If you have come to this web site, you most likely already know about the tranquility, beauty, and quiet pace of life in Coral Bay, St John. What you may not know is that over the past few years, several large commercial development projects – marinas and hotels – have been proposed for Coral Bay which could dramatically change the character of this place leading to loss of the qualities we all hold so dear.
The Save Coral Bay movement was created in order to help protect Coral Bay from environmentally damaging, large scale commercial development. At the same time, Save Coral Bay aims to promote projects that will improve conditions in Coral Bay Harbor and encourage the sort of low-impact development that will continue to grow the economy while protecting our cultural and natural resources for future generations to enjoy.
Save Coral Bay, Inc., is a Virgin Islands nonprofit corporation. We are funded by individual donations from people who love Coral Bay.
The Proposed Hotels and Marinas in Coral Bay
There are now two marina proposals for Coral Bay Harbor which have been submitted to regulatory authorities for permitting. The first proposal, submitted in 2014 by the “Summer’s End Group” is for a mega yacht marina covering 28 acres of Coral Bay, built on 960 steel pilings over prime sea turtle foraging grounds. The proposal also involves construction of luxury retail outlets and a private yacht club. The project is currently being reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers and the National Marine Fisheries Service for compliance with federal environmental laws. Until these federal agency reviews are completed the project will not be moving forward. For complete information on the mega yacht marina proposed by the Summer’s End Group, click here: The Summer’s End Group Mega Yacht Marina
The second and most recent marina proposal, by “Sirius Development, LLC”, was published in a Public Notice by the Army Corps of Engineers on December 10, 2015. This project is located on land in Coral Bay owned by the Moravian church. The project involves dredging and filling sensitive mangrove wetlands, impacts to historic resources, and many of the same environmental issues as the Summer’s End Group project. Information on this 89 room hotel and 92 slip marina project may be found by clicking here: The Sirius Resort and Marina in Coral Bay
Status of the Projects
Both the Summer’s End Group (SEG) marina and the Sirius Hotel and Marina project are currently in the United States Army Corps of Engineers permit review process. They have both received comment letters from five federal agencies objecting to the projects. The Army Corps received extensive and unprecedented public comments opposed to these projects.
The SEG project was reviewed by the St John Coastal Zone Management Committee in August 2014, and the decision of that group in October 2014 to recommend permits for the project was administratively appealed to the Board of Land Use Appeals (BLUA). The decision of the appeal board required that the two CZM permits be consolidated, which means that no further work can be done on the project until it receives Army Corps approval. The BLUA decision and the CZM decision were both appealed to the Virgin Islands Superior Court under a “Writ of Judicial Review”. These two lawsuits have not yet been heard or decided. The overall status of the Summer’s End Group project is that it has not received any of its required local or federal permits, and both sets of permits are highly unlikely to be issued anytime in the foreseeable future due to the huge number of highly significant environmental impacts stemming from the project.
In addition to the permitting status, the Summers End Group has been involved in property disputes involving three of the seven land parcels on which it intends to build the marina. Two of these parcels were sold to a third party in 2016 and are no longer part of the marina proposal. A third parcel is the subject of current litigation. These property disputes have resulted in significant changes to the upland portion of the marina plans.
The Sirius project is in very early planning stages. The applications for the resort and the marina have not been deemed complete by the Coastal Zone Management staff. The federal application to the Army Corps of Engineers has received extensive negative comments from federal agencies and from the public. We anticipate that significant changes will be required in this proposal before it can even be reviewed by the local planning agencies.
About this Web Site
The material on this web site is primarily public documents and interpretive text. Please feel free to use any content for educational or media purposes. A credit to http://SaveCoralBay.com would be appreciated. If you are aware of any errors, omissions, or suggestions for improvement please email the webmaster: firstname.lastname@example.org .
David Silverman, President, Save Coral Bay Inc., a Virgin Islands nonprofit corporation