Editor's note: This is a copy sent to the Source of another letter sent to the governor regarding the rezoning of Botany Bay.
I am requesting that the rezoning of Botany Bay from R-1 to R-3 be vetoed and [that the government] instead hold Botany Bay developers to the recommendation made by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. DPNR and Botany Bay Partners agreed to the terms of the variance.
Why is it that we have not been able to establish a working land and water use development plan? Communities are shaped by decisions made over decades. Although some of these choices are made with full knowledge of possible consequences, those made with insufficient thought and information can leave communities with unfortunate and unanticipated outcomes — some felt immediately, some delayed many years, as we very well know.
Can we continue to exploit our natural resources for the good of a handful of people instead of taking into consideration the needs of the many? This is my concern. How does this project increase the environmental sustainability of the Bordeaux community? By "sustainable," my definition is communities that are livable, equitable and affordable over the long term. Sustainable communities provide good environmental quality, social justice and safe jobs at living wages.
I am not against development but against the way we have been going around developing. All one needs to do is look around at St. Thomas and see the haphazard way we have allowed short-term economic goals to cloud the future environmental sustainability of the Virgin Islands. We continue to be convinced that low-paying jobs can be traded for less green space, more waste entering our landfill and surrounding water, more congestion, more air pollution, etc. All for the lack of planning for our collective future.
Yes, we are trying to be business friendly, but we must put the long-term needs of Virgin Islanders first. Already at least three generations will bear the brunt of the things we have promised in the now. What will Virgin Islands history record about our deeds now and their effect on our very future?
Caroline A. Browne
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