Just Right Trucking Seeking DPNR Approval for Concrete Block Manufacturing Plant in Orange Grove
Inflationary pressure globally has impacted prices of goods across the board, and as the USVI continues efforts to rebuild its hurricane ravaged infrastructure, a new project presented to the V.I. Department of Planning and Natural Resources could result in price breaks on a key construction component, according to proponents of the project.
During a virtual public hearing on Monday, DPNR was asked to approve a use variance for two plots in Estate Orange Grove, Company Quarter on St. Croix so that Just Right Trucking LLC can expand its operations to include the manufacturing of cement blocks.
“The acreage that we are requesting the variance for is 1.79 acres currently zoned B2, and the request is for a use variant to allow for cement block manufacturing in the B2 zoning district,” Alicia Barnes, a consultant with Innovative Asset Group, Inc. stated. Ms. Barnes is also a former lawmaker, and former commissioner of D.P.N.R. during the former Gov. John P. de Jongh administration.
Ms. Barnes described Just Right Trucking LLC as “an exemplary local small business” which was established in 2003. She said the company had been a vital component in the recovery and immediate response in the aftermath of natural disasters and was “always readily available when called upon to assist.”
Just Right Trucking has approximately 15 full-time employees and expects that number to increase to 20 once cement manufacturing commences. Ms. Barnes went into detail about the cement block making process.
“The cement block manufacturing process is a low, non-polluting manufacturing operation process that would incorporate best available control technology, state of the art equipment and consists of mixing, molding, curing and cubing,” she explained, noting that the on-site conditions were suitable for the process. The shell of a 10,000-square-foot warehouse will house operations.
Regarding site enhancements, it was reported that a retention pond — used to hold and distribute rain runoff, which in turn helps prevents flooding — would be built within the next two months. Just Right Trucking sits at the bottom of a hilly landscape just south of the Orange Grove Shopping Center.
In the meantime, there are “site-specific best management practices in place to ensure any storm water resulting from storm water events would be appropriately managed with minimum to no contaminants in the storm water that actually traverses the site right now via sheet flow,” stated Ms. Barnes.
Currently, there is a retaining wall that runs the entire perimeter which keeps rainwater from flowing off the premises. Another wall, a 16-foot retaining wall will be constructed by the end of 2023 to prevent water from the nearby hill from flowing onto the premises.
Addressing the storage of raw materials, Ms. Barnes said “all materials stored on site would be stored in a manner that is in alignment with the best management practices and good house keeping practices.” Dust and noise management have also been factored in.
Overall, it was emphasized that once the manufacturing process comes on stream, it would be beneficial to the territory’s ongoing rebuilding efforts.
“I think it’s important to note as we move into the rebuild of this territory, as we are rebuilding resiliently and we recognize that there are going to be several construction projects ongoing in the territory simultaneously, that this particular need for construction material is one for which there will be significant demand,” Ms. Barnes said. “To be able to move forward with this undertaking, once this variant is approved — and we anticipate that — we will definitely be moving in a direction to assist and to be a contributing factor to the overall rebuild of this territory.”
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