Martha’s Vineyard Commission catches up on public hearings

Oak Bluffs has approved a plan that will allow for angle parking at the harbor. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Winter storm Saturn blew three public hearings off the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s (MVC) agenda on March 7. The commission rescheduled the hearings because ferry cancellations prevented several people from off Island who planned to give testimony from attending.

Tonight the MVC will hold a continued public hearing on a proposed project by Comcast and NSTAR to install an approximately 4.5-mile-long undersea, hybrid fiber optic and electric cable from Falmouth to Martha’s Vineyard. The cable will be buried in the sea floor until it reaches an existing underground manhole at the end of West Chop in Tisbury.

The commission also begins a new public hearing tonight regarding a harbor fuel facility for Oak Bluffs. The proposal by Oak Bluffs harbor master Todd Alexander is to install a permanent, underground 10,000-gallon fuel tank for fueling recreational and commercial vessels at the Oak Bluffs marina. The tank would be located beneath the parking lot. Fueling would take place on the floating dock just north of the harbor master’s shack.

A continued public hearing regarding a Verizon Wireless cell tower in West Tisbury has been rescheduled to March 21. Verizon applied for a permit last fall from the West Tisbury zoning board of appeals to erect a cell tower on private property owned by Robert Doane on New Lane. Following a public hearing last fall, the ZBA referred the project to the MVC, whose checklist for developments of regional impact (DRI) referrals includes new wireless communications towers.

Abbreviated business

Twelve commissioners braved the elements last week to attend to their trimmed agenda. Eleven voted unanimously to approve a project proposed by Clarence A. “Trip” Barnes to construct a warehouse addition to consolidate equipment on his property on Evelyn Way in Tisbury. Mr. Barnes, who was elected to the commission as a Tisbury candidate last November, was ineligible to vote on his own project.

According to an MVC staff report, Mr. Barnes said the addition’s purpose is to consolidate the operations of Barnes Moving Company, increase long-term storage, and possibly add an office. The one-story warehouse addition will be 2,310 square feet and 32 feet high.

As part of the project’s approval, the MVC accepted Mr. Barnes’s offers to install downward, shielded exterior lights; provide free housing to all of his employees who qualify (approximately nine or 10 in number); submit a storm water management plan for review and approval; and agree that the building will be an unheated storage warehouse with no bathrooms and no full-time employees working there.

In his offer in regard to landscaping, Mr. Barnes said he would submit a plan for approval that includes the creation of a “planted green buffer” approximately 40 feet long between his property and a property to the northwest that abuts Evelyn Way. He also agreed to retain and protect an existing pine tree on the northwest boundary.

In other business, the commissioners held a concurrence review on the proposed demolition by Carroll Marine of a 2,100-square-foot commercial warehouse at the R.M. Packer Company property at 199 Beach Road in Tisbury.

Owner Ralph Packer requested a building demolition permit from Tisbury building inspector Ken Barwick. That request triggered a concurrence review by the MVC to determine whether the project should undergo a public hearing. The commission’s checklist requires a referral of demolitions in a commercial district for buildings more than 2,000 square feet.

Mr. Packer said he wants to remove the single-story, wood shingle 2,100 square foot warehouse, built in 1979, to allow construction of a new building for offices now temporarily housed in two office trailers on the property.

The commissioners voted unanimously not to require a public hearing and to remand the project back to the town of Tisbury.

Stop & Shop update

On Monday this week, the MVC’s land use planning committee met with representatives from the Stop & Shop Supermarket for a pre-public hearing review of the company’s proposed project to expand its Vineyard Haven store.

Stop & Shop Supermarket Company announced plans in the spring of 2011 to expand its Vineyard Haven store. In May, the company bought the property and building adjacent to its Vineyard Haven market, where the Golden Dragon Restaurant and Vineyard Sweats were located, for $950,000 from IB Property Holdings LLC, a Delaware-based company.

On February 1, Stop & Shop bought a house next door to Midnight Farm, at 15 Cromwell Lane.

Plans call for consolidating those properties into an expanded building site for an approximately 24,000 square-foot, two-story building that would include 43 parking spaces on the ground level, below the upstairs retail area.

Sullivan O’Connor Architects of Oak Bluffs has designed the proposed building. The town of Tisbury referred the store’s project application to the MVC in February.

Updating the project in a phone conversation with The Times yesterday, Paul Foley, the commission’s staff DRI coordinator, revealed that MVC staff recommended last month that Stop & Shop get a “professional independent historical analysis” done on the house at 15 Cromwell Lane, which is believed to be more than 200 years old.

The applicant agreed, and MVC executive director Mark London sent out a request for proposals on February 28, Mr. Foley said. PAL Cultural Resource Management has been selected to complete a Mass Historic Commission Inventory, and if the house is recommended for listing on the National Register, complete and file the necessary paperwork.

Mr. Foley said two engineers from VHB Engineering presented the results of a traffic study at the LUPC meeting this week. MVC staff is reviewing the data. The UPC scheduled another pre-public hearing meeting on the Stop & Shop project on April 1.