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HomeNewsArchivesGOVERNOR SIGNS BOTANY BAY REZONING BILL

GOVERNOR SIGNS BOTANY BAY REZONING BILL

Dec. 29, 2001 – Saying his decision was based on the recent economic downturn, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed a bill into law late Friday night that rezones some 67 acres of property at Estate Botany Bay on St. Thomas's undeveloped western tip from R-1 (residential low density) to R-3 (residential medium density).
In requesting the zoning, the owners said they plan to develop a hotel, condominium and time-share units, and about 40 homesites on a total of about 366 acres there.
The Planning and Natural Resources Department had recommended at a Senate Committee of the Whole meeting on Dec. 6 that the government grant a variance – an exception – to the existing zoning, rather than rezone the property. However, on Dec. 11, the Senate voted, 8-7, in favor of rezoning and sent the bill to the governor.
A variance would have prevented the developers from drastically changing their plans or selling the property with the new zoning to other developers; rezoning carries no such restrictions.
Proponents of the development say local residents will finally have access to the pristine property, previously owned by the Corning family, which has been inaccessible to the public for years. Turnbull and other supporters of the development, such as Sen. Celestino A. White Sr., have said the development will be good for Virgin Islanders.
"I am … of the opinion," Turnbull wrote to Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, "that all in all the development of Botany Bay is in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands."
White has said the rezoning will protect the environment and that taxi drivers and farmers in the area favor it.
Opponents have expressed grave concerns about the impact development may have on the delicate ecological balance and on archeological sites on the property.
However, the governor expressed faith that Botany Bay Partners LLP, which plans to build the $165 million resort, will protect the environment in the process. "The developers have committed to a project which will emphasize the ecological strengths of the areas as an intrical [sic] part of its appeal to residents," Turnbull wrote in his letter to Liburd.
The governor quoted officials of Botany Bay Partners as saying they would "commit that the density of the approximate 67 acres covered by the rezoning will be limited to 205 units and that the height of the units will not exceed two stories above cistern and maintenance levels" and that "the density on the approximate 366 acres known as Estate Botany Bay … will be limited to 301 units and that the heights of all units will not exceed two stories above cistern and maintenance levels."
Botany Bay Partners will need permits from the Coastal Zone Management Commission before it can move forward with its plans. That process will also involve public hearings.

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Dec. 29, 2001 - Saying his decision was based on the recent economic downturn, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull signed a bill into law late Friday night that rezones some 67 acres of property at Estate Botany Bay on St. Thomas's undeveloped western tip from R-1 (residential low density) to R-3 (residential medium density).
In requesting the zoning, the owners said they plan to develop a hotel, condominium and time-share units, and about 40 homesites on a total of about 366 acres there.
The Planning and Natural Resources Department had recommended at a Senate Committee of the Whole meeting on Dec. 6 that the government grant a variance – an exception – to the existing zoning, rather than rezone the property. However, on Dec. 11, the Senate voted, 8-7, in favor of rezoning and sent the bill to the governor.
A variance would have prevented the developers from drastically changing their plans or selling the property with the new zoning to other developers; rezoning carries no such restrictions.
Proponents of the development say local residents will finally have access to the pristine property, previously owned by the Corning family, which has been inaccessible to the public for years. Turnbull and other supporters of the development, such as Sen. Celestino A. White Sr., have said the development will be good for Virgin Islanders.
"I am ... of the opinion," Turnbull wrote to Senate President Almando "Rocky" Liburd, "that all in all the development of Botany Bay is in the best interest of the people of the Virgin Islands."
White has said the rezoning will protect the environment and that taxi drivers and farmers in the area favor it.
Opponents have expressed grave concerns about the impact development may have on the delicate ecological balance and on archeological sites on the property.
However, the governor expressed faith that Botany Bay Partners LLP, which plans to build the $165 million resort, will protect the environment in the process. "The developers have committed to a project which will emphasize the ecological strengths of the areas as an intrical [sic] part of its appeal to residents," Turnbull wrote in his letter to Liburd.
The governor quoted officials of Botany Bay Partners as saying they would "commit that the density of the approximate 67 acres covered by the rezoning will be limited to 205 units and that the height of the units will not exceed two stories above cistern and maintenance levels" and that "the density on the approximate 366 acres known as Estate Botany Bay ... will be limited to 301 units and that the heights of all units will not exceed two stories above cistern and maintenance levels."
Botany Bay Partners will need permits from the Coastal Zone Management Commission before it can move forward with its plans. That process will also involve public hearings.