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WAREHOUSE STAY ORDER WITHDRAWN AFTER 2 DAYS

Dec. 12, 2002 – Construction resumed Wednesday on the Merchant's Market warehouse in Smith Bay after a stop-work order that had been issued to the company on Monday was canceled.
The order came as a result of an appeal brought by Smith Bay resident Horace Lewis before the Board of Land Use Appeals. Lewis, who lives near the warehouse site, claims that the structure is being built illegally and is too close to residents' homes.
Lewis and several other Smith Bay area residents have been protesting the building of the warehouse since the Legislature approved a zoning variance for the property in 2000. The group gained a small, short-lived victory when the stop-work order was issued.
"It was unfortunate," Luis Elias, Merchant's Market general manager, said of the board's initial decision to issue the stop-work order. "But I guess everybody gets their chance to get their point made."
Elias had said on Tuesday that the stay order was issued in error because of a misinterpretation of the V.I. Code. Work was stopped for two days on the project, which is estimated to cost more than $1 million.
Lewis said on Thursday that the board reversed its decision because his first appeal was directed against the warehouse building permit. The V.I. Code allows for a stop-work order to be issued on grounds of a zoning appeal. Lewis said he amended the appeal on Wednesday afternoon to include the zoning matter.
"They should have stopped the job again," he said, adding that he understands Merchant's Market has spent a lot of money on the project, "but there's a law to follow here."
The board is supposed to hear Lewis's appeal within 30 days.

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Dec. 12, 2002 - Construction resumed Wednesday on the Merchant's Market warehouse in Smith Bay after a stop-work order that had been issued to the company on Monday was canceled.
The order came as a result of an appeal brought by Smith Bay resident Horace Lewis before the Board of Land Use Appeals. Lewis, who lives near the warehouse site, claims that the structure is being built illegally and is too close to residents' homes.
Lewis and several other Smith Bay area residents have been protesting the building of the warehouse since the Legislature approved a zoning variance for the property in 2000. The group gained a small, short-lived victory when the stop-work order was issued.
"It was unfortunate," Luis Elias, Merchant's Market general manager, said of the board's initial decision to issue the stop-work order. "But I guess everybody gets their chance to get their point made."
Elias had said on Tuesday that the stay order was issued in error because of a misinterpretation of the V.I. Code. Work was stopped for two days on the project, which is estimated to cost more than $1 million.
Lewis said on Thursday that the board reversed its decision because his first appeal was directed against the warehouse building permit. The V.I. Code allows for a stop-work order to be issued on grounds of a zoning appeal. Lewis said he amended the appeal on Wednesday afternoon to include the zoning matter.
"They should have stopped the job again," he said, adding that he understands Merchant's Market has spent a lot of money on the project, "but there's a law to follow here."
The board is supposed to hear Lewis's appeal within 30 days.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much -- and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice ... click here.