MVC agrees to continue DRI public hearing to Nov. 29

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Martha’s Vineyard Commission executive director Mark London announced Wednesday morning that the commission had decided to continue the public hearing on the development of regional impact (DRI) checklist at when the commission meets at 7:15 pm, Thursday, November 29.

Mr. London told The Times Wednesday morning that the MVC received a request from the Edgartown board of selectmen and planning board that they be given an opportunity to discuss the draft revised DRI checklist further at another public hearing session, rather than submit written comment.

He said the commission would notify all town boards about next week’s hearing and also members of the public who attended previous DRI checklist public hearings and signed up to receive updates.

Edgartown selectmen have been highly critical of the agency’s proposed revisions the checklist.

The checklist, in its current form, is a 22-page set of guidelines that determine whether local town boards must refer a planned development to the commission for review.

Under its enabling legislation, the regional planning and regulatory agency has wide authority to regulate developments of regional impact, by imposing conditions that cover density, traffic impact, environmental impact, and other factors above and beyomd those that may be imposed at the local level.

Depending on the level of review and conditions imposed, the MVC process can be time-consuming and expensive. Once the MVC approves a development proposal, the project returns to local town boards for further review and ultimately a development permit.

Monday night, selectmen and two developers who echoed the criticism of town officials, said the MVC was wrong to close the public hearing on the DRI checklist when the MVC met on November 15, despite a request from officials from two towns to continue the hearing on the draft document.

Selectmen agreed Monday to send the MVC a letter asking them to reopen the public hearing until the draft is finalized and town officials can participate in its consideration. The MVC relented to the request.