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Thursday, August 11, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesFence and Beach Hut Raise Questions with CZM, Neighbors

Fence and Beach Hut Raise Questions with CZM, Neighbors

The erection of a fence with no trespassing signs and a tarp-roofed structure to block access to a narrow strip of beach at Hansen Bay on St. John’s east end has upset residents and visitors who use the beach regularly.

Additionally, St. John Administrator Leona Smith said, the man claims to own the beach. “Nobody owns the beach,” Smith said.

Whether he actually owns the property inland of the shoreline is unclear, said Jean-Pierre Oriol, who heads Planning and Natural Resources’ Coastal Zone Management Division. Oriol said Friday that ownership is under investigation but he identified the person who put up the fence and structure as Elroy Ashtian.

Ashtian is in hot water with CZM for developing the property without the necessary permit.

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The fence appears to violate the territory’s open shoreline act, which says “no person, firm, corporation, association or other legal entity shall create, erect, maintain or construct any obstruction, barrier or restraint of any nature whatsoever upon, across or within the shorelines of the U.S. Virgin Islands as defined in this section, which would interfere with the right of the public individually and collectively to use and enjoy any shoreline.”

The shoreline is defined as “the area along the coastlines of the U.S. Virgin Islands from the seaward line of low tide, running inland a distance of 50 feet; or to the extreme seaward boundary of natural vegetation which spreads continuously inland; or to a natural barrier; whichever is the shortest distance.”

Oriol said Friday no decision has been made on issuing a citation for developing without a permit. He said he’s waiting for a report from the task force that made a site visit Thursday.

Smith said the task force was made up of people from DPNR, the V.I. Police Department, the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, the V.I. Waste Management Authority, the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division and the Fire Service. She said the task force had several stops to make on its inspections around St. John but the east end beach was one of them.

Oriol said, as with all beaches in the Virgin Islands, the public can still access the beach from the water. The man does not have to provide access across the property. According to Terry McKoy, who lives in the area, the beach is accessible by entering through the property where the government-owned building known as the Lieutenant Governor’s House sits.

McKoy said the neighbors are upset and confused by Ashtian’s actions.

“There’s a long history of use of this spot,” he said.

It was unclear when work started on the fence.

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The erection of a fence with no trespassing signs and a tarp-roofed structure to block access to a narrow strip of beach at Hansen Bay on St. John’s east end has upset residents and visitors who use the beach regularly.

Additionally, St. John Administrator Leona Smith said, the man claims to own the beach. “Nobody owns the beach,” Smith said.

Whether he actually owns the property inland of the shoreline is unclear, said Jean-Pierre Oriol, who heads Planning and Natural Resources’ Coastal Zone Management Division. Oriol said Friday that ownership is under investigation but he identified the person who put up the fence and structure as Elroy Ashtian.

Ashtian is in hot water with CZM for developing the property without the necessary permit.

The fence appears to violate the territory’s open shoreline act, which says “no person, firm, corporation, association or other legal entity shall create, erect, maintain or construct any obstruction, barrier or restraint of any nature whatsoever upon, across or within the shorelines of the U.S. Virgin Islands as defined in this section, which would interfere with the right of the public individually and collectively to use and enjoy any shoreline.”

The shoreline is defined as “the area along the coastlines of the U.S. Virgin Islands from the seaward line of low tide, running inland a distance of 50 feet; or to the extreme seaward boundary of natural vegetation which spreads continuously inland; or to a natural barrier; whichever is the shortest distance.”

Oriol said Friday no decision has been made on issuing a citation for developing without a permit. He said he’s waiting for a report from the task force that made a site visit Thursday.

Smith said the task force was made up of people from DPNR, the V.I. Police Department, the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency, the V.I. Waste Management Authority, the Health Department’s Environmental Health Division and the Fire Service. She said the task force had several stops to make on its inspections around St. John but the east end beach was one of them.

Oriol said, as with all beaches in the Virgin Islands, the public can still access the beach from the water. The man does not have to provide access across the property. According to Terry McKoy, who lives in the area, the beach is accessible by entering through the property where the government-owned building known as the Lieutenant Governor’s House sits.

McKoy said the neighbors are upset and confused by Ashtian’s actions.

“There’s a long history of use of this spot,” he said.

It was unclear when work started on the fence.