Home News Local news Thatch Cay Developers Plan Open House Before Public Hearing

Thatch Cay Developers Plan Open House Before Public Hearing

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March 19, 2008 — Developers seeking to create a neighborhood on Thatch Cay have decided that an open-door approach is best.
"It's been made very clear that the community wants to be dealt with in good faith and up front," said Robert deJongh, president of the deJongh Group, architects and planners for Thatch Cay LLC, planners of the development. To that end, the developers are planning an open house for the community April 12 to showcase their master plan before the public hearing scheduled for April 17.
The developers have met with a number of community groups and sought to use the input they gained to revise and improve the project plan. "We can't think of anything that we have missed," said Paul Lange, one of the principals in Thatch Cay LLC.
Lying off the north-northeast coast of St. Thomas, Thatch Cay is currently home to native birds and feral goats. The goat population has become detrimental to the health of the ecosystems of the island, grazing erosion-preventing undergrowth to the point of bare soil.
The developers plan to remove the goats and are searching for the best possible solution. They have asked Frank Boyd, an extension agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to review the various solutions.
Thatch Cay apparently had earlier human occupants. Archaeological evidence suggests the island had a maritime settlement as well as possible pre-Columbian habitation, according to Lange and deJongh. The ruins will be preserved under the proposed plan.
The 101 planned residential units are approximately 11 percent of the allowable density under the R-1 zoning of the island. These units include 49 estate lots, 24 villa lots and 28 flats, with parcels ranging from one-half acre to five acres.
The community has been planned as "an environmentally sensitive community and to protect the existing natural beauty and qualities of the island," according to marketing documents.
The palette for the structures on the island will mimic its natural colors, explained Donna deJongh, one of the planners. Use of native plant species will be maximized on the island and there are plans underway to create a program to propagate the island's native plant species.
In addition to aesthetics, use of solar energy is planned for Thatch Cay. While the developers considered wind energy as well, the high profile of the required structures did not prove feasible or friendly to the local bird population.
Water for the island will be provided using cisterns and a reverse-osmosis treatment plant, with plans for upland brine discharge. The intake will be under the docking facility.
No marina is planned, but there will be approximately 21 slips for residents' boats. In addition, Thatch Cay LLC has purchased Red Hook Marina and has plans for a fleet of vessels to serve the community.
The island presents some unique challenges to development. Although the proposed community is named the Thatch Cay Ocean and Beach Club, there is no traditional sandy beach on the island, nor is one planned. Robert deJongh explains that there will be man-made water features that will take advantage of the topography. One of these features will be a sizable salt water pool on the south side of the island. There will be two other freshwater features on the island.
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