April 14, 2003 – Sen. Louis Hill expressed strong objections Monday to reports circulating that a Coastal Zone Management permit for rebuilding and expanding the Yacht Haven hotel complex might be brought to the Senate floor during the full session Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hill said Sen. Carlton Dowe had mentioned the possibility on a radio show earlier in the day. But Hill said the permit should go through the committee process before reaching the floor in order for senators to review the environmental assessment report of nearly 900 pages and make recommendations on all aspects of the hotel, marina and parkland development. (See "CZM approval of Yacht Haven plans announced".)
Dowe said late Monday that he had spoken with Gov. Charles W. Turnbull during the day and that the governor is anxious to get the project moving. However, he said the permit will not be brought to the floor this week. "The permit is in the applicants' hands right now," he said. "They have to sign it, and they are off-island now."
Both Dowe and Hill commended the CZM staff for doing an expeditious job.
Hill, who chairs the Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, said he would be happy to take testimony on the permit at a meeting scheduled for May 14. He said that would give senators time to review the documents and allow for adequate public notice of the hearing.
Dowe noted that with the Easter holidays followed by Carnival, government operations will be slowed down. He said a May 14 hearing is fine but "my interest is to get it moving."
Hill said that rushing the Yacht Haven permit review in its final stages could allow for possible discrepancies which could delay the project in the future. In hurrying the process, he said, "archaeological, architectural, cultural or historic resources, as well as natural resources and environmental protection, could be overlooked."
"Let us properly complete the process which has been so carefully begun and monitored by our CZM committee and avoid any unnecessary delay for this long-awaited project," Hill said.
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