Hopes for a right-size S&S


To the Editor:

It is my personal belief that there isn’t a resident or visitor to the Vineyard who arrives via the SSA to Vineyard Haven who lauds the view that greets them presently – a run down house, a broken-down building and the existing Stop and Shop. It is my belief that we all would appreciate a better first view of our Island.

It is also my view that in reviewing the S&S proposals and listening to the hearings so far that: S&S has reiterated its final corporate bottom line project plans without ever seriously considering the Vineyard’s bottom line of the MV Commission’s mission statement directive to “preserve the unique, historical, ecological, scientific, and cultural values from development and uses which impair them”.

With the above in mind, I would feel better if I stated my views from one lifelong visitor/40-year resident voter’s perspective.

1) It would seem, as concluded by the Stop and Shop lawyer at the end of the November 5 public meeting, that we on MVI would need to approve their presently sized 30,477 sq. ft. project. In answer to the question from the floor, what if we don’t approve of it?, he responded, “I do not know specifically what S&S would do,” but added something to the effect “it is S&S’s bottom line,” and if not approved that S&S could leave the existing store as it is, or that possibly Stop and Shop would sell the property.” In that scenario, it appears that no one winss. To me as a bystander and a stakeholder, this did not appear to lead to better relationships or possible end results as this large project plan moves on to further consider parking and traffic during more hearings.

2) While I realize that most Stop and Shop stores are even larger than the one proposed, it appears to me that most are located off major streets and are located in shopping centers with a lot of off street parking.

3) It seems that not only is the visual and actual size a problem, but the resultant parking and traffic are very considerable issues not even addressed yet.

4) While I understand that the American business model is often bigger is better, I think that even if the proposed size here does not match that of other off-Island stores that neither are off-Island models appropriate/applicable to an Island site/size model.

5) I also ask if the 11 miles between Edgartown Stop and Shop and the present

Vineyard Haven store is consistent with the distances between S&S off-Island stores and what the population numbers are that S&S serve in similar 11-mile areas between stores. I would guess the off-Island numbers would be very much higher than our possible high of 17,000 residents that shopped at one or the other store.

6) It would seem reasonable to hope, if approved, that Stop and Shop could have a larger retail sales floor space with more pleasant shopping amenities than the current 6,409 square foot retail space provides.

7) I applaud the commission for their long hours of consideration, and I understand the S&S need for more updated user friendly grocery store floor space, however I sincerely hope a reasonable, safe, appropriate solution for all can be reached.

Ann Hollister

Vineyard Haven