Updated 12:45 pm, Thursday, Jan. 17
The Possible Dreams Auction, a popular summer fundraising event for Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS), may move to the Winnetu Inn and Resort in Edgartown this summer, according to the Edgartown planning board. The event has been held for the past two years at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs.
The planning board will hold a public hearing on January 22 at town hall for neighbors and others with an interest in the event. The hearing is scheduled for 5:35 pm.
MVCS executive director Julia Burgess declined comment on the move. “It would be inappropriate,” she said in a telephone call Wednesday morning.
Sandra Pimentel, chairman of the Possible Dreams Auction Committee, commented on the special permit application before the planning board In an email to The Times sent Thursday afternoon.
“The Possible Dreams Auction is a vital part of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ fund-raising efforts. We have been fortunate over the past years to be able to use the beautiful Ocean Park venue in Oak Bluffs. While we’ve been very happy there, the Possible Dreams Auction committee received feedback indicating we should be open to all options. For this reason the Committee has decided to seek a new venue in 2013 in order to bring more variety and interest to the event. How fortunate we are to have so many wonderful options,” Ms. Pimentel said.
“Should the Edgartown Planning Board approve our application, our goal is to provide a smashing new auction at the Winnetu resort while assuring neighbors in the vicinity that we understand our responsibility and need to respect them. We will do all we can to make the event convenient for everyone by taking into account appropriate arrangements for parking and quick transports. Our hope is that our plans will not disturb the neighbors and we will invite them to join in the fun. Katama is a lovely place and the Winnetu is a beautiful venue. This year will have some added surprises and we think the community will be happy with our choices for 2013.”
According to the application, MVCS seeks a special permit waiver on behalf of the Winnetu Inn. The resort holds a special permit for limited outside events. Community Services is asking for a one-day waiver of several conditions of that special permit.
Planning board approval is required to erect a tent on the property large enough to seat an expected crowd of 450. The planning board will also consider amplification of the auction bidding, and plans for parking.
The board has asked MVCS to provide specific, detailed plans for parking, in response to questions from several neighbors.
“My main concern is event parking,” wrote Steve Yanez, on behalf of the Navy Way Road Association, in an email to the board. “As we have a footpath from Navy Way to the hotel, I would expect the hotel to install temporary “No Parking” signs at the entry to Navy Way and at reasonable intervals down the road.”
The annual event is MVCS’s largest fundraiser. Donations support services unfunded by other sources that include CONNECT to End Violence, the Early Childhood Program and the Island Counseling Center.
Last year’s event raised nearly $200,000. In 2011, the auction raised more than $250,000. In 2010, organizers said the auction raised approximately $225,000.MVCS employs more than 110 people and more than 70 volunteers to provide human services. Over the years, the Possible Dreams Auction has raised almost $9 million to support those services.