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East Ender
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January 4, 2014 12:56 pm  

What is all this I see on some of the inferior websites (wink) about Sapphire stopping renting chairs and snorkel gear? There was even an allusion to no bathrooms?


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Alana33
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January 4, 2014 3:23 pm  

Here's what Hughpa posted on the Travel Forum:

"I read on trip advisor that the dive shop, budget and concierge closed as of Sunday is that true? We will be there on Saturday."

I have no idea of what's going on at Sapphire, myself.
Anyone else know?


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Alana33
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January 4, 2014 6:32 pm  

Appearently it is true about snorkel and chair rentals according to last post on Travel Forum.


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East Ender
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January 4, 2014 6:43 pm  

I am interested to find out the why of all this. Have the homeowners gotten tired of cruise ship interlopers? Or does this have to do with the on-going litigation between the common property owner and the homeowners? It sounds like the latter, as it is common property issues that are being discussed. Inquiring minds...


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East Ender
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January 5, 2014 12:11 pm  

Now I see that it is the "owner of the lobby and the dive shop", which sounds like common property to me.

Note to anyone considering purchasing a condominium: ask who owns the common property (pools, out buildings, treatment plant, roads, tennis courts, restaurant, etc.) I think many of theproblems of Sapphire have been due to this ongoing issue.


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billd
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January 8, 2014 1:03 pm  

The rentals at Dive in AND THE BATH ROOMS have been closed by the land owner, and the not the condinimum owners. Sapphire Resort has a the land, as well as the buildings, owned by one individual and the condos are individualy owned.

billd


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East Ender
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January 8, 2014 7:00 pm  

billd: I understand that. I gather that the developer is the land owner? It is too bad that the owners were not able to negotiate their common property. It is my understanding that this is the source of all the problems Sapphire has suffered the past several years. I wish the parties could agree to mediation or something.


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OldTart
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January 8, 2014 7:24 pm  

billd's summation is scanty at best but is really the best that anyone can offer. The bottom line is that the "new news" is that the dive shop has been removed and the lounge chair concession likewise. However, the condo association has apparently purchased 200+ rental lounge chairs for villa rental guests and the majority of individual condo owners have already ensured that they provide snorkel gear and beach chairs for their guests. Most already did.

The biggest blow is to the cruise ship visitors who won't now be able to arrive on a taxi tour, rent chairs, rent snorkel equipment and go out there and stand on the live coral (killing it) and then throw their garbage all over the beach and likewise trash the public bathrooms with the expectation that somebody else will clean up.

There are many sides to the story of Sapphire as it's been played out over many years and several decades. I'm there usually once a week these days and will never stop recommending it to visitors as probably one of the most perfect vacation spots in the USVI for those who are looking for a wonderful location and a well-equipped unit.

If you want on-site massages and frou-frou stuff you should look elsewhere.


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AandA2VI
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January 9, 2014 12:52 pm  

no they won't be killing the coral and leaving their crap everywhere on sapphire anymore,... Now they do it at secret harbor. It's a mess there and the little reefs that are left won't be for long.

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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East Ender
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January 9, 2014 10:44 pm  

Here is the article from the paper yesterday: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/sapphire-beach-building-boarded-up-after-new-owner-evicts-tenants-1.1613340 Curiouser and curiouser.


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BeachcomberStt
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January 11, 2014 3:02 am  

New Sapphire owner blocks beach parking

BY ALDETH LEWIN (DAILY NEWS STAFF)
Published: January 10, 2014

ST. THOMAS - The owner of the Sapphire Beach Resort erected barricades Thursday to prevent the public from parking on the resort's property, raising the question of public beach access in the territory.

The new restriction is the latest action taken by the property's new owner, Dean Morehouse of Beachside Associates.

For years, the gravel parking area to the left of the main entrance has been used by locals and visitors coming to enjoy Sapphire Beach.

According to the resort's original Coastal Zone Management permit, issued in 1985, public beach access is a general condition of the permit.

One of the special conditions states: "The permittee shall provide a clearly marked 20 foot wide pedestrian access to the shoreline from the Sapphire Resort road."

