Developer presses on with five-story condo project
A developer planning a new condo project at Rum Point has been denied permission to include a restaurant and additional apartments in the complex after more than 30 neighboring residents complained.
Permission for a five-story development called Rum Point Condos, featuring 28 homes, was first granted in 2009. The project stalled amid the economic downturn but has now been revived, and the developer wants to expand the plans.
In a ruling that appears to have pleased neither the developer nor the objectors, the Central Planning Authority upheld the original permission but turned down the application to add eight apartments and a restaurant.
Both parties have indicated they will appeal the decision.
The objectors wanted permission for the development to be revoked, claiming it was positioned too close to the ocean, based on an incorrect adjudication of the high water mark when the original plans were submitted.
Numerous letters of complaint, mostly from apartment owners in a neighboring condo complex, The Retreat, cited the noise, garbage and traffic from any restaurant among their concerns.
One objector wrote, “While I felt that the previous permission that was granted was misguided with respect to altering in a negative manner the character of the surrounding properties, this latest modification seeks to make a bad situation worse.
“In short this property will ‘stick out like a sore thumb’ and now they propose to include the whole hand.” Many residents also sought to object to the original 2009 planning permission, pointing out that it had become clear to them when work began on the development that it was too close to the ocean. The CPA cited insufficient road access as the reason for turning down the expansion to the project, but said it had no legal remit to consider revoking the original planning permission, according to minutes from the March 4 meting.
Lawyer Sammy Jackson, who represented The Retreat owners at the meeting, said they would appeal the decision. Developer Joseph Imparato also indicated he would appeal.
He still hopes to get permission for the restaurant and additional apartments, but he said the 28-unit development will go ahead, if all else fails.
He said $2.5 million had been spent on the development so far, based on the 2009 planning permission. He said The Retreat owners had not objected when the original plans were submitted.
“Now that construction has started, they are doing whatever they can to obstruct and ultimately derail the project,” he said. “Apart from being six years late, The Retreat owners fail to acknowledge that if the CPA were so minded to withdraw their 2009 approval, it would result in CPA reimbursing the developer all of the expenditures to date.
“The irony of the matter is that virtually all of the objectors are Americans who are here for a few or perhaps several weeks during the year and could care less about the consequences of their actions or the benefits that a quality development brings to the island.”