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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, January 30, 2023
HomeNewsArchivesVeto Override Won't Pay for Beach Front Property Acquisition

Veto Override Won't Pay for Beach Front Property Acquisition

Dear Source,
The Red Hook Community Alliance (along with others)has persuaded the Legislature to override the governor's veto of the move to obtain the Vessup Bay acreage and are all ecstatic about it. Never mind that I think that Gov. Turnbull is an ineffectual leader. I think he demonstrated good sense in vetoing the proposition because the government simply doesn't have the money to purchase the land either outright or through eminent domain. It also doesn't have the money to purchase the Lindqvist Beach land which it's still trying to obtain through the process of eminent domain and for which it appropriated $2 million which is rather below the independently-assessed value of $4.2 million.
Lowenstein, the purchaser of the Vessup Bay acreage, has apparently been paying the property owners up front for a long time and the closing on the property is set for next week. The government has appropriated $3 million which is nowhere near the amount needed to purchase this land either privately or through eminent domain. The legal procedures involved in applying for eminent domain status over these properties will cost countless thousands of tax dollars which will go into the pockets of attorneys and advisors and the end result will be that the Virgin Islands Government will still not have the necessary money to pay for the properties even if the case for eminent domain is adjudged in favor of them.
Don't misunderstand me. I am all for the preservation of natural space but St. Thomas was "sold off" many, many years ago and is no longer the pristine place which it used to be. Whenever yet another parcel is sold to a potential developer (who has to go through enormous hoops in complying with Coastal Zone Management, Environmental Protection Agency permits, etc.) certain groups all rise up in righteous indignation with the rallying cry of, "Save The Beaches For Our Children,." when the majority of children here are suffering from a horrible lack of education, period.
The local government, comprised of a higher per capita local workforce than any other state or territory under the United States flag, is millions of dollars in debt because of total fiscal irresponsibility and kickbacks.
Crime runs rampant, the police force is understaffed and ill-equipped, and everything is run on a slipshod basis despite the efforts of a few good people who, as soon as they stick out their necks, are labeled as renegades.
I'm not suggesting that the Red Hook Community Alliance or its supporters take a nosedive into oblivion. I amsuggesting that this group, its supporters and other community representatives, sit down and talk with the developers of these pieces of land and work with them so that whatever planned development takes place will preserve and encourage the ecological balance of the area and fulfill the needs of the community as a whole.
Anna Clarke
St. Thomas, VI

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