ST. CROIX–The Committee on Housing, Public Works, Waste Management and Planning, chaired by Senator Marvin A. Blyden, met Monday in the Frits E. Lawaetz Legislative Conference Room, St. Croix where two major permits were considered and updates on road projects were given by the Commissioner of Public Works, Gustav James.
Henry L. Feuerzeig with the law firm of Dudley, Topper and Feuerzeig, LLP, said that AT&T is asking the Committee to approve Permit CZX-31-16W which would constitute a renewal of Coastal Zone Permit No.CZX-28-94W.
According to Feuerzeig, CZX-28-94W was issued and approved in 1995 by the Legislature for a term of 20-years. The permit specifically authorized AT&T to drill eight (8) 5.75 inch cable conduits to a water depth of 45 feet and placement of cable on the ocean floor seaward of Plot No.4-A, 37BA of Estate Northside Quarter A, St. Croix consisting of 10.95 acres near the town of Frederiksted.
In his testimony, Jean –Pierre Oriol, the Director of Coastal Zone Management for the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) said if the AT&T Permit is approved, it would allow for the continued use of the five conduits housing communication cables seaward of Plot No. 4-A Estate Northside, St. Croix.
According to Oriol, a rental fee of $250,000 per year, with increases beginning in the 6th year of the permit’s term, has been negotiated with the permittee for the occupancy of the submerged lands covered under the permit.
It was noted to the committee that the presence of the cable landing does not result in any negative impact to the water quality, nor does it affect other oceanographic characteristic. Furthermore, the renewal of the permit will maintain public access to the shoreline.
Permit CZX-2-16W issued to Garden Beach Recreation Association allows them to replace the wooden decking on the 120-foot long, by 8-foot wide approach bridge which has a 110-foot long by 9-foot wide “T” head dock.
CZM Director Oriol said if approved, the CZX-2-16W Permit will allow for the repair and use of a 120’x8’ pier with a “T” head seaward of Plot No.21 Estate Coakley Bay, St. Croix. Furthermore, as mitigation for the project, the permittee will be removing the un-colonized debris and piles from previously existing boats lift on the dock.
A rental fee of $7,500 per year, with increases beginning in the 6th year of the permit term, has been negotiated. The term of the permit is for 20 years.
Other testifiers were Amy Dempsey, Bioimpact, Inc; Vincent Colianni, Member of Law Firm, Colianni and Colianni; and Gregory Richards, Assistant Director DPNR-CZM;
The Committee voted in favor of both permits and sent them to the Full body for further consideration.
The Commissioner of Public Works said his department is currently managing numerous road projects at various stages of completion. He added that the value of these road projects exceeds $150 million. He along with his Assistant Commissioner Roan Creque, laid out their ambitious plans; the bidding process; and pointed to those roads that are in process and dates of completion both in the districts of St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Committee members at Monday’s meeting were senators: Marvin A. Blyden, Chairman; Sammuel Sanes; Neville A. James; Jean A. Forde; Janette Millin Young; Alicia “Chucky” Hansen and Brian A. Smith.