Let’s start by saying we are not a newspaper, but this Coral Bay Marina as proposed by Summers End Group would change the face of St. John forever if it was built so we feel the need to share.
Coral Bay Marina: Summers End Groups current proposal
Summer’s End wants a CZM permit for a 145-slip marina “St. John Marina” and more in Coral Bay (total cost: 22M$)“According to the CZM application, development will occur in two phases. The marina in included in the first phase and includes the 145 slips, a mooring field with 12 mooring balls and a dinghy dock. Summer’s End proposes to join forces with the Planning and Natural Resources Department in what it terms a public-private partnership to add additional 75 moorings to those that area already in Coral Bay. The application indicates 115 boats are moored in Coral Bay. The marina will also include a diesel and gasoline fuel dock and a wastewater pump out system available to the boating public. Along with the construction of the docks, the application indicates Phase I will enhance existing commercial business sites at inland Cocoloba shopping center and on the seaward side, the Island Blues and Shoreline Inn complex. The developers also plan to renovate the abandoned Voyages restaurant building, located on the inland side. The Phase I improvements for the proposed marina complex include 120 off-street parking spaces, a new 56-seat restaurant, a U.S Customs and Border Protection office, a marina office, marina engineering, marina security, fish and farmers market, crew shower and locker facilities, and apartments to support marina management. Phase II of the development will be implemented if the demand is there, the application indicates. It includes four new buildings with additional retail, restaurant, office space, commercial space and six short-term rental units.”
Source: St. John Source
The full current proposal can be viewed here www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org by clicking on the Marina Picture.
The SE Marina Market study is here. (Note: the market study data comes from a survey conducted in 2006-2008)
Coral Bay Marina: Summers End Groups long term plans?
Here is a brief outline from the 2012 pdf document (from which SEG have in the mean time distanced themselves) but many believe this could still be illustrative of SEG’s potential long term vision or of where this could be somehow headed a few years down (potentially also with other investors or under different management).
- Fullfilment times: 6-8 years
- Total invement 100M$+
Phase I –
The Yacht Club at Summer’s End – State of the art, eco friendly marine facility specifically designed for mega yachts with limited access and enhanced security, shuttle and concierge to satisfy every need.
Phase II –
The St. John Marina – docks and upland buildings – newly constructed, full service, 100 wet slip marina featuring customs, fine dining, provisioner, sports bar, gourmet wine & cheese, fuel, laundry, etc
Le Petit Maisons – residential development for 15 luxury villa homes available to purchase and have a residence near yachts
Phase III –
Luxe Retail Outlet – renovate existing commercial complex to accommodate 6-8 premium brand outlets (USVI $1600 duty free/person & no sales tax) Boardwalk – Install compellingly lit waterfront boardwalk connecting Phases 1-3 for safe pedestrian thoroughfare and tourist destination
Luxury Yacht Charters – short term brokerage of exclusive yacht charter
Phase IV – Boutique Resort & Spa – secluded, picturesque 10 acre site across the bay from The Yacht Club & Marina
Phase V – The Great House – Retail expansion via build out of upland property across the street from existing Phase ll consisting of internet café, provisioner expansion, hardware, chandlery, etc. Exclusive yacht club – purchase existing building and renovate
Phase VI – Mixed Use Resort Development – 170+ panoramic acres available for purchase overlooking all of Summer’s End, Coral Bay and down island (last large land parcel available on St. John)
Phase VII –
The Docks at Summer’s End – marina for smaller boats and large scale charter with possible dry dockage
Condo Development – on 5 hillside acres as part of The Docks at Summer’s End
Read the full Pdf document from 2012
- While a small Marina in Coral Bay could be a good thing, these plans seem to be over dimensional and out of place and would certainly change everything the residents and visitors that come back year after year have come to love about quiet, sleepy St. John. They also exhibit a lack of understanding of what makes St. John so special. Megayachts and Luxury Brand Outlets on St. John, anyone?
