have some 270 acres rezoned for industrial use.
"There should be a public input on it," Freeman said. "That bill has the zoning variance in it. (special ordering) it would totally circumvent the public process."
Freeman said the land Beal is offering in the swap "doesn’t come close to the land at Camp Arawak."
"People really need to research this," she said. "Including the senators. This is their land. People should have the opportunity to speak to the bill itself."
Gov. Charles Turnbull submitted the land exchange proposal to the Senate on July 1. Questions have been raised about the legality of the land swap by Sen. Lorraine Berry and V.I. Attorney General Iver Stridiron.