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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesPOND BAY A GOOD FAITH EFFORT

POND BAY A GOOD FAITH EFFORT

Dear Source,
The Pond Bay Club was conceived as a five-star boutique hospitality resort reflecting the best of the natural wonder and tranquility that makes St. John known throughout the world. The 15-plus acre site is part of beautiful Estate Chocolate Hole. Preserving and enhancing the environmental and aesthetic values of the site is paramount to the Pond Bay Club developers, who have been recognized by watchdog groups for the quality and sensitivity of their environmental, historical and archaeological work while developing significant projects.
The Pond Bay Club design, as reflected in the revised proposal, continues this record by being well below one-half the allowable density for the W1 (Waterfront Pleasure) zoning and by incorporating cutting-edge environmental engineering to ensure the protection of Chocolate Hole Bay and Salt Pond.
The Pond Bay Club's design is consistent with positioning at the very top of the competitive Caribbean hospitality market. The Pond Bay Club will be positioned as the region's finest small resort and among the world's very best. As a newly constructed, all-suite, intimate-style facility operated in accordance with industry-leading service standards, the Pond Bay Club aspires to cultivate a discerning and loyal clientele willing to pay a premium for participating in the exceptional quality of St. John.
Thus, Pond Bay developers believe strongly that it will benefit the St. John community and economy as a whole.
Indeed, one of the most troubling aspects of the commentary about Pond Bay has been how some seem to overlook economic realities. St. John does not exist in a vacuum; it is part of the Virgin Islands, and it is much dependent on St. Thomas for services, private and governmental. All of the Virgin Islands, and all Virgin Islanders, have a vested interest in the necessity of contributing to the common good, the commonwealth. Pond Bay will make a significant, positive contribution to the commonwealth.
Much information was presented at the Pond Bay public hearing — much positive information. For example, the real property tax benefit of Pond Bay was noted as the equivalent of 222 new homes valued at $500,000 each, and this from only 62 units as originally proposed. Millions of dollars in stamp taxes, payroll taxes and, over the long term, income taxes of Pond Bay employees will benefit all of the Virgin Islands.
With so much of St. John a national park, the tourist-driven economy is the only engine to produce income and profit. Pond Bay will be very much a part of the tourism product that makes and keeps St. John unique.
The Pond Bay development team felt that our original application to CZM was consistent with, and for the most part in excess of, the level of data and support analysis submitted with similar proposals in the past.
Thus we were surprised at certain regulatory staff recommendations, since much of their desired information was expected to be included with the full minor water permit, once the terms of the major permit had been resolved. Many of the design elements for the minor permit we believed to be dependent on the final terms for the CZM major permit.
Notwithstanding this, however, we appreciate the concerns of both staff and the interested public and have not hesitated to bring a highly experienced team of environmental scientists and engineers to St. John to address these issues. We feel strongly that the revised project application we shall soon file includes many of the suggestions of the local public, the CZM staff and the CZM committee members themselves at the public hearing.
Pond Bay is a good-faith effort designed to that high environmental and engineering standard which should be applied to all projects throughout the U.S.V.I.
Everyone associated with the Pond Bay Club remains open to constructive suggestions to improve our project, which will be a significant positive element in the economy and overall life on St. John.
Bob Emmett
Managing Director, Pond Bay Club
St. John

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