- The area in which the Marina is supposed to be built houses many species that are protected or proposed to be listed under the endangered species act. For example Sea Turtles and coral (Staghorn, Elkhorn, Cactus Coral and Pillar Coral). What about prop wash, water quality, hazardous chemical spills, toxic marine anti fouling substances? What influence would they have on this very fragile ecosystem? Are there even studies and scientific methods that can truly predict the chain reaction of events that such a project can set off in the ecosystem?
- The credentials of the Summers End Group to manage this project seem questionable at best. Read further down for what research by local residents revealed about Chaliese Summers. Their Facebook Page was “managed” by deleting comments within minutes after being posted. Summer’s End Group are reporting themselves as a ‘Major Marine Developer’ and they have no verifiable record of any construction experience anywhere in the world, yet alone the Caribbean, where some things just work slightly different. Can’t help but wonder if they read “Don’t stop the carnival”….
- On average the USVI are hit by a hurricane every 8-10 years. While boats that are washed and banged against shore have some chance of being salvaged and repaired, what happens inside a Marina with all the piers etc.? Will the marina provide adequate storm/hurricane protection? The quotes below indicate this might not be the case.
- Also what about the 2 years of noise etc. construction will bring to what is currently “Eco tourism heaven”. What will the drilling noise for some 1300 poles do to whales, dolphins, sea turtles? What will happen to the villa and shop/bar owners during the construction time? 2 years of September? Where will all the workers come from and what influence will that have on an island with only 4000 inhabitants?
- What about all the constructions materials? Options for sorting, recycling and processing excess construction trash do not exist on St. John. How would the procurement/production of construction materials work? What would be the delivery methods? 40 trucks and hour driving from the material slip over to construction site? What are the pollution and noise implications of that?
- While the current proposal is not as horrific as the 2012 proposal, the question remains where this is headed longer term. What about a potential scenario where this project somehow runs out of money, leaving it uncompleted would be a natural disaster, so new investors have to be found which demand this and that and demand a mega-resort or cruise ship dock to be added to make it financially viable…..
Naturally, the proposal caused quite an outrage with locals and returning visitors to St. John.
Coral Bay Community Councils Comments on the Proposed Marina:
CBCC, as a watershed management agency and as a community organization that has hosted community vision planning sessions, has grave concerns about the appropriateness of the planned development for Coral Bay and especially the negative environmental impacts on the bay, as well as many other concerns
Public Hearing on Aug 20
Coastal Zone Management (CZM) held a Committee hearing on Summer’s End’s land and water applications at 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 20 at the Legislature. Only a small fraction of those people who wanted to attend were able to. So it technically was a public hearing, but barely adequate (due to limited space in the room and the time budgeted for questions being way too short).
Some responses from the Coastal Zone Management hearingSt. John resident Joan Wilson, who spent her career evaluating project applications, urged the CZM to take a close look at the experience of those involved with the Summer’s End group. Wilson said that while Summer’s End managing member Chaliese Summers’ bio on LinkedIn indicates she managed multimillion-dollar projects for 15 years, her research showed Summers was an interior designer. Later St. John resident Pam Gaffin said “research showed Summers had twice filed for bankruptcy under the names Chaliese Wynn and Chaliese Smith”. John resident David Silverman, who provided a lengthy analysis of the proposal to the CZM members, spoke from the perspective of one who served 10 years on the CZM Committee in New York. “This application is the most egregious example of nonconsistency with CZM goals and policies,” Silverman said.
Responses from NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- NOAA recommends further study of environmental impact before the DPNR’s CZM issues a permit
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommends that the CZM permit in its current form be rejected.