CZM Director Jean-Pierre Oriol said he would look into the matter to see whether closing the parking area violates the public beach access conditions.

"We'd have to take a look specifically at the drawings and the language contained in the permit document," Oriol said. "We have to identify what was being used as the public access."

According to the permit, the easement for public access to the beach was supposed to have been recorded at the Lt. Governor's Recorder of Deeds office.

"Being a resort, I don't think we'll find anything specific to public parking," Oriol said.

He said it appears to be a similar situation to what happened many years ago at Linqvist Beach, where the private property owners blocked the public from accessing the beach from the land. In that case, the government ultimately took the property through eminent domain and it is now Smith Bay Park, operated by the Magens Bay Authority.

"What his claim will most likely be, is that he has a right to protect his property," Oriol said.

Beachside Associates bought the mortgage on the property for about $1.8 million in 2003, according to attorney Jim Derr, who represents SBRMCOA, LLC, the condominium association at Sapphire.

The property - everything but the condo units and marina - was owned by a company called Bayside Resort.

In July 2005, Bayside Resort abandoned the property, which includes tennis courts, parking areas, and the Seagrape building that housed the public bathrooms, a restaurant, main lobby and bar.

In 2011, a foreclosure action was filed in V.I. Superior Court and at a court auction held in December, Morehouse obtained ownership of the property, Derr said.

Parts of the Seagrape building were boarded up several years ago, and the rest was shuttered Monday, and access to the taxi drop-off area was blocked.

Beachside and the condo association are locked in several legal battles over the use of the property.

Neither Morehouse or his attorney, Neil Goldman, could be reached for comment by press time.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.


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East Ender
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January 11, 2014 9:02 pm  

Again, it is too bad that the homeowners were unable to obtain their common property in all these years. You have to wonder what Dean Morehouse is up to? My bet: time share.


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Future Islander
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January 11, 2014 9:40 pm  

Three years ago the owners at the Point Pleasant Resort purchased the entire infrastructure, including the 2 restaurants, lobby area, spa, tennis courts, pools, roads, etc. This will avoid the problems being experienced at Sapphire.


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East Ender
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January 12, 2014 1:49 pm  

Good job, FI!


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IslandBoomer
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February 17, 2014 2:23 am  

Three years ago the owners at the Point Pleasant Resort purchased the entire infrastructure, including the 2 restaurants, lobby area, spa, tennis courts, pools, roads, etc. This will avoid the problems being experienced at Sapphire.

Hi, My first post to this board. 🙂

I'm pleased to read this as I'm considering purchasing at Point Pleasant, and that was one of my questions about it.

I couldn't deal with the Sapphire Beach setup. Having no say over the fate of the common property surrounding me (and my renters) is not something I'd be comfortable with.


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East Ender
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March 26, 2014 8:26 pm  

Well, the saga continues: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/sapphire-beach-resort-owner-disconnects-majority-of-condominiums-from-wastewater-treatment-plant-1.1656288

What a mess! Who is the mysterious Dean Morehouse? What is his game? The Daily News needs to get an investigative journalist out there. IMHO...

(Yes, I did see that he was forced to reconnect them, but can't link that until tomorrow.)


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ms411
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March 27, 2014 12:31 am  

If someone owed me as much as the condo association owes the owner of the waste treatment and other facilities, I'd resort to drastic measures to get paid, too. IMO, based on my very limited knowledge, the condo association has the same mentality as the VI gov't ,- they don't seem to be enforcing revenue collection, so are not able to pay their vendors.


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East Ender
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March 27, 2014 11:21 am  

ms411: What is sad is that the homeowners were never able to take control of their treatment plant, pool, beachfront restaurant space, etc. From looking at Mr. Moorehouse's website, I would surmise he wants to raze the whole thing and build his own development. That is the story I would like to hear. He has Coakley Bay on his website: http://www.mtmbuilderdeveloper.com/resort.htm, so can I expect more of the same?


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sunshinefun
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March 27, 2014 11:56 am  

When people put up web sites, they should ensure the spelling is correct.


