Martha’s Vineyard Commission reconsiders Edgartown special ways

The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC), at a public hearing on March 10, made several amendments to the Island Road District designation.

The MVC actions followed a decision by Judge Cornelius J. Moriarty 2nd, an associate Superior Court justice, who found errors in the MVC’s designation of five special ways in Edgartown to that town’s portion of the Island Road District of Critical Planning Concern. The judge also criticized what he concluded was an inconsistency in the language of the commission’s original creation of the special ways district in 1975.

Judge Moriarty remanded the case to the MVC and gave it 30 days to reconsider the designation, and to clarify the reasons for the designation, particularly in regard to the issue of public access.

The five roads designated special ways were Ben Tom’s Road, Middle Line Path, Pennywise Path, Tar Kiln Path, and Watcha Path.

Justice Moriarty ruled on January 31 that the MVC had failed in its decision to make findings that would support its decision, as required by its enabling legislation. He also found that the roads added to the special ways zone “serve as the only means of access to large portions of Edgartown, including land owned” by the Benjamin Hall family. (See related article, “MVC will reconsider Edgartown special ways designation,” published February 16.)

“The Halls were concerned that designating the roads would impede access to their property,” MVC director Mark London said in a phone conversation last week with The Times. “Determining who has rights to use a road is a very long, complex process. Basically, the amended wording is that if someone had rights before, they would continue to.”

The MVC’s amendments and redesignation of the roads were included in a report sent to the state Superior Court.