- Both agencies said a number of key issues need to be addressed before a federal permit could be issued. The issues include concerns about the impact on seagrass beds (8-16 acres will be impacted), the hurricane plan, water quality, health of nearby wetlands, mangroves and sea life
Source: Feds balk at St. John Marina Permits (Virgin Island Daily News)
Responses in Social Media / Discussions / Open Letters
“The marina developers are fond of saying that “St John is the only major Caribbean island which doesn’t have a marina” … well, Rick, I guess that is true. And we also don’t have an airport, or a cruise ship dock, or an 18-hole golf course, or a high-rise hotel. In fact, we don’t even have a traffic light. But you know what we DO have? We have a national park which protects over half our lands and waters. We have clean beaches and clear waters. We have turtles and mangroves and yes, we have a whole lot of happy people. We also have visitors who come back year after year because St John IS different. It is one of the precious few places where you can escape the crowds and slip into nature. If you want all of what we don’t have, there are islands for you – I can name a dozen or so.” – David S.
“TERRIBLE!!!!! The beauty of St John is its simplicity. This will make it like every other island in the Caribbean. I REALLY hope they stop it from happening.” – Kim K.
“My initial review of the proposed phases of the SEG application may show some evidence of incorporating sustainable strategies such as site water mitigation and storm water control efforts; however, it is my opinion that the project as a whole falls short on fulfilling a sustainably minded development. While the project may be economically profitable to a few, it most certainly is not biologically proper or socially acceptable” – Heidi A., BA Architectural Engineering & Master’s of Science in Sustainable Design
“The location of the proposed facility is in an obvious area of the bay that is unprotected from any wave action or hurricane impacts. It will be undoubtedly destroyed by the first major hurricane that hits St. John. Only a matter of time before the destruction of the facility leads to significant impacts to Endangered Species, Essential Fish Habitat, the lemon and blacktip shark nursery and the productive seagrass beds.”
“The area where the marina is proposed does not have minimum 6′ depth at low tide as required across much of the marina site. It will eventually require extensive dredging in one of the richest seagrass communities left in the VI” – Dr. Barry D., CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST
“This makes me so sad…. I was excited that a marina was in the works, but all the rest of it? OUTLET SHOPPING for crying out loud?! I know I’m fairly new to living on St. John but isn’t there shopping on St. Thomas? What makes this place so quaint and special, in my opinion, apart from the unspoiled beauty of the park and the beaches and the quirkiness is the TOTAL LACK of name brand giant retailers. So disappointed and so afraid that the soul of this piece of paradise will be slowly chipped away at by people whose priority is the almighty dollar and NOT what’s in the best interest of the island”. – Karen
“Sad and disgraceful, this “Summer’s End” development with boardwalk and upscale Mall of America. To these developers housing Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton stores is apparently more important to them than the Guy Benjamin School, which is closing. The project is heartless and as well an eyesore. If I were on island I would picket these developers. I hope they can be stopped.” – Patrica B.
“Uggh, this turns my stomach. I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting St. John once so my opinion is not worth much, but as it was both my honeymoon and my favorite place on earth, I’m always thinking to myself ‘When can I get back there?’ This is the kind of thing to crush that spirit. Good luck to those of you have a more vested interest in the future of this project.” – Jody
“Let’s look at the business of a marina. Most mega yachts dock at marinas for a couple of reasons:
1) Fuel – How will they compete with STT or even BVI prices?
2) Pick up / Drop off charter guest – Why would a yacht come to coral bay for the there guest to pass 2 marinas to and from the airport? Not to mention a ferry ride and safari taxi. When most owners are on their yachts they don’t come to marinas. They anchor out and utilize the tender. Same thing with charters” Ian S.
“I have been looking at the FEMA Flood Maps. The water where the docks would be is a zone VE EL14. This is a “Coastal Flood Zone with a Velocity Hazard (wave action)” where the flood elevation will be 14 feet above sea level. So I looked at the Flood Maps for other marinas.
Red Hook (Lat. 18 and AYH Marinas) VE 10
Yacht Haven Grande VE 7
French Town Marina St. T VE 9
Crown Bay St. T. VE 7
St. Croix Marina Christainstead VE 18
Green Cay Marina St. X AE 10
Puerto Rico, the big marina south of Fajardo, may be Palmas Del Mar? built a big breakwater a few years ago – it’s a Zone VE 5.8 inside and VE 4.3 outside.
