July 30, 2003 – Concerns were raised at a meeting of the Senate Committee of the Whole on St. Croix Tuesday night about two rezoning requests — one to relocate the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center to a Castle Coakley site and the other to legitimize the operation of a concrete-supply business in Mount Pleasant that has been in operation for about two years on the basis of an erroneously issued permit.
The committee met only to take testimony on these and five other St. Croix rezoning bids; they will all be voted upon by the full Senate in a session to be announced.
Animal Welfare Center
The rezoning to accommodate a new animal shelter is being sought by David B. Carr on behalf of the R. Norman Skeoch Revocable Living Trust. The change would be from R-2 (residential – low density, one and two family) to C (commercial).
The trust is seeking approval to utilize 5.5 acres of land to build an animal shelter complex that would include a gift shop, flea market, crematorium and pet cemetery or mausoleum.
The plan triggered a NIMBY — "not in my back yard" — response from five Castle Coakley residents, according to a release from the Legislature.
Samuel Soanes said children living and playing in the neighborhood would be subject to diseases or other threats to their health. Also citing concerns about barking dogs and air and water pollution, he said he would rather see the animal care complex built near the Anguilla landfill, where such things would not pose a problem.
Dave Martin testified that during his 35 years of residence in the area he has seen it develop from a run-down section to one with valuable homes. The animal center, he said, would devaluate his property and those of his neighbors.
Paul Chakroff, center executive director, told the senators that the whole community will benefit from the facility, which would replace the present one in Clifton Hill. The crematorium will meet federal Environmental Protection Agency standards, he said, and plans for the complex include noise abatement. And, contrary to the wording of the rezoning petition summary, he said, there are no plans for a pet cemetery.
Tonge's Concrete and Building Supplies
The request for industrial rezoning is for Tonge's Concrete and Building Supplies, from B-2 (business – secondary neighborhood) to I-2 (light industry).
According to the release, Hugh Pemberton, co-owner of the company, testified that he had previously received permits from the Planning and Natural Resources Department to build and operate the concrete supply business. He said he is before the Senate now seeking rezoning for the business, which has been in operation for some two years, because the DPNR approval was given in error.
Marjorie Emmanuel, DPNR Coastal Zone Planning Division assistant director, confirmed to the senators that the approval by her office was an "oversight." The upshot, she said, is that if the Legislature does not rezone the property for light industry, the business will have to close its doors.
That would be fine with some residents of the plant area. Several testified that dust from the plant is creating havoc in their residential area, with sand and cement particles ending up on their roofs, in their homes and in their cisterns.
In response, Pemberton said that when he started the business, there was no dust problem and there were no objections from residents. He said the dust they are concerned about is from the dirt road or from various buildings under construction in the area.

Other requests for zoning changes
The Committee of the Whole approved without opposition these five other rezoning requests:
– Holy Ghost Deliverance Ministries Inc. – Plots 303A and 303 Estate Barren Spot / King's Quarter, from R-2 (residential – low density, one and two family) to R-3 (residential – medium density), to construct 14 housing units for the elderly.
– Felix Emmanuel – Plot 149 Estate Barren Spot, King's Quarter, from R-2 to B-3 (business – scattered), to expand his water-sale business.
– Angel Torres – Plots 3 and 3A Estate Hartman, East End Quarter, from A-1 (agriculture) to B-3, to operate a service station and a restaurant.
– Castle Coakley Leasing Inc. (Burton A. Edney Sr.) – Plot 4KA Estate Sion Farm, Queen's Quarter, from R-2 to B-2, to operate various commercial businesses.
– St. Croix Business Machines (Vernon F. Nicholas) – Plot 4N Estate Sion Farm, Queen's Quarter, from R-2 to B-2, to construct a building to relocate St. Croix Business Machines.
Present for the Committee of the Whole meeting were Sens. Douglas Canton Jr., Roosevelt David, Carlton Dowe, Emmett Hansen II, Norman Jn Baptiste, David Jones, Louis Hill, Luther Renee, Usie Richards and Ronald Russell. Absent were Sens. Lorraine Berry, Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg, Almando "Rocky" Liburd, Shawn-Michael Malone and Celestino White Sr.

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