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HomeNewsLocal governmentSenate Passes Beeston Hill Rezoning With Limitations

Senate Passes Beeston Hill Rezoning With Limitations

Senate President Donna Frett-Gregory presided over the Thursday marathon session where zoning matters were resolved. (Photo by V.I. Legislature)

Beeston Hill and surrounding area residents in large numbers registered opposition in recent weeks to rezoning 16 acres in their St. Croix neighborhood. Senators heard the concerns but did not kill the rezoning effort. Instead, on Thursday night they amended the request to address those concerns and passed the bill on to the governor for his signature.

The original request was to rezone property in Estate Beeston Hill from residential to business to allow a development, which would include retail space, a restaurant, condominium complexes, and parking lots.

Complaints from residents neighboring the property said the rezoning would open the quiet residential area to bars, nightclubs, and gas stations. They launched a change.org petition to protect R-1 zoning that as of Friday morning had gathered 858 signatures.

The amendment added to the bill before it passed the full Senate was presented by Sen. Alma Francis Heyliger. She said earlier in the meeting she was against the original request and did not like developers buying property zoned one way and then expecting it to be changed for them.

Several senators in previous Senate hearings stated that they could not automatically say no to developments when the territory was facing a housing crisis.

Sen. Carla Joseph voted against the bill even after the amendment. She said she could not support it after hearing from the many residents opposed to it.

Joseph, however, had an amendment of her own to a zoning request on St. Thomas. Her amendment and the request were passed. The request changed the rezoning request to a Zoning Use Variance. Instead of rezoning Parcel No. 173-A-66 Estate Anna’s Retreat, No. 1 New Quarter St. Thomas from Residential to Business, the property variance will allow a beauty salon on the property.

The property in Estate Beeston Hill changed from Residential to Business.

Attending the session Thursday were Sens. Donna Frett-Gregory, Javan James, Angel Bolques, Genevieve Whitaker, Marvin Blyden, Kurt Vialet, Janelle Sarauw, Samuel Carriόn, Novelle Francis, Alma Francis Heyliger, Kenneth Gittens, Carla Joseph, and Franklin Johnson. Dwayne DeGraff and Milton Potter were absent.

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