So this would be the most exposed location of any marina around except St. Croix Marina in Christainstead.” Larry B.
“Please consider the impact on St. John’s and those who will return as well as those who want to visit (i.e. my family) the area. Losing access and allowing big business to defraud local businesses of their livelihood, you will restrict and smother the incentives of locals to continue to show St. John’s as a thriving and inviting place to live and come for vacations. We have enough 4 lane roads on the mainland to prove that now.
I join my vote with those on the island to say downsize, revise, and or revoke the current plan to add such a marina.” – Roger M.
Resources & Links on proposed Coral Bay Marina
- The full current proposal can be viewed here www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org by clicking on the Marina Picture. The full current document is 100 pages long and also resides in the library and at the DPNR office
- The SE Marina Market study is here.
- Pdf document from 2012
- NOAA’s 28 July 2014 Response For The St John Marina
- News of St. John
- Collection of Documents and Links on Coral Bay Marina by Lifeonourrock.com
- Summers End Group Facebook Page. They used to delete all comments now they set up an email address and ask all concerns to be emailed.
- Federal FWS (Fish and Wildlife Service) letter to DPNR
- St. John Source
- Document on implications of Pile Driving Noise
- DR. BARRY DEVINE, CONSERVATION BIOLOGIST on the Coral Bay Marina
- NOAA Lists 20 New Corals as Threatened Under the Endangered Species Act.
- Feds balk at St. John Marina Permits (Virgin Island Daily News)
What can you do to voice your thoughts / concerns?
Join local project discussion pages
- Coral Bay summers end discussion Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/356719657809238/ (2480+ members and counting)
Register to Vote!
- ALL residents of St. John should exercise your right to register and VOTE in the November 4th election! You will not be called to Jury Service, this is based on registering a car with BMV
- Cruz Bay elections office is open on TUE/THUR at 8:30-3:30. The phone number is 776-6535. Go register!!! You must be registered 30 days before the election, so don’t delay. You need your passport or birth certificate to register –and something that shows you live here (name/address on utility bill, drivers license, etc.) Call first! 776-6535. More info at www.vivote.gov. (If no staff are there during the posted hours when you go, please let CBCC know, and call the St. Thomas Board of Elections Office too.)
Become a CCBC Community Member
- That will ensure that environment is respected and proper planning is done. You can stop by the CBCC office across from the firestation, do it at Connections East, or on the CBCC website:www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org
Write Letters (hurry, there is an official 7 day window to comment until Aug 29th, 5PM)
- Write a letter to to CZM. Your letters should be addressed to:
CZJ -3-14L and CZJ -4-14W
Mr. Jean-Pierre Oriol, Acting Commissioner,
VI Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Coastal Zone Management Program
8100 Lindberg Bay, Ste. #61
Cyril E. King Airport Terminal Building 2nd Floor
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802
Your letters can also be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org they will collect, print and pass on!
UPDATE: for Letters sent to CZM via email they new cut-off date is Aug 28th, 2 PM
- Write a letter to Mr. Anthony Richards, St. Thomas/St. John Permits Coordinator. His phone number is 774-3320 ext. 5123. email@example.com.
- Write a letter to Paul Van Ryzin – Director FWS 703-358-1849 Paul_VanRyzin@fws.gov
and Buddy Fazio – Regional Director 505-248-7468 Buddy_Fazio@fws.gov
These are the Directors responsible for the startup grant that is funding SEG
- Write a letter to to Donna Christensen., Delegate to Congress and candidate for governor, http://donnachristensen.house.gov/
- If you are a tourist/returning visitor, on top write to USVI Tourism: Website and Facebook Page
- You can also send letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org – it might be printed!
- You can also email email@example.com
Sign the Online Petition:
- We created an online petition here.