Home News Local government FYI: Sen. Barshinger Addresses Concerns Of St. Johnians On Proposed Housing Development

FYI: Sen. Barshinger Addresses Concerns Of St. Johnians On Proposed Housing Development

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June 24, 2005 – A proposal by Atlantic Northstar Development to build 44 units on approximately 5.55 acres in the Gift Hill area on St. John has upset several residents of the island. The Office of Sen. Craig Barshinger has heard from 26 residents and landowners in St. John, all opposed to the construction of the housing developments. Atlantic Northstar recently applied to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources for the necessary permits required.
Many of the residents who wrote to Barshinger's office expressed concern that the proposed development would result in various potential environmental problems, including erosion. The Fish Bay Owners' Association also expressed concerns that development of the proposed site, which is directly above Fish Bay, could cause sediment and other runoff to fall on their houses below after heavy storms.
"It appears that this parcel has some challenges that will not make it suitable for high density development," Senator Barshinger said. "Based on the solid and fair work that DPNR has been doing recently, I am confident that they will issue permits based on sensible use of the land."
DPNR held a public hearing on St. John on June 9 and will continue to accept concerns and complaints from residents on this matter until July 9. All complaints received by Barshinger's office will be forwarded to DPNR. DPNR Commissioner Dean Plaskett informed Barshinger that his staff would conduct a site visit of the proposed development area on Friday. Ms. Majorie Emanuel, chairwoman of the Comprehensive and Coastal Zone Planning Division, also informed the office that DPNR would not approve a group permit dwelling for the area if the land is deemed to be "sensitive."
Although DPNR can approve group dwelling permits without legislative approval, all rezonings or variance requests must come before the Senate. Barshinger said he believes that "in the presence of conflict of any sort, the land should remain zoned as it is." He added, "If area residents have no problem with a variance, then it can be granted; and if there are several variances in an area, we can consider rezoning."
"People have a right to know that their land, and the land around them, will be used according to the zoning that was in place when they bought the land," Barshinger said. "Landowners should have the right to develop their land in accordance with the law."

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