Sen. Gregory Bennerson has asked that a comprehensive land and water use plan be brought forward for Senate consideration.
In a letter this week to Sen. Allie-Allison Petrus, Bennerson noted that the plan has been in limbo since 1992 and that his efforts to bring his own version of the proposal has been pre-empted because Petrus has a similar bill in the drafting stages.
"We cannot continue with developing the territory, in which every time there is a potential investor interested in the islands, there is controversy over the lack of a plan," Bennerson said.
The lack of a plan weakens the territory in the eyes of potential investors, he said.
"Through debate, we can bring forward a plan that not only satisfies Virgin Islanders but gives investors a clear understanding of what is expected from them as it pertains to development in the territory," he said.
But Petrus is not convinced that the agencies involved are prepared to take on a serious discussion about implementing a land and water use plan.
"The Planning and Natural Resources Department does not have the technical staff to interpret or address the complex issues contained in the plan," Petrus said.
The Senate also lacks adequate legal counsel to fine-tune the 280-page proposal that comprises the plan, according to Petrus.
"If we bring this to committee and public hearings, the public will be frustrated at the lack of information available on the various components of the bill," Petrus said. "These are the issues that cannot be dismissed as we prepare to offer this legislation."
Petrus said both he and Bennerson are co-sponsors of the latest proposed land and water use plan. He offered no timetable on when the bill may be formally introduced.