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Alana33
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March 27, 2014 12:52 pm  

Sapphire Beach Resort owner disconnects majority of condominiums from wastewater treatment plant:
http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/sapphire-beach-resort-owner-disconnects-majority-of-condominiums-from-wastewater-treatment-plant-1.1656288

According to the arbitrator, the condo association owes Morehouse $1.1 million for years of use of the plant. The association has been paying $5,000 per month since May 2006 for usage of the facility, but that was not enough, according to the arbitration findings.

On March 14, Morehouse's attorney sent a letter to the condo association indicating that unless Morehouse received $313,754.68 - one-fifth of the $1.1 million - the plant would stop taking the condo association's sewage.

Derr objected and said that the association did not agree to such a payment plan, and that the arbitrator's final award specified that the parties engage in a payment plan over a five-year period.

If the judge does not force the parties to come to an agreement today, the resort could shut down.

Derr said the tank that holds the sewage has a 1,200-gallon capacity. The condo resort typically produces 11,000 gallons a day, he said.
Derr said pumping out the tank is not a long-term solution.

Doing so would cost the condo association about $48,000 per month, which Derr said would bankrupt the association in a few months.

A friend who knows wastewater systems had this to say:
"I would almost NEVER turn to a wastewater design/build/operate company like TSG (which is who Sapphire and a bunch of other local resorts and hotels use) for wastewater service. They use activated sludge processes, and primarily membrane bioreactors (MBRs), which are incredibly energy and maintenance intensive. And they perform poorly if all that intense maintenance isn't done (hello.. VI???.. 1 guess if it is).

So question to any major property owner: if you were getting one opinion from a wastewater company, and that company was going to charge you to operate / maintain that plant as well as design / build it, wouldn't you want a 2nd opinion?? Talk about fox / henhouse. Companies like TSGs bread and butter is high operational costs. And... Have you ever walked around the Westin grounds when their effluent-spraying sprinklers were going off??

Mountaintop only has to have their in house maintenance guy do a few simple checks maybe once a week that might take all of 1/2 hour. Maybe not even that often, cause it's just precautionary. And it consistently smells and looks like fresh water."


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East Ender
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March 27, 2014 7:45 pm  

So the follow up about reconnection: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/judge-forces-owner-of-sapphire-beach-property-to-reconnect-condos-to-sewage-treatment-system-1.1657093

Alana: I'm not sure what your point is. Mine is that there is a company that appears to be angling to take over a five building condominium project for other purposes. Again, I would love to see the Daily News investigate.


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rotorhead
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March 27, 2014 8:19 pm  

So the follow up about reconnection: http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/judge-forces-owner-of-sapphire-beach-property-to-reconnect-condos-to-sewage-treatment-system-1.1657093

Alana: I'm not sure what your point is. Mine is that there is a company that appears to be angling to take over a five building condominium project for other purposes. Again, I would love to see the Daily News investigate.

It sounds like the condo association is trying to avoid paying the $1.1M that the arbitrator awarded to the treatment plant owner last year. It would be nice to see an impartial analysis of the costs and payments for this sewage treatment plant. The condo association has been paying $5000 a month since 2006 and the owner claimed that it cost him $13,000 a month to operate. The arbitrator awarded the owner $1.1M. When does the condo association expect to pay this?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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East Ender
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March 27, 2014 8:51 pm  

This guy took over the property in December. I understand what you are saying, but the bottom line is that he appears to be forcing the condo owners out. Do you think he wants them to pay?


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rotorhead
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March 27, 2014 9:09 pm  

I thought that "this guy" was part of Beachside Associates who bought the mortgage in 2003 for $1.8M. The Bayside Resort who owned the property walked away in 2005. In 2011 Beachside started foreclosure proceedings against Bayside Resort and won possession in 2013.

This guy and Beachside Assoc. probably haven't seen much money from their 2003 investment of $1.8M. My guess would be that he either wants them to pay the $1.1M that the arbitrators said that they owe or get out so that he can do something to recoup his money. Sounds fair to me.

It sounds like the free ride for the condo owners is over.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
They say there's a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
BJ


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sunshinefun
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March 28, 2014 12:02 pm  

If they agreed to arbitration, the condo owners need to pay up or get out.


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