Home News Local news CZM Commission Denies Requested Change for Williams & Punch Resort

CZM Commission Denies Requested Change for Williams & Punch Resort


The Coastal Zone Management Commission Monday approved two of the three changes to conditions for the proposed Williams & Punch resort development, but balked at a third, which developers said was critical, leaving the proponents considering filing with the Board of Land Use Appeals.

"I’m shocked," said Chris Elliot, board member and part owner of the proposed development, after the commission denied on a 1-2 vote the request to add 40 feet to the seaward side of the beach. "That was the critical part."

The developers were seeking changes to three of the 36 conditions imposed by the CZM when it approved the plan in January. At Monday’s meeting the developers had asked that the width, length and alignment of the entrance channel to the resort’s marina be changed slightly, and the commission OK’d both of those requests by 3-0 votes, with commissioners Charles D. Peters, Masserae Webster and Neil Simon all voting yes.

The developers’ proposed realignment of the entrance channel into the marina came at a cost – the resort will have to give up one of its four-room villas to make room for it, a cost the proponents said was outweighed by the advantages in navigability and safety.

The developers also were asking for permission to build up the beach 40 feet to the seaward side of the low-water line, but the commissioners said no.

According to Mark M. Yoshizaki, architect of the project, the key to developing a successful resort is getting a high star rating in resort guides. A key factor in those ratings is the amount of beach available, he explained.

The original application asked to restore the beach to where it was in 1960. Under Monday’s proposal, the developers asked to restore the beach to where it was in 1996, adding about 40 feet.

According to Elliott there are practical reasons for such a change. A wider swath of beach would cover expanses of beach rock and would provide more protection from storm surge, he said.

Commissioner Simon offered a motion to accept the proposed change, and Peters seconded it. But when the vote came, only Simon voted yea, with Peters joining Webster to vote no, leaving the developers staring open-mouthed as Webster brought the meeting to a close.

"The pieces don’t fit," Elliott said afterwards. "They must not have understood."

Monday Elliott said he saw no alternative but to appeal to the Board of Land Use Appeal.

Not present at the hearing, held in the conference room of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, were commissioners Tyrone V. Seales and Robert L. Merwin.


  1. CZM board members should be ashamed of themselves. The developers want to replentish the beach at William and Punch, for several reasons. Tourists and residents alike, (as well as nesting turtles) want to enjoy sand, not jagged limestone rock now found at the low water line. Beach restoration after storm erosion is a very common practice, afterall look how many millions are spent maintaining US beaches in Florida, Georgia, and others. Secondly, the developer’s engineers have analysed the sand to be dredged for the Marina and found it suitable for replentishment use. No need for off shore disposal of dredge spoils as normally permitted. Remember beach sand is naturally deposited and moved around seasonally and by storm events. So the CZM board members remarks about construction use of imported sand from Barbuda, (to be used only if needed) was a total display of inattention and ignorance on several levels. First being this is not a structural use of sand, and secondly, most concrete used in the Virgin for years has included some portion of Barbuda sand for workability. Barge loads of sand from down island are imported every year.
    This proposed resort development is extremely important to the financial health of St Croix and the Territory. That major decisions on it’s future are left to three people who appeared ill informed and unprepared is a disgrace and embarassment to our people. And shame on the other board members who think this so unimportant that they do not show up. Appointees to a committee that holds so much power on the island’s future should be mandated to appear or be replaced immediately with competent individuals who are prepared to serve the interests of the territory before any self interest.

  2. I only had to read the title of the article, and somehow I knew that the request would have something to do with the beach. It’s always about the beach, isn’t it?

    The developers wanted to restore the beach to where it was in 1960, but they’ll settle for where it was in 1996. Well, I have a suggestion. Allow Mother Nature to restore the beach to its former self.


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